Presented at the 2015 Pangborn Symposium in Gothenburg, Sweden.
Consumers vary in what they like and dislike. They may cluster into groups or segments of similar-minded individuals, but it is often difficult to determine what causes segments to exist. In a typical consumer product test, respondents are screened and profiled according to a series of demographic, psychographic and product usage criteria. Then an analysis of variance is used to study responses to products by identified groups to determine if there is a group × product interaction. In the case of a demographic group such as gender, the interaction reveals whether the products were rated differently by males and females. The mere identification of an interaction does not reveal why the interaction occurs or how to design products that are optimal for each subgroup.
In this presentation we discuss how to take the next steps towards understanding and using interactions by fitting a model that reveals the location of individual ideal points for demographic groups in a map that identifies the attributes important to liking. This approach allows the visual representation of the segments through the color coding of the ideal points. Furthermore, whether two or more groups tend to occupy the same area of the space, thus indicating an appeal for similar sensory profiles, can be tested through ellipses summarizing each group’s average location and the use of χ2 tests. If a difference exists, the optimal profiles for each subgroup can then be generated using the underlying sensory information driving the product locations in the space. This is valuable information to the sensory scientist that goes beyond the simple investigation of group effects using the interaction term in an analysis of variance.
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