InnoQuest*Vantis uses an indirect mechanism to infer the impact of motivation and ‘costs’ on likely behavior by asking consumers to which extent they would seek more information after being exposed to some limited information about the innovation. Across multiple sectors, this has proven to be one of the more effective predictors of behavior.
Motivation and Quick Impressions
Motivation is what moves consumers (first on the inside as
impression and desire and then on the outside as purchase behavior). Consequently, a key metric of InnoQuest*Vantis
tests is need alignment: does the new product ‘solve a problem or fulfil a
need’? This is not measured as some kind of deep self-reflective evaluation of
an innovation but more simply as a quick
impression of how a new product or service resonates with consumers.
The Power of Differentiation
Behavioral science (from Bartlett’s schemas to Tversky’s
contrast model) shows how similarities and differentiation play a
disproportionate role in how we form impressions. Technology, durables and
service sector innovations offer many points through which differentiation can
be communicated to and perceived by consumers (e.g., advertising,
distribution, performance expectations,
consumer experience, aesthetics
and visual appeal, tangible features, pricing, overall
impression, feel, etc.). The technology sector provides many cases of
innovation that creates massive differentiation in consumers’ minds simply
because it disrupts
some or all points of
consumers’ experiences so
radically: Uber, Airbnb, self-regulation devices like Misfit or Fitbit,
Instagram, etc. A key metric of InnoQuest*Vantis tests
is differentiation measured
as perceptions of
being ‘new and different’, whichever way consumers construct
Fears and Uncertainty
Social psychologists and neuroscientists describe trust as
an efficient mechanism we use to handle complexity, especially in situations of
risk and uncertainty. Consumers’ response
to innovation in
technology, durables and
service markets is
sometimes coloured by unspoken
fears or uncertainty
that create distrust
and inhibit engagement. Our
research clearly shows
that lack of
trust inhibits attention
and reduces consumers’ likelihood
to engage and process innovation. Peer-to-peer (P2P) lending is a classic case
of uncertainty holding back behavior. There is no shortage of borrowers for
small personal or micro-business loans but most retail investors remain unsure:
uncertainty about the P2P sector’s regulation, no recognisable brand names and questions
about online security. Yet,
as online transactions
become routinely embedded
in our lives
and the desperate
search for yield
among retail investors
endures, behavior will
change and P2P
will increase momentum.
Because of the many sources of uncertainty, InnoQuest*Vantis tests
measure believability and clarity and use roundabout methods to uncover latent
fears and uncertainty.
Jumping on the Bandwagon
Many social psychologists (from Ash to Cialdini) have
extensively and vividly described the impact of other people on individual
preferences, decisions and choices. Others like Rogers and Bass specifically
worked on describing and formalising the link between social forces and the
diffusion of innovation. Once ‘innovators’ and ‘early adopters’ are on board,
the conditions are set for others to jump on the bandwagon and accelerate the diffusion of an innovation
in its target market. Availability and pricing can of course act as constraints
on diffusion but other factors also act to make adoption faster in its market.
The rise of social media only amplifies and accelerates the bandwagon effect on
the adoption of an innovation. Spotify has grown from 6 million paid
subscriptions in 2013 to 10 million in 2014 and is expected to reach 15 million
in 2015. Apart from its aggressive geographical push compared to other services
like Pandora, Spotify has created strong network effects through collaborative
playlists as well as general playlists and song sharing with Spotify
connections. The more new connections Spotify makes on its platform, the more
its appeal increases for potential subscribers. Spotify recognised early on
that music was the ideal sector to build a subscription-based business on
through powerful network effects due to the social nature of music experience.
InnoQuest*Vantis tests systematically measure buzz through word of mouth as well as consumers’ social media activity. Sometimes, an
innovation can show limited impact in the short term but the extent and shape
of its buzz can powerfully impact the speed of diffusion in its target market
and pay-back time. Ipsos’ modelling of diffusion effects helps marketers
maximise market opportunities and carefully plan their roadmap for future
innovations whose half-life is getting shorter and shorter.
