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The Art of Product Testing and Consumer Insights

Fixating on the success of just one product is like trying to play a single note in a symphony of possibilities. Companies don’t thrive by focusing on individual products. They have multiple products at varying stages and new line creations or extensions at any given time, so they flourish by leaning into strong partnerships with product and consumer experience companies, like Curion, who master in the art of product testing and consumer insights.

We’re unveiling both industry-recognized and proprietary solutions behind five instrumental stages that exist across the product and consumer insights landscape. Through these stages, our Curion masters of innovation are ready to inspire you with insights to help spark a masterpiece.


The Product Life Cycle Journey Isn’t Enough

Let’s look at this abstract example. Imagine a symphony of beautiful attributes that come together to create a truly spectacular product. It generates buzz and the product experience sweeps consumers off their feet; the product goes viral and flies off the shelves faster than it can get stocked; repeat purchases cause sales to jump exponentially high, for years! This product is a dream come true… but before the success, it gets put under the microscope through various product testing and research approaches that generate insights driven by product users and potential consumers to create the best version of itself – before, during, and after launch.

When thinking about a typical product’s life cycle after it launches, a product first goes through market introduction and then growth, followed by maturity and finally decline. However, there’s so much more to consider when it comes to product success.

Some of the best strategies can also be built around a Stage Gate process, a road map that answers key questions for a product’s development before and during its launch. Does my product truly fill a gap for my target audience? How do I know if I’m launching the best version of my product? Where can my product be optimized? How can my product compete against newer products that are drawing my current customers away?

These answers aren’t simply black-and-white. Companies need to follow a combined model – before, during, and after launch – that can integrate a strategic path to success for its entire line, variety, brand, and company itself. The model that Curion operates on involves Curion acting as an extension of your team through partnership and trust, with subject matter experts at every step, seamlessly pulling knowledge from each stage to meet your needs and help fulfill your vision.


The Ultimate Platform: XP Xperience Performance

With the right planning and actions, companies can prolong the success of their brands and products, while minimizing potential problems and risks associated with each stage of the product life cycle.

Curion’s operational model, called Xperience Performance, meets you where you are across the 5-stage platform and focuses on the goals you need to meet to generate future growth, success, and repeat purchases. From innovations prior to development and launch, through to the renovation and optimization of products, Curion covers every inch of product performance and consumer insights.

The results for your brand? Reliable, repeat purchases from consumers, driven by a range of data-backed and proven solutions that leads brands to develop more meaningful products and a stronger bond to its target consumers.


Stage 1: ExplorationXP

It’s at this point where extraordinary concepts are born, whitespace opportunities are discovered, and blue ocean strategies come to life. Through our diverse collection of industry-recognized solutions and methodologies, we help you explore the needs and desires of your consumers, fueling inspiration and turning it into winning solutions.

Beginning at its core, this stage sets the entire scene by pinpointing consumer needs and values to ensure you’re creating a product they truly desire. It’s also crucial to assess the competitive landscape to identify gaps and map out the shopper journey to create an innovation strategy that can last for years.

Curion helps you set your strategy and map out your target consumer profile. Consumer studies can reveal attitude and usage insights, and segmentations across the universe of consumers can be mapped out to find the ideal target, which can be utilized to co-create product ideations. Actionable product ideas can also spark innovation through Curion’s FuelXP™ approach, where unmet needs can inspire new directions for innovation pipelines.

Great products are pioneered from great ideas, making this stage the foundation for future success.


Stage 2: DevelopmentXP

In the DevelopmentXP stage, Curion helps discover what comes next, after a great idea is formed. We help you turn creative ideas into game-changing prototypes that are expected to break boundaries. Using a variety of industry methods and proprietary solutions of our own, we’re measuring how your products perform in both controlled settings with focus groups and in real-world settings to guide tighter product development.

One of Curion’s custom methods, BluePrint, is a qual-quant method applied to fast-track product development from concept to validation by brands co-creating with consumers to create a truly desired product.

Product and packaging optimization testing is performed to reveal the best performance. Sensory attributes, understanding, and language get assembled by consumers through Curion’s exclusive methods QSI™ (Qualitative Sensory Immersion) and a method that Curion pioneered called QDA (Quantitative Descriptive Analysis)®. Product testing and consumer insights within DevelopmentXP can also reveal potential claims that can be substantiated and backed by ASTM standards.

