Preference mapping & segmentation
Understanding and modelling consumer preferences
teams cannot content themselves with just knowing whether
or not consumers like their product. They also have to understand
the reasons for this overall opinion, identify the strengths
and weaknesses of the product to provide guidance for optimisation.
But consumers are not capable of explaining their evaluations
in a precise and reliable manner, and even less of describing
with precision what their ideal product would be. They have
neither the sensory capacities, nor the vocabulary necessary.
Preference mapping enables us to resolve this problem.
Consumers are used for what they know how to do, that
is evaluate products.
To describe the products, we call upon qualified and trained
sensory experts, capable of specifying the nature and
intensity of the sensations generated by a product, without
attaching any hedonic value to it. We ask them to describe
and in no way to evaluate.
Statistical analyses then enable us to link together the
two groups of data collected in order to explain the pleasure
experienced by consumers using the sensory characteristics
described by the experts.
- Definition of a corpus of products that make up the
reference universe. A minimum of 8 products is needed for
the model to function, which should be selected for their
capacity to describe the diversity of the sensory range.
2 - The experts choose the relevant sensory descriptors
and draw up a profile of each product by gauging the intensity
of the sensation that they perceive for each descriptor
(on average, for example scores from 0 to 10).
3 - A representative sample of target consumers is
recruited and each individual evaluates all the products
from the corpus. This obligation can make the process rather
weighty, especially when it is important to avoid successively
testing too great a number of products (tests at home spread
over several weeks, in-hall tests in several sessions).
The essential information consumers are asked for is their
overall opinion of each product.
4 - The processing of the data collected starts by
the establishment of a sensory map. This is obtained
using a factor analysis based on the sensory profiles of
the experts. The sensory map provides a simplified representation
of all the sensory profiles by just showing the main summary
5 - The following stage consists of looking for a
statistical link between consumer preferences and the position
of the products on the sensory map. For each consumer, we
look for a solution to the equation: Pleasure = a function
of the sensory positioning on the map.
Merging the individual results together enables us to associate
each point in the sensory area (each possible positioning
for a product) with a value that corresponds to the % of
consumers that like or would like a product placed at this
- The last stage, which considerably enriches the approach,
consists of identifying segments of consumers with homogenous
preferences and determining the optimal sensory profile
of each of the segments: Rather than look for one product
that is "right for the average person", we build
in the diversity of consumers' preferences.
Identification of the most attractive sensory positioning
and conception of the corresponding product.
Creation of a range that covers the diversity
of expectations by designing the optimal product for
each of the segments of consumers with homogenous preferences.
Quality monitoring of production: Projection
on a sensory map of different production lots of a product
and verification of the fit with the sensory target sought.
and preference mapping
close partnerships with research organisations and a combination
of different quantitative and qualitative sensory approaches,
we have developed expertise that is as yet unrivalled in
the use of this technique:
Precision in the definition of sensory target
Sensory and marketing relevance of the preference
segmentation, thanks to the use of an exclusive classification
In-depth investigation of the preference segments
(Target Insight method), giving clients the keys to designing
a marketing mix that will encourage the encounter of each
target with its ideal product
Conception of a model to identify preference segments
to recruit qualified respondents for new studies (creative
research, mix component tests
Using all these tools, Repères works in partnership
with its clients from the strategic choice of the range
of products right up to the conception of the marketing
mixes adapted to each of the targets.