Emotion and Intention
Contrary to shallow interpretations of research in cognitive
psychology, System 1 cannot be reduced to emotion as it is as much about the
absence of wilful and effortful processing of situations as it is about using
emotion to construct impressions. Relying solely on emotion and intention
results in sometimes severe distortions of what consumers eventually do in non-CPG
markets although both evidently capture something of consumers’ pre-disposition to act. Our testing of
Ultra High Definition 4K TV showed strong performance in both emotional pull
and purchase intention. Sales, however, remain slow as potential buyers process
the situation of how difficult it is to stream 4K movie content for viewing.
This is unlikely to change until the cable industry dedicates a ‘broader
band-width’ channel to move large 4K files on the internet. InnoQuest*Vantis
tests measure both emotion and intentions but we also realise that the first
rule of behavior change has always been (and will remain) ‘make it easy’.
From Concept Testing to Market
InnoQuest*Vantis tests carefully combine the various aspects
of consumers’ response to innovation in technology, durables, service and other
non-CPG markets, all of which are measured as quick impressions after consumer
exposure to innovation. Those impressions reflect the various mechanisms used
to ignore, stop paying attention to as well as make sense of and engage with
innovation: motivation and ‘costs’, trust (impacted by believability and
clarity), differentiation, emotion and intentions.
Marketing plans and the response to price further drive
expectations of consumer demand. Social media connection amplifies and
accelerates the diffusion of innovation.
Over the last 30 years Ipsos has conducted 30,000
InnoQuest*Vantis tests in a multitude of categories of technology, durables,
service, healthcare, pharmaceutical, automotive and other non-CPG markets
around the world. InnoQuest*Vantis has been remarkably successful at
identifying the markers of in-market success and helping marketers optimise
business opportunities for their innovations. When non-CPG products or services
have been launched, the validation track record is a staggering forecasting
accuracy of ± 20% in 90% of launches.
A key reason for the success of InnoQuest*Vantis is its
ability to capture the essential aspects of how consumers respond to
innovations in non-CPG markets through short surveys. Indeed, this brief review
shows how key insights gained from behavioral science dovetail very closely
with InnoQuest*Vantis tests. Research design has been matching principles of behavior
learnt from marketing academics and consumer psychologists’ right from the day
the Vantis team ventured into non-CPG business sectors 30 years ago. Without
such close alignment, we would be at a loss to account for InnoQuest*Vantis’
success with clients and sectors around the world.
Six Principles from Behavioral
Science to Maximise the Adoption of Innovation
Six principles emerge from Behavioral Science that can make
or break an innovation’s success in technology, durables, services and other
- Address a real consumer need: Whether it makes life simpler or saves time or removes some negative, innovation has to resonate with people and the way they live their life.
- Ensure differentiation: Differentiation has two direct benefits. First, it increases the likelihood that consumers pay attention. Attention is the first step to choice. Second, differentiation multiplies the impact of an attractive (i.e., motivating) innovation on its adoption.
- Create desire but address uncertainty upfront: An attractive innovation creates desire but fears and uncertainty create barriers: a trust/distrust mechanism kicks in strongly, early and fast. Fears and uncertainty need addressing upfront so that consumers move from attention to engagement rather than switch off. Yet, switch-offs may be retrieved further down the pathway: what early adopters do becomes a powerful signal of trust for everyone else to jump on the bandwagon.
- Accelerate the bandwagon effect: Digital life multiplies avenues to increase the speed of diffusion and advance pay-back time. In an increasing number of sectors, faster changes to technology mean shorter lifecycles. Time to pay-back becomes critical.
- Maximise value: Value is in the eye of the buyer, not in the cost-plus pricing formula. This means that it is crucial to determine both how much innovation resonates with potential buyers and their willingness to pay (preferably through methods that reveal willingness to pay (WTP) like choice models rather than asking directly).
- Push doesn’t make up for pull: When innovation does not pull enough consumers, one option is to increase push (media spend, availability, etc.) to make the numbers. A better option is to fit around the type of innovation. For this reason, we have identified two dozen innovation archetypes and laid out their respective business strategies: for example using an appropriate pricing strategy or riding the bandwagon effectively over the life cycle, etc. Pushing innovation is most rewarding (and most efficient) when there is potential for mass consumer appeal or the push accelerates pull (as in ‘network effects’).