With multiple innovation projects underway, Heinz were looking for help to maximize consumer input, but streamline research costs.
MMR introduced EROS Explorer panels, a hand selected pool of sensorially articulate consumers that Heinz could contact regularly for input, enabling them to benefit from quick, targeted and actionable feedback across multiple innovation projects.
Heinz came to MMR with a busy and varied innovation pipeline planned, looking for help to ensure they would be able to maximize consumer insight across all projects in an effective manner.
They were at slightly different stages across a number of innovation projects and needed a flexible approach which would take this into account. They were keen to work with MMR, due to our ability to provide detailed guidance to both R&D and marketing at an early stage of product development.
We worked closely together to fully understand their needs, and concluded that setting up an EROS Explorer panel for them would be an ideal solution.
Our EROS approach uses articulate and engaged consumers with high levels of sensory acuity to uncover the early rules of success, ensuring focused product development and creation of products which are perfectly aligned with brand / product promise and consumer expectations. By recruiting and managing a panel of these super consumers, we gave Heinz access to a pool of consumers who could be regularly contacted to take part in individual sessions across their innovation pipeline. This provided an extremely time and cost effective approach with no compromises in terms of the quality of insight gleaned.
We select consumers from our specially recruited Explorer panel to take part in each session – ensuring enough research dips per person to keep them highly engaged in the process without over working any individuals.
Several sessions have been completed since the panel was set up – each with different objectives to reflect the different innovation streams, including:
- To build on quantitative benchmarking to understand how to improve product performance against a competitor – gaining detailed feedback for R&D on how the product could be optimised whilst remaining true to brand
- Early stage consumer input into the ideal product delivery to match concepts identified as showing potential, with detailed guidance as to the optimal product delivery
- Understanding consumer appeal of new product concepts, and exploration into the sensory characteristics which should / shouldn’t be present (including impact of different sensory attributes on emotional and functional associations with the product)
- Early feedback on the optimal product route for a planned launch into a new category, covering fit to concept, appeal, and optimisation guidance, as well as covering packaging expectations and preferences
Heinz has found this approach invaluable, ensuring consumer input into product development across their large portfolio of products, and access to a dedicated panel has enabled them to build research earlier into the process despite limited budgets.
This has ensured that R&D and marketing are perfectly aligned right from the start and has led to quicker lead times for innovation.