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Guardians of the Franchise: Safeguarding Success in the Competitive Landscape

Since launching a new product offers only one chance at success, optimizing it to its fullest potential becomes crucial.

Franchise protection is the ultimate business objective in the realm of productivity testing.
In today’s economy, where the possibility of a recession looms, it is crucial for brands to adopt a vigilant approach to product performance initiatives, including reformulations, the development of healthier options, and a focus on sustainability. The goal is to mitigate any risks stemming from product changes due to supply chain changes and cost optimizations.


Halo Effect Does Not Guarantee Long-Term Success

Halo effect might get someone to try a product once, but will not guarantee long-term success. The halo effect is a cognitive bias where our overall impression of someone or something influences how we perceive their specific qualities.

In the context of marketing and branding, the halo effect often occurs when consumers associate positive attributes or perceptions of a celebrity or well-known figure with a product or brand. This association leads to increased trust, likability, and desirability of the product or brand among consumers. Essentially, the halo effect plays a significant role in shaping consumer attitudes and preferences based on these positive associations.

Now imagine a scenario where people flock to stores, eager to be the first in line for a CPG product endorsed by a celebrity influencer. Imagine Kim Kardashian, for instance, as the “Chief Taste Consultant” for Beyond Meat. Does having a celebrity spokesperson of her stature entice crowds to rush to grocery stores and purchase more products? Perhaps! However, if the product experience fails to align with the idealized perception, the likelihood of a repeat purchase diminishes significantly.

While it may be tempting to chase fads and swiftly changing trends in the food and beverage industry, creating a product that genuinely captivates consumers requires a more profound approach. Repeat purchases not only enable brands to drive revenue growth but also foster brand loyalty, generate positive word-of-mouth, and provide valuable insights for product improvements and renovations.


The Reign of Repeat Business

Repeat business reigns supreme. Think about a classic snack food or cookie found in countless households. When well-established brands and products need to make productivity changes such as ingredient or product modifications to reduce costs, it begs the question: Will their current product users notice the differences? How will these changes impact their repurchase decisions? Will they remain loyal to the brand? Will they explore other brands, hoping for a better experience? Or will they not even notice the alterations and continue to support the product and brand they adore?


Optimize, And Don’t Forget To Cover Your A$&

The question that’s impacting so many food and beverage brands and products in the marketplace today is this: Where and how can we optimize costs, while safeguarding our market share and franchise? Since launching a new product offers only one chance at success, optimizing it to its fullest potential becomes crucial.

When it comes to product optimizations, the purpose of productivity will illuminate the right path to reduce cost of a product so the brand can increase profitability. Sensory science and product testing methods with consumer insights can be very helpful. However, sometimes the highest Overall Liking (OAL) performing product isn’t always the best measurement to focus on for CPG food and beverages. That’s because traditional benchmarking approaches like OAL only allow product testing against a few products. The reality is that food and beverage brands are in competition with a larger pool of established and new entrant products, even an entire category in some cases.


Crack The Code

Curion recently introduced The Curion Score™, an industry-revolutionizing product benchmarking tool that allows brands to compare their product to its competitors as well as its entire category within our proprietary insights database.

Utilizing a vast database of 587 million data points, the tool helps productivity initiatives by allowing a brand to gauge the success of its product change by measuring the impact to category performance. This tool goes beyond the product performance of one food or beverage product, and beyond its top competitors – it reaches across an entire category which gives brands a huge competitive advantage to know exactly where they stand, even before launching.

Brands will also be able to see a drivers analysis for the product they’re evaluating which shows a complete picture of sensory attributes for the product. Is it too sweet in comparison to other products? Or maybe it needs more crunch or mouthfeel for a textural change? By accessing that, brands have insights that highlight strengths and weaknesses among the product attributes, outlining a path for product developers on where to improve and where to cut for the best optimization outcome.

Using a tool like this for foods and beverages in the CPG industry, more brands are adopting this method into their product development as an action standard with speedy results. If your Curion Score™ hits or exceeds a pre-defined number set by the product developers, it’s set for success and can be considered a win in its category and against its competition. If the number falls below its mark, it needs further development and optimization from the R&D team, using the drivers analysis as a guide to determine why and how improvements can be made.


Delicious Proof That Satisfies

Here’s a great example of how this tool helped when it came to productivity. A large well-known breakfast food manufacturer facing supply chain and inflation challenges decided to reformulate a product line to lower costs and increase profit margin. To avoid alienating and losing valued customers, the client wanted to ensure their updated recipe measured up to the original product experience. When the company partnered with us and received their score, the client was armed with confidence backed with validation in order to move forward and reformulate its original recipe while prioritizing repeatable delight to their consumers, saving $500K in the process.

Unique benchmarking tools like the tool can also be used when brands are looking to secure venture capital for new lines and launches. It serves as a proof point that the product they’re investing in will do well in the market, giving investors the confidence that they made a sound choice. A breakthrough alcoholic beverage brand also leveraged Curion Score™ to give a new perspective that transcended beyond the scope of their traditional OAL study. In order to assure executives and investors that this product is a great investment, deeper insights were needed across a variety of metrics to determine if their product will be successful in the marketplace. After receiving their results, the brand was able to show, with proof, that their product was superior in both direct competing products as well as the category itself. This strategic move to use the tool as an action standard was able to provide proof that the new product can succeed, which gave investors the confidence they needed to secure the remaining venture capital for the launch and expansion.


The Results Are In

In the food and beverage world, there are many lessons – taught and learned – when it comes to franchise protection and how to back your products with the right data, especially when launching new products or making product changes to save cost. At the center of any repeat purchase decision is a good product. By maximizing the positive sensory product experiences backed with validated product optimizations, repeat purchases are sure to follow and generate stronger franchise protection, growth, and profitability for brands.


This article is written by Katie Fellows, SVP, Client Services of Curion. Katie has 20 years of sensory and consumer science experience, specializing in creating strategic research plans based on business objectives and designing custom insight methodologies that propel growth.

View the published article on Food Dive Magazine’s website here.


About Curion:

Curion specializes in delivering impactful insights to the world’s top CPG companies, helping them develop winning, repeatedly purchased products. Curion’s deep data-driven product insights, sensory expertise, and state-of-the-art consumer centers enable them to uncover responses to critical client objectives. With over five decades of experience in the product testing industry, Curion is dedicated to guiding clients with their proprietary XP Xperience Performance platform, connecting brands to consumers at every step. An innovator in the industry, Curion recently developed a groundbreaking benchmarking product testing method, the Curion Score™, which has become a trusted and sought after tool within the industry. As one of the largest product and consumer insights companies in the U.S., Curion has built a reputation for excellence and trust among the world’s leading consumer brands. Curion’s commitment to innovation and expertise, coupled with a passion for delivering actionable insights, makes Curion a valuable partner for companies looking to develop and launch successful products.