By Carmel Dibner
As a follow up to Part 2 of our claims webinar series, “Make a Statement: Developing Effective Claims that Stand Out”, Carmel Dibner answers frequently asked questions about claims development.
Q: We’re looking to develop a strong, impactful claim, but aren’t sure which product benefit or feature to emphasize. What do you recommend?
A: The first step is to identify the features or benefits of your product or service that are most important to customers. Sometimes this can be done through secondary research about the category, provided it’s sufficiently detailed. More often, primary qualitative research is the best approach.
Primary qualitative research provides you with the opportunity to ask highly targeted questions and probe into customers’ answers to gather a rich and detailed understanding of customers’ perceptions of the marketplace. The goal of the qualitative research should be to explore the complete range of customers’ wants and needs related to the category. Once you’ve identified the full range of needs, a detailed quantitative survey allows you to assess the importance of each attribute and how well the market is performing in these areas. If your brand has strengths in important areas that are weaknesses for the overall market, those could represent ripe areas for claims development. If your brand doesn’t currently have strengths in these areas, these could be promising areas for future product or service development and, subsequently, for claims.
Q: How can I maximize the chances that my claim will stand out in the marketplace?
A: One way to help your claim stand out is to develop a claim around an attribute of your product or service that is truly differentiated from the competition. A claim about an important differentiated feature or benefit is more likely to get noticed. The claim language should also be differentiated and memorable.
Q: How can I test a claim to determine whether it’s likely to be impactful?
A: There are several ways to test claims for impact.
First, test the claim language on its own. Thoroughly evaluate the claim to ensure that it is believable, clear, consistent with the brand image, and that it is written in consumer language, not company jargon. Next, evaluate the claim in the competitive context. Consider how your claim is likely to stand out relative to competitive claims that your target market will likely encounter. Additionally, test the claim language in the context in which it will be viewed (e.g., on packaging, in an advertisement or on a point of purchase display) to ensure that it still stands out and resonates with customers in that context.
Q: What are some common pitfalls to watch out for when developing claims?
A: One common pitfall is making a claim that is not important to consumers. Just because you have the technology to make a certain claim doesn’t mean the claim is worth making. Focus on claims that are likely to contribute to your brand equity and move the needle.
A second common pitfall is failing to think about where the claim will appear. Certain claims do a good job of convincing customers that your brand should be in their consideration set, others effectively drive customers to store, and others are most effective at the point of purchase.
Another common pitfall is failing to plan for the lifespan of the claim. Once the claim is in market, you’ll want to periodically evaluate how the claim is contributing to your brand equity. Plan ahead for what you’ll do if the claim doesn’t prove effective. Additionally, think about how you’ll continue to monitor your claim in the competitive context. How will competitors respond to your claim? Would you change your claim if a competitor releases a new product, develops a new feature, or develops a new claim? Would you need to change your claim if a new competitor enters the market?
With these questions in mind, carefully think about where to place a new claim, recognizing that it’s much easier to change claims in some contexts than others. For example, you can easily update your website, but updating claim language on your packaging could be a much lengthier process.
Q: Once I’ve developed a few potential claims that resonate with customers, what should I do next?
A: Typically, once you’ve narrowed down the claim you’d like to make, the next step is to substantiate your claims. You can learn more about the claims substantiation process here.
For more on claims development, watch our webinar, “Make a Statement (PART 2): Developing Effective Claims that Stand Out”. This webinar introduces the claims development process and answers additional frequently asked questions.