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You Understand Your Product or Service…But Do Consumers, Really?

Confusing-Doritos-BagI’m not sure what Doritos was trying to convey with this particular packaging.  I have to admit I was pretty confused (and a bit scared).

But it’s a perfect example of what I like to call “Consumer Huh.”  In other words, messaging, labeling, packaging, etc. that causes consumers to scratch their heads and move onto something else because they have no idea what you are trying to sell them.

I believe it’s human nature to assume that if we understand something, then other people must too, right?  Well you know the old saying about when we assume.  And as marketers, in order to grow our businesses, we need to throw assumptions out the window and really make sure consumers are on the same page with us.

I have to applaud the meat industry for their recent decision to relabel hundreds of their products to better serve consumers.  This move really captures some of the key points we tout for successful growth.

Here’s what they’re doing and why we think it’s smart:

  1. Changing names like “Pork Butt” to “Boston Roast.” (making it easier/less confusing for consumers)
  2. Offering preparation/usage tips (facilitating usage generally and stimulating ideas for new usage occasions)
  3. Making this change just in time for grilling season (being in the right place at the right time)

Any successful relationship requires good communication (again, not assumptions) — even with consumers.  Maybe it’s time to evaluate your relationship with them, do some digging, find out what they’re thinking and most importantly…confirm it’s consistent with what you want them to understand about your product or service.

About the Author

At Erickson Research, a Chicago market research consulting firm, I specialize in probing the minds of consumers and professionals -- revealing what truly matters to them...and why. Find me on LinkedIn.

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