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Selecting Effective Product Claims in CPG/FMCG


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"What shall we say on the pack?”
This question invariably pops up at some stage of the product development cycle. Managers want to know if consumers need to be reassured, how they will react to new benefits that competitors don’t deliver, and if they are willing to pay for more advanced features or sourcing.

In this presentation we lay the groundwork for claims research: from types of claims, to ways to test them. We will go through several interactive processes that show how different methods can answer various claims questions. By the end of the presentation, you will have a clear refreshed view on claims testing for your next CPG launch or revamp.

This presentation was delivered by Jason Widjaja, Market Researcher at, as part of the 'Data Collection Update' NewMR webinar series. The recording can be found online via

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Selecting Effective Product Claims in CPG/FMCG

  1. 1. Selecting effective claims for consumer products (FMCG / CPG) October 2019 Jason Widjaja
  2. 2. Sponsors Communication Gold Silver October 2019
  3. 3. C O N F I D E N T I A L Selecting effective claims for consumer products (FMCG / CPG) With Jason Widjaja
  4. 4. 4 Contents Introduction Best practices for crafting claims Choosing the right testing method
  5. 5. A wealth of experience testing product claims started in 2016 with the mission to make reliable product and pricing research methods accessible to insights, marketing, and product managers globally Launched Brand-Specific Conjoint in 2017 Primary use cases – FMCG, telco, tech, appliances etc. Claims Test automated tool launched in 2018 – Test and identify winning individual claims through choice-based exercise, diagnostics and open-ends Claims Combo Test as a custom project codified in 2019 – For finding the optimal combination of claims (2-way, 3-way, 4-way combinations) to be put on pack 6 7 8 9
  6. 6. 6 What is a claim? A claim is an assertion about a product across any channel (advertising, digital promotions, public statements, or product packaging) What’s not a claim: • Logo • Pricing • Consumer insight
  7. 7. 7 Claims by content Feature / Flavour “With the special taste of raw milk” Functional “Melt in your mouth, not in your hand” Emotional “Brings out a smile in you” Societal / Moral “Sustainably sourced” Benefit Sourcing / Appellation “Made with best cows of Austin, TX” Process “Pasteurized, not boiled” Ingredients “With added Vitamin C” Certification “Certified USDA organic” Expertise / Branding “Over 100 years of trusted expertise” Composition “…made from fresh ingredients” Reason to Believe (RTB) For specific occasion “Perfect as a gift” For specific person “For the gluten-intolerant” “Is there anything else like it?” Targeting Other
  8. 8. Best practices for crafting claims 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Length of claims Claim softness Neologisms Claim types Filtering out ineffective claims Multi-country tests and translators Claim relevance and distinction
  9. 9. 9 Crafting claims: For best results, ensure claim lengths are consistent 1 • Longer claims perform better in research tests • But they may be costlier or harder to communicate in advertising and may not fit onto a pack • In research tests focused on claims, it is best to keep claim length consistent (±25%) • If claims of different lengths need to be compared, pack design or ad tests may be need to used Indicative willingness to pay (indicative, based on several studies) Note: Each point is a claim. Claim length refers to number of characters (in English) Indicative willingness to pay vs. length of claim
  10. 10. 10 Crafting claims: Substituting claims with a softer, less-pushy statement may work better “Blended to perfection by our master roasters to give you coffee which exceeds European coffee standards.” “Blended to perfection by our master roasters to ensure quality that is consistent with the highest coffee standards…” • “Softening” claims is changing the language so that a valued factor is still referenced, but without promise of 100% commitment to it • In many cases, softened claims retain most of the appeal of the original claim (or even performs better) Relative preference score (indicative performance of explain claims) 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 Hard Claim Softer Claim Original hard claim (high commitment) Softened claim (lower commitment) Preference scores are scale-less values to indicate relative performance of claims. In some tests, softer claims perform better than originals “100% naturally sourced coffee beans” “Made with naturally sourced coffee beans” 2
  11. 11. 11 • Neologisms are made-up words that have no meaning outside of the claim it appears in • If used in moderation, neologisms can boost a claim’s effectiveness • Neologisms are commonly used to emphasize the process in manufacturing / sourcing that is unique to the brand “Advanced ActiMince process” “RealMilk™ ingredients and goodness of nature” “Super fresh, with super- wipe” “Low GI clever rice” 3 Crafting claims: Neologisms perform well Some examples of Neologisms across industries
  12. 12. 12 “Naturally and carefully sourced coffee beans to give you the highest quality coffee with every sip” “Contains healthy antioxidants and nutrients to stimulate metablism and improve performance” • Claims of different types often have different purposes (in some categories). For example: ‒ Composition claims are often about reassurance ‒ Naturality claims often help with differentiation • There is often no trade-off between showing a composition claims and a benefit claim: both will be placed on the pack • Unless the intent is to compare between different types of claims, ensure all claims in single test (or conjoint attribute) are of the same type Naturality and generic benefit Composition 4 Crafting claims: Claims of same type/ attribute should be ideally compared versus each other
