To grow the Feminine Care category in markets with high protection needs is a big opportunity. The issue, however, is that discussing sensitive topics of this nature with consumers is considered taboo and is strongly discouraged in many countries around the globe, even in some developed countries. Key barriers are cultural, religious, or both, and raise a key challenge towards understanding what products are likely to best meet the needs of target consumers. We proposed using an agile learning approach to gain trust and get to true tensions to develop superior solutions.
To drive a meaningful innovation in sensitive and personal categories such as feminine care it was imperative to break the barriers to understanding the deeper meaning of consumers behavior, and the contradictions associated with it. Valen’s Fusion MethodologyTM helps uncover the truth and the tension in consumers experience through identifying vested consumers and using an iterative insight approach. It was necessary to build trust among a small group, and accompany them throughout their experience over an extended period of time for them to:
- Entrust us with their issues and frustrations, sharing their emotions and feelings in remarkable details.
- Participate in the co-creation process, critiquing and iterating the prototypes we provided by trying even the most crude concepts.
This relationship and selecting consumers motived to solve a feminine care issue were critical to understand the underlying tensions of the consumer’s need.
The learning was quick, leading to a rapid translation of consumer feedback into actionable next steps, including a next sprint in physical product and package prototypes experiments. The impact touched almost all aspects of the business, leading to an impressive innovation program with a 3-year innovation roadmap. The critical insight we identified led to winning initiatives on both the technical and commercial fronts. It allowed the business to gain market leadership in a relatively short time by reaching the heart and mind of the consumer, displacing a very well entrenched competitor.