March 1, 2017 Comments Closed

AA&U: Get to the Top of the Leaderboard

5
Insights Gained
from an AA&U Study

1. Understand how many people are buying products in your category: who, why, which brands, and how often?

2. Understand what consumers like or dislike about the products available in your category.

3. Understand which brands are meeting expectations, or falling short, across a battery of measures.

4. Understand which product claims are most important, and motivating, to consumers.

5. Ascertain what will grow your brand faster: increasing awareness, distribution, sampling, etc.

In recent blog posts, we’ve looked at how consumer research studies from Persuadable Research can help you, as a brand owner, gather vital feedback on everything from package design to advertising messaging to new product concepts.

The insights from these studies can be crucial to knowing whether a planned course of action is worth undertaking, especially before significant resources are expended.

The studies we’ve covered in recent weeks are “niche-oriented” tactics that focus on particular aspects of a product or a marketing plan, but they are essential building blocks in the product development cycle.

This is similar to how a professional golfer perfects his game — working separately on driving, chipping, pitching from the sand, putting – before heading to the links.

After all those hours of practice, however, the big unknown for a professional golfer is still:  How good am I, really? How do I stack up against real-world competition?  The answer, of course, comes at tournament time.

A similar challenge exists for you. How do you know how your product stacks up against the competition?

A brand that has a “sweet swing” must still compete in the marketplace against shelves full of other products, all vying to “make the cut” and for a place on the leaderboard.

For you, there’s only one game in town for measuring yourself against the competition: attitude, awareness and usage (AA&U) studies.

What is an Attitude, Awareness & Usage study (AA&U)?

AA&Us are comprehensive studies seeking insights into a particular category. By studying consumer attitudes, awareness and usage of brands within a competitive set, you are able to see where you stand in relation to the competitors. This allows you to make strategic decisions to improve your position.

AA&U studies are large, sprawling studies that cover a lot of ground. They are foundational to a brand strategy and can serve a brand for 3 to 5 years.

AA&U studies help you:

  • Understand the “lay of the land” in your category so that you know how to position your brand against the competition;
  • Identify category “need gaps” and primary drivers of consumer purchase intent;
  • Know the “cost of entry” attributes consumers expect within the category. For example, if you’re selling a hand lotion, it had better moisturize, since “moisturization” is a basic expectation of consumers in that category;
  • Know where competitors are vulnerable in the minds of category consumers.

An AA&U Study in Action

Here’s an example of how we used an AA&U for a client.

A boutique natural foods company, famous for their whole grain breads, sought growth and expansion, and believed targeting the granola category might be a viable play for them.

Based on the recommendation of a marketing consultant, the client commissioned us to research the granola category before investing in product development.

We conducted an AA&U study to explore granola consumption in its various forms. The granola category has some unique challenges: it can be consumed in various forms, at various times of the day, and is a popular snack for both indoors and outdoors! With all these factors to consider, we devised a study that focused on the following topics:

  • WHO is buying granola products? Who are the heavy consumers, and how do they consume granola?
  • WHAT product forms (bars, toppings, breakfast cereals, clusters, cookies etc.) are they buying?
  • Are all forms of granola perceived as similar in price, convenience, etc?
  • How MUCH are consumers spending?
  • WHICH products and which consumers most closely align with the brand’s current product line-up and image?
  • Are there needs in the category where the brand can effectively and credibly compete?
  • How much awareness is needed to be successful? I.e. – how big does the marketing budget need to be?

In the end, the data clearly showed there was tremendous confusion in the granola category.  It was highly fragmented in both product array and consumer demographics, with only the largest brands and the biggest marketing budgets able to break through the “clutter.”

Recognizing the disparity between the investment required and their available capital, the brand decided not to pursue the granola category and searched for other expansion opportunities.

The findings of the AA&U study showed them that investing large sums of money and time was, likely, a big mistake.

For another example of an AA&U that we conducted, click here to read one of our AAU case studies.

You can find even more AA&U examples on our case studies page.

AA&U at Persuadable Research

If you are interested in using an AA&U study to get to the top of the leaderboard, give us a call at 913-385-1700, or use the form on this page to reach us. One of our Solutions Experts would love to talk with you.

Copyright © 2017 Persuadable Research Corp.