In our Why Chirp? series, we’ll explore some of the qualitative, quantitative, and innovation methodologies we offer and how multi-phase, mixed-methodology research forwards our clients’ objectives. This month, we’re talking Choice Design with Alyssa Cox and Macie McCoy from our quantitative team.
What is Choice Design?
Choice Design methodology imitates the real-life purchase decision process and forces the consideration of multiple variables at once, like product price, size, and description. It’s used to get a true ranking of products, claims, or messages that reflects the current market when there are a variety of item(s) being tested. When determining what options are standouts among several choices that may all be generally well-received by consumers, this methodology is especially useful.
What makes Choice Design different from other quantitative methodologies?
While other quantitative methodologies may provide general insight into consumer opinions on a specific question or objective, using Choice Design provides more well-rounded insights that reflect a wider consumer consideration set. Before deciding between several products or services in a store or online, consumers might weigh the pros and cons of each before deciding. Choice Design replicates this decision-making process and helps avoid scale bias, which can happen when using a typical 5-point scale for a metric. Certain types of Choice Design will also measure the interaction between different variables to understand if a certain combination performs best rather than performance for each variable individually.
Are there different types of Choice Design?
Yes! Choice Design is typically done in one of two ways, depending on the testing objective.
MaxDiff design is the simpler method, which displays 3-5 items at a time and forces a ranking from the respondent on one key metric. That metric might be how likely they are to purchase or how important a specific claim is when making that purchase decision. MaxDiff is most often used to test messages and/or claims about a product. If there is a desire to compare the claims or messages to competitors, unbranded language from those competitors can also be included in the exercise.
- When testing more than one overarching metric with multiple components/considerations within that metric, a Choice-Based Conjoint design can be used. This design displays attributes about a product (packaging, price, description, name, size, etc.) in several different combinations, in order to understand what tradeoffs consumers make between several product factors and identify the ideal combination. This methodology is typically used when a certain product or offering is the focus of the research and the overarching metric being measured is likelihood to purchase. A Conjoint approach can also include competitive brands and products in the evaluation, highlighting how a product being tested performs against the current market.
Can you give me an example?
One of our clients, a widely distributed beverage brand, wanted to understand which claims about their beverages should be displayed on their bottles to drive purchases. We utilized a MaxDiff exercise in which respondents chose claims that would make them most and least interested in purchasing. After analysis we provided a ranking of their claims, discovering which would perform best.
What are the unique challenges?
This methodology uses exercises that can take about 5 minutes for respondents to complete, so it’s important to keep the questions before and after the exercise limited to avoid respondent fatigue. When using Choice Design, keeping the stimulus simple helps respondents be more receptive to the exercises. For example, MaxDiff designs should have about 15-30 messages or claims being tested, and product attributes tested in Conjoint designs should not be text heavy or exceed 4-6 attributes and 4-6 levels.
What can clients expect from the process?
Clients should expect to discuss the product/messaging/feature variables that they need to decipher. Questions we might discuss include:
- How will the product realistically be presented in real life?
- Are there any attributes of the product that should not be combined (i.e., a certain size at a certain price)?
- Are there any messages that shouldn’t be evaluated together (i.e., “Save 20%” and “Save 30%”)?
- Would you like to include real-world competitive stimulus for comparison?
Once key objectives and stimulus are decided upon, Chirp will design the survey and Choice Design exercise, which is about a weeklong process with feedback and collaboration from the client throughout. After finalizing, programming, and fielding the survey, Chirp will work on the analysis of the survey and Choice Design, deciphering consumer opinions about product and message variations to ultimately determine the best option(s) for the client.
Why choose Chirp?
Chirp is well-versed in Choice Design and analysis. For Conjoint exercises, Chirp will provide a detailed report and an Excel simulator that will allow clients to explore product variations that align with internal strategic goals and feasibility. We work quickly and with flexibility around internal deadlines, product changes, and shifting objectives. We are a strategic partner who will help you get the most value out of your deliverable.