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The Challenge
The Solution
The result
Case Studies

Global CPG brand uncovers “shocking” insights to differentiate in a commoditized category

The Challenge

Manufacturing a variety of consumer products—from paper towels to diapers to feminine care items—this global CPG brand is no stranger to commodification. But one of their particularly low engagement categories was under threat from private label alternatives, as well as new pressures from market inflation.

The brand needed to figure out how to “premiumize” these products to differentiate themselves from the competition—but they struggled with how to innovate and add new value in a commoditized, 100+ year-old category.

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It’s relatively hard to understand what needs are unmet because consumers don't necessarily think about it with a commoditized product. We had to find and address unmet needs that people might not even be able to articulate.


Global Market Research Lead
The solution

The CPG brand had previously completed research to segment their customers. They had identified segments that would reliably buy and pay more within the category, but they didn’t understand why.

“We know we have these consumer segments that are very valuable to us or have the potential to be valuable. We needed to know their needs because we know they're the group that will really set the growth trajectory for this category.”

They turned to Strategyn and the Outcome-Driven Innovation (ODI) process to figure out their best opportunities to add value.

ODI provided a step-by-step framework to uncover exactly what customers were trying to accomplish, what they needed in a product, and how they would measure their success.

The Outcome-Driven Innovation process was executed in five steps:

  1. Define the market around the customer’s job-to-be-done.
  2. Uncover customers’ needs using qualitative interviews.
  3. Quantify the needs with ODI-based quantitative research techniques and prioritize customers’ desired outcomes.
  4. Identify opportunities by segmenting research results around customers' desired outcomes.
  5. Differentiate offerings with insights gleaned from the ODI process.

“The Strategyn team was just phenomenal at taking a really involved process and breaking it down in a way that we could quantify each step. I really appreciated all of the rigor and logic in their approach.”


The Insights

When this consumer goods company uncovered their customers’ needs and re-segmented their audiences around desired outcomes, they were shocked to realize their most profitable customer segment was also the most underserved.

The brand had assumed they were serving this segment well and that innovation needed to take place elsewhere.

The insights from ODI told them otherwise.

These ‘premium’ customers were paying more for and buying a lot of products in the category not because the products solved their needs well—instead, they put a higher premium on the outcome than the average consumer and wanted the job done better.

Existing products in the market were falling short of their expectations for some of their most important needs. ODI precisely illustrated what type of innovations would create value for and drive growth with these premium consumers.

“We had all these assumptions going into this work, and the insight we got out of it kind of shook everybody's foundation. When you have a hypothesis, and then the research tells you something else, it makes you pause and say, wow, we need to do something different.”


The Outcome-Driven Innovation process we used for Fortune 500 CPG included five steps:

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    The result

    With ODI insights in hand, this CPG company realized there were still customers seeking new benefits the category did not yet deliver—there was room to innovate around this commodity, after all.

    They refocused their product development to address specific unmet needs identified in the research and now have several new products launching around the globe in 2022.

    The CPG giant is also using ODI insights to adjust positioning and communicate product benefits in a way that's meaningful to the consumers they’re trying to reach.

    Finally, understanding their customers at this level and at this depth has helped the brand optimize relationships with their retailers. Retail partners want to be sure the brands they put on their shelves are meeting a customer need—and this CPG company can easily give them proof.


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    I cannot tell you how many times I've dug into the report to pull out facts. This work has gotten a lot of leverage in building confidence and building trust with our retail partners.



    We learned new things by viewing the market around the job steps. We identified outcomes we should consider that we hadn't considered before. We got a lot of value out of that—and I didn't think we would. I love being surprised.



    If you’re ready to launch the next big thing, it’s time to upgrade to Outcome-Driven Innovation. Get in touch to speak with one of our innovation experts.

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