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.