Beyond liking – using Brandphonics to understand dissonance

MMR undertook a self-funded study to discover why a dark chocolate with impressively high liking scores was withdrawn from the market, while a much less appealing competitor product became a market leader.

We wanted to access what traditional research may have missed, as there was clearly more to this story than liking alone.


We used Brandphonics® emotional and functional profiling alongside traditional liking measures to explore the deeper connections consumers were making with both the brand and the unbranded product.

This revealed a vast disconnect between the emotional conceptualizations associated with the product itself in a blind taste test and the personality portrayed by the branded packaging (and indeed the category as a whole). The product was thought to be comforting, traditional, warm and sociable, whereas the packaging was communicating a luxurious, powerful and sensual message.

In contrast, the competitor product (despite being less liked overall) was considered powerful, aggressive and sophisticated – and these traits were strongly consonant with the persona portrayed by the packaging.


Despite having created a great product, the dissonance between the product experience and the branding would have meant that the product experience would not have met expectations at purchase (driven by the packaging).

Consumer dissatisfaction (even at a lower level of consciousness) would hinder repeat purchase rates and seal the unfortunate fate of this product in market. However, the competitor product offering consonance between both moments of truth continues to thrive.

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