Skip to main content

Blog Series Part 2: Leveraging Claims

Blog Series — Find a Translator to Turn Technology into Strategic Gold

In this four-part series I’m exploring the ways to bring powerful differentiation to market with more seamless processes: building a strong bridge of communication between R&D and Marketing, exploring and leveraging product claims, using both the left and right brain in development, and ensuring a continuous influx of fresh technology insights.

Part 2: Leveraging Claims

Say more than you thought you could say, with more power and impact

When you have a robust bridge of communication between R&D and Marketing, you have access to the full story, the technology and the market insights, to maximize the impact for customers. This story is everything, because it not only guides the internal direction for product development, it guides the message that you share with the market about your product.

It isn’t just what you do. It’s all the things you can say about what you do.

The Art of Claim Science

Claim Science in product development is a rich blend of product understanding and expert testing.

There are two main objectives of the Claim Scientist: Identify claims and substantiate claims.  Let’s focus here on identifying claims. Here are some of the demands:
  • Insight into the technology; how it works, why it works, when it works
  • Crystal clarity on your target consumer, who the purchaser is
  • Rich understanding of the goal: strategically for your brand, emotionally for your end user / purchaser, and technically for performance objectives
  • Expertise on clinical testing, data gathering, statistics (what’s possible, and perhaps more importantly, what isn’t)
  • A particularly strong command of language
In many companies claims research is primarily focused on substantiating claims to ensure compliance with industry standards. Research on the front end is done to generate insights about potential claims. You need both, and it’s an iterative process. Often claims are logic-based and state factual performance features of the product. But claims can be behavioral, sensorial or emotional and make an amazing impact, and that requires richer understanding. 

The key when identifying claims is to maintain a vibrant sense of curiosity. Creative curiosity. Performance is king, so you want to explore all the ways the product benefits the user and avoid zeroing in on a narrow target that limits learning. Build a claim strategy that allows you to learn all you can about the technology (don’t forget about the behavioral, sensorial, emotional aspects) and explore what’s possible with claims. It takes upfront time, but expedites and amplifies the final results.

Asking the right questions

Don’t lose opportunities to explore what you can tout about your product. You may have strong ideas going in, but if you allow for up-front exploration you may learn something surprising that makes all the difference for unique positioning.

There are lots of practical ways to explore potential claims areas. Some of the common ones are concept tests, use testing, and ethnographic research. Less common, but extremely fruitful, are consumer intercept interviews for “in the wild” insights into usage, behaviors and the thinking that drives them. We often don’t know what we don’t know when we’re launching something new. Throw a net around that “maybe” space to see what innovative gold may lurk there.

Bridging Technology Claims and Market Insights

To develop powerful claims you need strong collaboration across disciplines.  You want to make sure you cover all the bases: 
    • Product Development (tactile/experiential; supports the performance expectations)
    • Packaging Engineering (behavioral; supports the message of confidence, credibility)
    • Packaging Graphics (emotional; supports the product mood)
    • User Experience (UX) or Consumer Insights & Claims (strategic; relevance and relationship of all the pieces)
With this solid foundation you can access the full story and connect the technology to your market insights and maximize the impact. This story not only guides the impression you can make on your target consumer, but done early enough, it also guides the internal direction for product development.

A technically minded individual or team who can bridge the science to your market strategy can unlock the gold living in the claims. They can act as the champion for connecting the dots between the technical and the emotional to capture the full story and help you discover that you can say more than you thought you could say.


Popular posts from this blog

How to Shine in the Beauty Aisle

Beauty is such a fun market to play in, and a smart one to play in too. Lipstick and nail polish, though not considered true economic indicators anymore, are still some of the most stable consumer items, seeing healthy sales even through financial recessions. Beauty is a small-ticket indulgence that can be scaled up or down as consumers flow through lifestyle transitions. Why is beauty so fun? Because it’s full of emotion. It’s vibrant. Moody. Dramatic. Playful. It has personality, because it exists to inspire . Celebrities are often called on to show off the products, serving as aspirational role models for glamour. But strangely, as much fun as this segment is in terms of brand imagery and inspiring, dramatic advertising, the cosmetics retail aisle for these products feels disjointed and definitively uninspiring.  Why is that? Part of the challenge is the nature of the packaging; beauty products come in small sizes that collectively form a busy mosaic in the aisl

A New Chapter.

What does a closet creative do with 20+ years of technical experience, an addiction to innovation, and a fearless spirit? Become an entrepreneur! I learned the corporate ropes as a Packaging Engineer at  Schering-Plough Healthcare Products .  Expanding my scope as a leader and innovator at  Merck Consumer Care  and then  Bayer Consumer Health ,  I found my groove as an advocate for rich understanding of consumer behavior. Not just how consumers  feel about brands or messaging, but how they deal with everyday healthcare issues. I coached my teams on the technical aspects of designing, developing, and validating a new package structure,  and  made sure we were focused on how product delivery formats can transform mundane or unpleasant tasks. Why? Because that's how we could best help our brand teams differentiate our products on crowded shelves, and that is how we could honor the consumer experience. We were champions of user experience. I gave a presentation once, s

Fascinating Material Inventions.

Plastic is on the forefront of a passionate debate about our planet and how we use it’s resources. The UN is pushing change , and the EU is driving new thinking on single-use plastic (think forks, straws, etc) in an effort to tackle persistent ocean debris. This is sparking some excellent work around material solutions that are creative, surprising, and aspire to shift packaging more completely into the circular economy. I admit to having felt a bit numb on this topic; a bit overwhelmed and perhaps even defeated. But the more I research it, the more I appreciate the possibility for innovation to solve for these environmental challenges. There are some cool developments on the horizon that bring me hope and inspire me to more deeply consider possibilities. I hope they do the same for you. So, in this challenge there are two lanes of attention needed: 1) Get much better at recycling, and 2) Get better at using materials that degrade quickly and easily after their useful life