That Word Doesn’t Mean What You Think It Means…

Have you seen the post about the 25 Common Words That You’ve Got Wrong? It’s been showing up all over my social news feed lately. Basically, it’s a list of words that people have repeatedly used incorrectly over time. Some of the words might surprise you! For some of these words, the confusion was understandable – they sound like another word or the definition was close to another word.  However, reading through this list serves as a gentle reminder to those of us in our industry. The need to understand what consumers think and how they perceive certain words or ideas is imperative to a brand’s overall communication efforts. This goes to show that you can’t simply rely on what the dictionary says.

And, going beyond played back definitions, we’ve found through our own research on research that even surface level associations don’t oftentimes match what consumers feel about certain words. It’s often difficult to understand what motivates consumers and how they feel about a brand and why. So how do you extract the deeper feelings about a brand or a concept? Well, research has shown that 80% of human expression is non-verbal, with most decision-making happening in the subconscious.* This indicates a need for evolved market research methods that go beyond reporting what consumers say, and to provide understanding around what they are feeling. One of the ways that we are able to get at the deeper meaning is through eCollage™ which uses pictures and images as catalysts, to elicit emotions more effectively. This type of technique allows for deeper and more personal self-expression. Want to see how it works? Click the image below to go ahead and give it a try.

Click for a demo
Click to try eCollage™

*Zaltman, 1995 et al

Positioning Powdered Alcohol

In case you missed it, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau catapulted powdered alcohol into the news when it approved Palcohol‘s powdered vodka, rum and other powdered cocktail versions to be marketed in the United States. Afterwards, the bureau reversed their decision and said it was in error. Whether powdered alcohol will be hitting store shelves anytime soon is unclear, however Palcohol’s website claims they hope for it to be available in the fall of 2014.

But just who would purchase powdered alcohol? Mark Phillips, the man behind Palcohol has stated that he created powdered alcohol because he leads such an active lifestyle hiking, camping, biking, kayaking and he wanted to enjoy a cocktail afterwards without having to lug a bottle of alcohol and mixers around with him.

It’s been reported that a cached version of the Palcohol website had previously contained provocative language while they tried to figure out how to market their new product. And, if you visit their website now, they’ve definitely toned down all the edgy ways Palcohol could be used and instead are focusing on ways other industries could use their product. Clearly they are still trying to figure everything out, but maybe marketing towards a younger, more active lifestyle is the way to go? We recently conducted an Alcoholic Beverage study and found that 51% of Millennials try a new alcoholic beverage 6 times a year or more (compared to only 15%-20% among older generations). We also found that at least half of Millennials pay particular attention to whether drinks are a good value, have moderate alcohol content, is sweet and light-tasting, is sophisticated and would not cause hangovers/headaches.

I’ll guess we’ll have to wait and see if powdered alcohol will be making it to market in the near future and how Palcohol decides to move forward with their positioning.

For more information on our Alcoholic Beverage study, click here.