Measuring coffee concepts in context for Jacobs Douwe Egberts

Jacobs Douwe Egberts logo

Together with Jacobs Douwe Egberts (JDE), a multinational tea and coffee company, we tested a new mobile survey approach; this would serve to test the impact of context in concept validation research.


The challenge

The context or occasion a consumer is in triggers their behavior, as does one’s mood, habits and emotions. Correspondingly, both the external and the internal factors of the context consumers are in influence their purchase decisions. Yet we keep on conducting survey research without taking these context elements into account. The participants to the majority of survey research projects are supposedly sitting at their computer; but we are missing out on any information on their contextual background. If context has such an impact on our decisions, why do we not take it into account when measuring concept performance?

Our solution

To validate this context-based thinking, we used three previously tested coffee concepts that our client was about to launch on the market. In order to measure the impact of context, we worked with three parallel sampling designs; all three mobile-enabled, as we believe only in-the-heat-of-the-moment measurement can accurately measure context:

JDE mobile survey design
  1. Status quo: traditional concept measurement approach via a mobile survey, where each participant is to rate two random concepts.
  2. On a mission: in this gamified mobile design, participants were to complete 2 missions; each mission referred to a given (coffee) occasion. When participants were in that specific occasion, they could unlock the mission and rate two random concepts on five core KPIs; this allowed for real in-the-heat-of-the-moment measurement. To unlock a mission, participants had to upload a picture through their mobile device; thus proving they were in the middle of that occasion.
  3. Do it now: in this design we triggered participants with an SMS. Upon receipt, they were to take a picture, showing where they were at that moment; there, they could participate in the mobile survey and rate two concepts.
JDE occassions

The impact

The on a mission measurement led to a higher score on concept appeal, usefulness and credibility in comparison with the other two sampling approaches; one can explained this by the fact that these on a mission occasions trigger a clear relevance with the product. When we look at the purchase intention, we see no difference between the on-a-mission (in context) design and the standard design.

In order to assess which of these sampling approaches best reflects the actual market performance, we set up a post-measurement. JDE launched one of the tested concepts on the French market, namely L’Or Sublime, in the fall of 2014. In January, we set up a post-measurement; this included consumers that both had and hadn’t participated in the first measurement of the study. Comparison of the priced buying intention with the number of people that actually bought the product proved that the in-context measurement gave a significantly better prediction in comparison with the other two designs.

The true value of in-context measurement lies in the fact that it helps understand which context or occasion your product is more relevant in. As such, it allows us to decrease the gap between insight and actions.

Based on this (one) study, we do not believe we need to radically change the way we do concept testing. The standard concept validation approach shows to be a good measure when it comes to intention; yet the above clearly shows that context is an important parameter in concept validation. We do however believe that surveys should capture the contextual background consumers are in; because we should no longer assume that consumers are participating in surveys in total isolation.

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