  13. 13. 13 • Robust testing of combinations of multiple claims is costly and time consuming. • Filter out ineffective claims first by running a Claims Test with a broad target of respondents and no quotas (very easy to do on • Then use the refined list in more robust or complicated methods 5 Crafting claims: Perform lower costs tests to narrow down list of claims before robust testing
  14. 14. 14 • Claims language is highly specific and needs to be reviewed by marketers and regulatory bodies • Engaging translators early means you will have more time to iterate over the wording with your translator, and less stress when deadlines approach • Punctuation, grammar, and spelling mistakes are enough to cause a good claim to perform poorly 6 Crafting claims: For multi-country projects, engage translators early and ask your local team to review
  15. 15. 15 Claims testing can return unexpected results. It is usually caused by: ‒ Claims being too similar. Preferences for such claims will likely be very similar. We would recommend having other diagnostics (e.g. naturality, etc.) as a point of differentiation. ‒ Claims not relevant for your audience. When the product is not too relevant for the audience, results may not be meaningful for interpretation > Carefully define your sample definition (e.g. decision makers / current users / considerers according to your marketing objectives). > If you have claims for specific sub-audience within the main audience, results for those claims should be analysed by the specific segments 7 Crafting claims: Ensuring relevance of claims and metrics for meaningful results “Gently blended” “Gentle mixture”
  16. 16. 4 1 2 3 How to show claims Combining choice with diagnostics Competition and branding Claims testing methodology cheat sheet Choosing testing method
  17. 17. 17 What is being tested Single claim Example: • With the special taste of raw milk Combination of multiple claims Example: • With the special taste of raw milk • Best support for gluten intolerance Testing multiple topics Example: • Testing benefit, sourcing, and RTB claims Finding best combinations Example: • Finding top 3 claims to show together from a list of claims Testing a single topic Example: • Testing benefit claims What should be shown 1 Choosing the right method: How should you show claims?
  18. 18. 18 Types of response Choice MaxDiff LikertAssociation Open-endRecall Which of the following would you choose? Pick most appealing and least appealing On a scale of 1 to 5, how strongly… Pick the theme/brand/… that you most strongly associate with this statement Which of the following statements did you just see? What do you like about this statement? Recommended for most tests because we want to know “what sells” Not needed in most cases (because we do not need to know “what won’t sell” and do not want to use respondents’ attention on that) Good for other purposes (not for claims) 💥 Can be used in testing slogans (where differentiation and memorability are most needed) Should be included in most tests, especially on KPIs that help understand “why” respondents choose different claims. Commonly used KPIs: • Relevance to consumer • Believability / credibility • Newness and uniqueness • Superiority over other brands Should not be used as the “main” measure, especially where claims are very similar 2 Choosing the right method: Claims test should combine choice (main measure) and diagnostics
  19. 19. 19 Do you include competition? No competition Yes, test in competitive context Common research questions: • How well does this claim work relative to other claims? • How well does it perform on certain metrics? Common research questions: • Does this claim perform better than competition? • Can this claim help take share from competitors? Branded or blinded (i.e. no brand shown)? UnbrandedBranded • Acceptable for NPDs under a new brand • Recommended for market leaders with a strong position in consumers’ minds • Also warrants focus on brand users or intenders • Theoretically always better • Requires larger sample size (higher cost of research) • Often scores in this approach are very similar to branded tests without competition. Hence, in practice can be avoided in most applications • Must be used in some cases, such as when: • claims are pitched to play on competitor weaknesses or rival in their strengths, or • when pricing is part of the test Competitors’ claims can be tested amongst other claims as an indicative benchmark 3 Choosing the right method: Tests with competition are more robust, but costly
  20. 20. 20 Single brand In a competitive context Individual claims Example research question: What is the most impactful benefit among twenty possible claims? “Strict” combinations Example research question: What is the best combination of • 1 benefit + • 1 composition RTB + • 1 sourcing RTB? Complex combinations Example research question: What is the best combination of 3 claims given a list of 30+ claims and non- trivial restrictions on combining them? Claims Test Key metrics: Preference scores, diagnostics, open- ends Automated Generic Conjoint Key metrics: Preference scores (for claims and combinations of claims) Automated Claims Combo Test Key metrics: Preference scores (vs. competitors) and diagnostics Brand Specific Conjoint Key metrics: Preference share (vs. competitors) CustomAutomated 4 Choosing the right method: Which methodology to use for testing claims? Custom
  21. 21. 21 Thank You Jason Widjaja
  22. 22. Q & A Jason Widjaja October 2019 Ray Poynter Potentiate
  23. 23. Sponsors Communication Gold Silver October 2019