Another one fights the dust.

Strengthening a furniture care brand.

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A household goods company is coming off a challenging year due to heavy competitive activity and corporate cannibalization. To make matters worse, the brand is suffering due to slow product use-up and lower medial spending levels. This significant decline drives them to contract research to find out what is limiting product sales and usage.


Three key objectives are set:

1. Discover what obstacles are limiting usage of the product.
Establish research criteria that will help determine why overall product usage is declining – both by individual users and within the category overall.

2. Understand why heavy users buy more than light users.
Beyond the obvious fact that a heavy user will use more product, understand why consumers who tend to be classified as “light users” are more likely to choose a different brand.

3. Determine how dusting/cleaning behaviors differ.
Track the usage differences between heavy product users and light users and then compare differences in environment, attitudes, and demographics.


For this project, the primary service required is:

Research Services (link to more info below)

Quality research is the foundation on which successful marketing decisions are made.  The Research Services contract is tailored to the specific project objectives to create a comprehensive base of knowledge.

For this project, research performed is face-to-face and in-depth. Product users are expected to give deep, visceral feedback regarding both the company’s brand as well as the product category as a whole. Interviews also ask participants why they choose a certain brand, how they use that product in their own homes, and how their attitudes about their own furniture relate to the importance they place on the product they choose. (See METHODOLOGIES listed below.)

In addition to Research Services, this project also requires:

Advisory Services (link to more info below)

As research findings are collected and reported, the research analysts include recommendations as to how the company can best use the insights generated by the research. Too often, research is performed and the data simply handed over to companies, who are then left to figure out for themselves how to best use it. To avoid that problem and enable the company to gain actionable information from the research, a 6-12 month Advisory Services consulting contract is put into place. A Research Consultant works with company leadership and key personnel to leverage research results and better target sales and marketing efforts to reverse the decline in product usage and sales.


This project requires face-to-face interaction with consumers actually using the product. Therefore, it requires very specialized research methodologies:

  • In-Home Ethnographic Videos
    Consumers who fall into the target demographic are carefully selected, and then directed to spend 2-3 weeks recording themselves cleaning and keeping a video journal of their thoughts and impressions of the product. They are given four lists of specific questions to answer at specific times during the video diary process.
  • In-Depth Personal Interviews
    As the follow-up to the video process, the research team meets with each video participant and conducts an in-depth, face-to-face interview (also recorded). During this interview, the participants are asked about the product, how their attitude might have changed during the course of the project, what they liked and disliked, etc.


(Due to the confidential nature of research project, and client agreements in force, specific results cannot be shared. Outcomes have been synthesized based on an amalgam of results from similar projects.)

Ultimately, this in-home research study leads to several breakthrough insights for the brand, significantly impacts the brand’s messaging strategy, and improves business results.

It is discovered that weak brand equity is limiting consumer confidence in the product and subsequently limiting when and how the product is being used. Heavy users are more likely to care about the quality of the clean and more likely to use the product on a variety of surfaces. Light users are more concerned with the speed and ease of use – “How quickly can I be finished dusting and still do a good job?”

The research consultants stay on through a 6-month Advisory Services contract and work with the company’s marketing team to develop a two-tiered brand advertising campaign. To reach heavy users, a message is developed that communicates alternative uses for the product. And for light users, the messaging strategy explains how quick and easy it is to dust and clean with the brand.

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