The appreciation of a product is greatly influenced by the context of its use. This is especially the case for food products, with a perception that may be impacted by such things as the place and the time of consumption, other food products consumed at the same time, the state of satiety of the consumer, and the social context. All of these variables are difficult to control.
Research in behavioural economics and neuroscience have brought to light the fundamental role of automatisms in consumer choices: many of our decisions are taken without resorting to conscious thought (Daniel Kahneman’s “System 1”).
The key to the success of brands therefore depends on the creation of REFLEX ASSETS® which represent the automatisms the brand has succeeded in generating in the minds of its consumers.
Interview of Marie-Laurence Juan (Associate Director Repères, Head of Qualitative Research) by Thierry Semblat (Market research news) on how to co-design.
MRNews: Repères is among the market research institutes familiar with approaches based on co-design with an interesting track record...
Marie-Laurence Juan: We are indeed one of the pioneering companies in the implementation of this type of approach, having been one of the very first research institutes present in Second Life. The story dates back a bit, but it was quite surprising how this social network was a huge success in the beginning only to decline in popularity soon afterwards. All the same, it was a great learning experience for us. Especially with the project for the renovation of the public gardens in the Parisian Les Halles district. The lessons learned with that project are still proving to be very useful in projects we are conducting today.
What lessons did you learn with Second Life?
It was a defining experience for us. The most important thing it taught us was that co-designing works and that it provides valuable help in developing innovative projects. We realised that certain individuals who are a few steps ahead than others can contribute radically new and even brilliant ideas. But we also learnt that this creative ability is not just the attribute of trail-blazers and that it can apply to anyone as long as the right approach is adopted. Co-design, based on the principle of the consumer being at the heart of the process, also seemed to us to be an efficient means of reducing the risk of failure in innovative projects - which we know happens roughly in 80% of cases - without, however, eliminating the risk altogether.
For several years we have been conducting research on the impact of context on the discovery and appreciation of a stimuli.
This research led to the design of a mobile sensory booth The Lab in the Bag which makes it possible to standardise test conditions anywhere in the world (designed by Franck Saunier, patented by Repères).
This type of environment is highly adapted to an R&D approach but is by nature quite far from the real conditions in which products are consumed. Whenever possible, when conducting consumer tests we prefer to adopt approaches in real-life conditions in which we often deliver the products to the respondents’ homes allowing them to engage in a product experience for a longer period and according to their usual consumption habits.
However, in certain cases, it is difficult to conduct tests in real-life conditions: this is the case when the prototypes are difficult to transport or when consumption outside the home is highly influenced by context. In the case of a product which is usually used on a beach, or in a night club, how is it possible to ensure the results of a real-life test will truly measure the product’s performance and not influenced by the conditions (climate, musical or social environment, etc.)?
To answer these questions and to propose a new tool for conducting real-life tests, The Lab in the Bag team, Franck Saunier, Head of Research & Innovation, and Jérôme Gachet, Head of Production, have created a new design for a polysensory & mobile immersive room.
This facility makes it possible to provide an experience while controlling the visual, auditory, olfactive and haptic (heat, wind, spray, etc.) conditions..
A demonstration of our first prototype was given at the Printemps des Etudes where a hundred people were able to engage in an immersive experience in a series of beach/night club/café terrace/mountain bike demonstrations (Cf 40-second video below, which obviously does not render the sensory aspects of the experience).
The concept was given an enthusiastic reception, especially for the polysensory aspect which produces the sensation of immersion.
The demonstration also enabled us to detect the points that need to be improved in the prototype and our team is already working on a new version of the immersive room, which will be open for visits on our premises in September.
We will then be able to move on to the next phase involving the actual use of the immersive room for studies and experiments.
We are open to all proposals of partnerships to test the full scope of potential of this new tool!