It’s no surprise that as a market research firm, we were really interested in the recent Advertising Age article: 14 Product Launches That Rocked And Why; Secret To Nielsen’s Breakthrough Brands: Identifying ‘Unarticulated Desires’

One line in the article particularly resonated with us: “But they all relied on what Nielsen describes as ‘demand-driven insight,’ or identifying the ‘unarticulated desires, partially expressed needs and recurring frustrations in consumers’ lives’.”  As fellow researchers, RTi has been doing a lot of product development work with clients using problem detection and ideation to understand the sometimes forgotten demand side of the supply-demand equation.  Understanding demand comes from deeply probing with consumers into not just what is, but what would be better.

One of the trends identified in the article is customization. Take breakthrough product Mio Liquid Water Enhancer: You can get as little or as much flavor as you want, plus you can mix and match to create your own unique flavors. (We know this first hand, because our staff is enamored with creating flavor combination challenges. Right now, Mango Peach mixed with Lemonade and a hint of Orange Tangerine is leading in popularity.) Another trend is new ways that consumers seek to use products.  Reese’s Minis removes the individual wrapper from its classic cups “to give consumers an easier way to eat candy on the go.” And then there’s Monster Rehab – at the other extreme of packaging – because it was found “people like pouring their energy drinks into their workout bottles.”

Standing out from a pack of 3,400 consumer-packaged good launches is like winning the lottery. But unlike the lottery, it takes more than just luck; it takes commitment to really knowing your consumer, understanding their needs and demands, then supplying the market with a well-crafted solution.