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6 Sweet Insights into How Consumer Preferences Take Hold

 

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With all the talk about a divided America and the need to change the public mood, we thought of chocolate. Chocolate, it seems safe to say, is one thing behind which we all can unite.

 

Chocolate represents how well-run brands don’t sit on their success. They keep pushing forward with change, but never lose sight of what made them successful in the first place. And of course, they are passionate about keeping fully informed about consumers’ thinking when it comes to choosing and enjoying any sweet snack.

 

In the spirit of connecting with consumers who have a sweet tooth for your product, let’s look at the history of the small but mighty M&M.

  • 1941: Mars debuts M&Ms Plain Chocolate candy, which protects milk chocolate with a crisp, candy coating. The new product solves the problem of melting, chocolate’s only drawback, apart from the calories.
  • The product name itself exploits the magic of chocolate: unlike “plain vanilla,” which conjures one meaning of “plain” – something unimaginative or unremarkable – “plain chocolate” connotes something transparently and indisputably positive, as in “plain fact,” “plain goodness,” or “plain truth.”
  • 1950: Mars begins stamping an “m” on each individual morsel, making the product literally its own advertisement.
  • 1954: Enter M&Ms Peanut – a variation that the public gobbles up without eating into the popularity of the original plain chocolate formulation.
  • 1988 to 2006: M&Ms continue to appear on candy shelves in new flavors, including almond, dark chocolate, crispy chocolate and peanut butter – alongside but not in place of the traditional Plain and Peanut.
  • 2016: Mars uses the 75th anniversary of M&Ms to announce the next innovation: look for M&Ms with a creamy caramel center, starting in April, 2017.

The moral of the story: don’t mess with something that works unless you want a marketing mess on your hands. But don’t stand still, either. The M&Ms brand keeps what’s great and builds upon it. So have other leading chocolate brands, including Whitman’s, Cadbury, Hershey and Tootsie Rolls, all of which have been on the scene since the 1800s. In other words, even the most established brands must stay deeply in tune with consumers.

 

In a competitive, fast-changing sector such as snack foods, a uniquely fast and cost-effective way to track consumer preferences and stay instantly alert to any subtle shifts in tastes, brand consciousness and advertising effectiveness is with MFourDIY™  –  the nation’s only all-mobile, do-it-yourself research platform. The million-plus active panelists who use MFour’s Surveys on the Go® app will give you reliable data in a day as you try to find a sweet spot for any consumer packaged good. The video Q&A capabilities of smartphone research will even let you see their mouths water. For more, visit mfourdiy.com or contact Alex at acolao@mfour.com.