We test not only what people love, but also uncover the ‘why’ behind those preferences. Impactful solutions are discovered and built into products in this stage, making this a crucial step toward product preference and repurchase decisions.


Stage 3: ValidationXP

Curion’s product testing and consumer insights can help determine if your product is ready to launch by validating its readiness to go to market. Nearly 30,000 new products are introduced each year, and 95% of them fail, according to Clayton Christensen, a professor at Harvard Business School. Only the strong survive, and Curion can help you catch any product flaws before you launch, bringing you one step closer to success over your competitors.

Confirmatory CLT and HUT testing can ensure you’re on the right track after fine-tuning your prototypes. Curion’s exclusive category benchmarking tool, the Curion Score™, will magnify differences in product performance beyond Overall Liking to reveal deeper insights and show you a path to where your product wins against the competition. Meeting a set target Score allows this approach to become your action standard to ensure your product is ready prior to launch.

By validating your product’s potential and fine-tuning its positioning, you will become more confident in your product before its official launch in the market.


Stage 4: CommercializationXP

Product research and continuous development doesn’t stop after a product is launched in the market. Implementing product testing and consumer insights after launching can test how the mass market is responding to your messaging strategy and communications.

Testing your product in this stage can help differentiate your brand and show you how effective your marketing efforts are on your audience. By staying ahead of the curve, Curion partners with brands in assessing their performance in comparison to competitors through Brand Tracking and defining their core values and unique attributes for consumers through Brand Positioning. Claims testing can reveal strong consumer sentiments and product performance wins that can be used in advertising. Current ad creative development, copy, and creative testing can be reviewed to ensure you’re hitting the right mark with your audience.

Key testing approaches in this stage reveal how your product is performing in the current market landscape, making this stage the gatekeeper to post-launch optimizations.


Stage 5: RenovationXP

After your products enter the market, or have been there for some time, there are steps you can take to ensure prolonged success. In Curion’s RenovationXP stage, we help clients with productivity efforts, defend and grow market share, protect their franchise, mitigate consumer alienation, optimize products, and much more.

Brands need deep understanding of where their products are positioned now, compared to their competition and new market entrants in order to help inform future strategies. Overall liking can be a base for how your product is perceived by consumers, followed by a deeper dive with Curion Score™ to see exactly where products are winning and losing. Alienation testing can keep brands informed about consumer acceptance and choice preferences when optimization efforts are needed. Shelf-life testing can be implemented when quality control becomes top priority.

Curion’s methodologies in this RenovationXP stage help you to continue delivering results, even after launch. Along with solutions that help sustain market success, new white spaces can also be identified, along with gaps in brand portfolios that make room for new ideas and innovations – cycling right back around to ExplorationXP.

The RenovationXP stage is a critical point, where Curion helps you optimize and reinvent stronger than before with a clear direction and roadmap so you can deliver a better-than-before product experience and performance.


What Stages Are Your Products In?

Your portfolio of products can exist in many different stages. You might be testing out a new product concept to see if your consumers will positively accept it in the market, and you might also be looking to discover how well another product is performing after its launch.

The best part is, no matter what stage you find yourself in along the journey, a full range of solutions can be used to help, along with a team that can dedicate their resources to you.

Knowing where to start can be overwhelming, which is why it’s important to team up with an established company who’s been helping clients like you for decades. Curion is the market leader for 50 years in consumer testing and a disruptor in product insights, delivering best-in-class, innovative research that drives real-world consumer acceptance and repeat purchases. That’s why hundreds of top-tier companies, including many Fortune 100 names, choose to collaborate with Curion and has earned us an outstanding client satisfaction NPS score of 90.

A key standout benefit you’ll get when you partner with Curion is our company-owned and nationwide best-in-class consumer centers. Our facilities are primed to accommodate testing across a variety of categories in CPG and QSR’s like food, beverage, beauty and personal care, home care, pet products, durable goods, and much more.

We know how important it is to have a global reach, not just nationwide. That’s why Curion also partners with global affiliates as part of our Curion Certified Partners (CCP)™ program. Our global network of certified partners are individually trained, specifically equipped, professionally staffed, and technologically capable to conduct a study to Curion’s standards.

Product testing and consumer insights illuminate the path to product excellence, ensuring that the journey is nothing short of extraordinary. Partnering with Curion, we’ll help get you started and walk you through every step of the way – your ride-or-die companion.

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.