Case Study: Brand Positioning and New Product Launch

Case Study: Brand Positioning and New Product Launch

What Is The Most Motivating Message?

One of our clients recently came to us hoping to answer a couple important business questions. Although their brand was founded over 50 years ago, they were looking to identify the core elements of their brand positioning. Additionally, they were gearing up for a new product launch and needed to better understand the most motivating messaging for the new product. The following outlines the steps taken to help them answer these important questions.

Research Strategy

To answer both of these questions in one study, we leveraged a tool called IdeaMap®. If you’re not familiar with IdeaMap®, think of it as a combination of Conjoint Analysis “flavors”. Conjoint Analysis is a widely used method for understanding the “why” behind consumer behavior but it has many different varieties or “flavors”.

In order to understand how this tool was used to solve these business questions, it’s important to understand how the tool works. Let’s take a closer look into IdeaMap®….

Editor’s Note: If you’re more interested in the end results and not how we got there, feel free to skip down to the section titled: ANSWERING THE KEY BUSINESS QUESTIONS

IdeaMap® Methodology

IdeaMap® is rooted in conjoint (trade-off) analysis

  • Recognizes that, in reality, purchase decisions are made by evaluating bundles of attributes
  • Consumers trade-off bundles against each other and choose the best bundle for them
  • IdeaMap® allows us to identify the contribution of each element in the bundle to the overall choice

IdeaMap® is based on communications theory of stimulus-response

  • We know the response we want to elicit (i.e., likely to choose)…what stimuli are most effective at eliciting that response?

Utilizes an experimental design to identify causal relationships, not just correlations

Example: In this study we looked at 7 different categories of the new product’s message (e.g. Brand statement, problem statement, call to action, etc.). Think of these 7 categories as the “what to say” part of the model.

Within in each messaging category we tested 5 alternatives. For example, we tested 5 different call-to-action statements. Think of the messaging alternatives as “how to say/describe it.”

To summarize, we’re looking at what message categories are vital to the product’s overall message (what to say) and what is the best way to deliver those categories (how to say/describe it).

Diagram 1 illustrates the relationship between messaging categories and alternatives. Numbers 1-7 horizontally represent the different messaging categories (e.g. Call-to-action, brand statement, promotion, etc.). Letters A-E vertically represents the alternatives under each category.


The raw output of an IdeaMap® study:

  • Constant score (the base level interest in the brand, in the absence of messaging)
  • Element scores (% of people whose interest level changes – either increasing (positive score) or decreasing (negative score) if that message were communicated)
  • Total scores (adds individual contribution of an element to the constant score to show overall interest level—allows comparison of scores across different sub-groups and across studies)

Interpreting the raw output

The element score is a measurement of how much an individual messaging element impacts the purchase likelihood compared to the base interest level (in the absence of messaging)

Answering the key business questions

Brand Positioning

One of our goals in this study was to better understand the core elements of their brand position. To answer this question we looked at the constant score (baseline level interest in the brand, in the absence of messaging) and how specific brand statements impacted changes in purchase likelihood.

The constant score for this study was low because the brand is in a low involvement category (i.e. Insurance). What does this mean? The purchase likelihood in a low involvement category is typically more “message dependent”. This means that our client needs to rely more on their “brand story” to convince consumers to choose them.

Two of the messaging categories we tested in the IdeaMap® study were brand related.

  • Brand summarizing statement
  • Reason brand statement is true

By analyzing the element scores related to each alternative brand statement, our client was able to identify the brand positioning that increased purchase intent by roughly 3X.

Most motivating messaging for new product

To answer this question we looked at the results two different ways. First, we looked at the element scores by messaging category to get a baseline understanding of what messaging categories were most important. Then we drilled down further into the alternatives under each messaging category. For example, we looked at which call-to-action statement had the greatest lift on purchase likelihood.

Secondly, we looked at the interaction effects between the messaging elements. An interaction effect is the measurement of what happens when two or more elements are shown together. In other words, we’re trying to find the “1+1=3” relationships. The element scores by themselves are important but the real “ah ha” moment comes when we look at how messaging elements play together.

After analyzing the interaction effects we were able to statistically identify the messaging that would increase purchase likelihood for their new product by roughly 4X.

Diagram 2 is a visual representation of interaction effects. Different messaging elements work together to develop a message that creates a greater lift in purchase intent than if the elements were presented individually. NOTE –the interaction effect is NOT the sum of the individual element scores but rather the difference in purchase likelihood of when multiple elements are combined vs. when they are isolated. In diagram 2 below, messaging elements #2-B and #5-A (from diagram 1) are combined (e.g. shown in the same message). When these two messaging elements are presented together, it generates an extra +7 lift in purchase likelihood. NOTE – The total likelihood score will also include the constant score but it was left out for this example to show how interaction effects fundamentally work.


Key Takeaway

By understanding which messaging elements play best together, we solidified the brand’s positioning and identified the most motivating messaging for their new product.

Leave a Reply

Join our Newsletter

We'll send you newsletters with news, tips & tricks. No spams here.

Your Name (required)
Your Email (required)