The Long Mynd Tea Company “TLMTC” is a leading player in the specialty and green tea market in United Kingdom. UK, with a market share of 63%, is the largest tea consuming market in Western Europe (Tropical Commodity Coalition). Tea consumption in UK was pegged at 31,000 tonnes in the year 2008. Our internal Long Mynd Business Intelligence Unit “LMBIU” has indicated that global supply deficits in 2010 mostly attributed to severe droughts in Kenya and India in 2009 resulted in global tea prices hitting a historical high in 2009. This resulted in Unilever’s PG Tips being priced 28% higher than a year ago, while Tetley was pegged at 7% more expensive (Euromonitor).
The demand for tea in UK has been healthy but rising prices in the market can lead to fall in demand especially for specialty tea which is priced slightly higher than regular tea. TLMTC recognizes the issue and to counter and differentiate its offering we plan to introduce a unique range of product, herbal and fruit tea-bags under the brand name Revive.
Revive offers a unique feature to consumers in the new range of teabags which is the shape of the bags. The company is planning to use an innovative manufacturing process to craft the tea-bags in irregular shapes which involves only minimum wastage. The new bag is designed in a unique flower shape.
The product will be distributed through the existing delivery channels of hypermarkets and supermarkets. We will also tie-up with large café chains to distribute the product.
We plan to promote the launch by an aggressive campaign involving magazine and posters in the Autumn of 2011. The key message in the ads will be around the unique shape and attempt to tie it to herbal and health connotations. The ads will also carry the message of good taste of the tea.
TLMTC wants to know whether the unique shape of the tea-bag and the taste of the tea are appealing to consumers.
We want to test the hypothesis that the consumers perceive the package as a differentiating factor.
We are also interested in validating the hypothesis that the taste of the new product will be accepted by consumers.
The exploration of these aspects will help us make any possible changes to the product and communication. We also assume that consumers will associate the floral shape to herbs and healthiness. The study should provide us with a clear understanding of how the consumers perceive the packaging as a differentiator. It should also give us clear guidelines on what are the positive and negative perceptions about the new pack.
We expect to get recommendations in form of a programme of research to guide us through the launch of Revive.
We expect to receive a complete report of the research in 4 hard copies and an electronic version of the report to be submitted at the LMBIU office at our corporate headquarters. We also require the research agency to submit a PowerPoint presentation and present it to the marketing team at our offices 1 week after the final report is submitted.
Timing: TLMTC wants to have the final report ready by no later than 3rd week of July’ 2011. The marketing team would first review and approve the report. Thereafter, the agency would need to present the key research findings to the marketing team latest by the last week of July’2011.
Budget: The budget that we are willing to allocate to the project is no more than £60,000. This includes any sum spent on travel and other activities to finish the project.
Location: Revive will be launched nationally in UK and hence we want the research to be carried throughout the country in all major cities.
Proposal Submission Information
TLMTC expects a research proposal from the research agency in 2 weeks from the date of receiving research brief. The proposal should be submitted electronically to us, in attention to our marketing manager.
Research Proposal for ‘Revive’
By Insights Consulting Limited
Long Mynd Tea Company “TLMTC”, a leading specialty tea company in United Kingdom, is looking to innovate and introduce a unique range of herbal and fruit tea bags under the brand name ‘Revive’. To help them with the exercise, TLMTC has approached the Insights Consulting team to submit a Research Proposal for the study.
We understand that you want to primarily assess consumer perception of the flower shaped tea bags, which is essentially the prime differentiating factor of the new range, as well as evaluate whether the taste of the new range appeal to consumers. ‘ Tea is a very versatile and competitive category in United Kingdom and hence a deep understanding of the category in general and consumer attitude towards the product in particular needs to be presented in the study (Wilson, 2008). The following outlines our approach to the study in terms of research objectives, scope of the analysis, timelines and budget for the same.
To understand the consumer preference and attitude towards the new brand of tea-bags being launched by TLMTC on two parameters namely; consumer appeal for the innovative shape of bags and taste of the product. By means of the study we will provide you with a complete programme of research (data acquisition and analytics) to guide them through the launch of the product. The report will also provide guidelines on any changes that we deem necessary to make the product more appealing to the target consumer group. The report will also provide leads on consumer perception that will help your marketing team to develop the correct strategy/message to be communicated to consumers though advertisement campaigns.
Methodology – Research Design
Insights Consulting proposes to conduct the study to gauge the appeal for the taste and packaging among the target consumers. As the product is meant for the health conscious group, research would be carried out among those aged between 18-55 years representing Young adults (18-29 years), Older adults (30-40 years) and Middle-aged (41-55 years) consumers.
We understand from secondary sources that for the TLMTC’s product segment, which is herbal teas, to become main segment there is a need for continued innovation around flavour in order to improve the taste of the product. As of now, regular tea is consumed by around 22 million of the UK population and more than half (56%) have experimented with herbal tea but its taste did not appeal to them (Mintel, 2011).
To have a better understanding of the complex consumer preferences, we suggest an optimum combination of both qualitative and quantitative tests to meet the objectives of the study. Following are the recommended methods:
Focus Group Discussions
We propose to conduct in total 9 Focus group discussions in the 3 major cities of United Kingdom which will provide us with a good representation of the target market – London, Manchester and Glasgow, 3 in each city such that it covers all age bands. The Focus group discussion would be led by a moderator while a panel of experts would be present to measure the emotional/ subconscious reactions of the participants. The participants would be first shown the new tea bags and the moderator would direct questions around the first reaction of the participants, would they like to buy and use it, do they perceive the product to be healthy to understand if the health platform will work for the product, would they be ready to pay a premium for the unique offering, would they include the offering in their daily diet, what would be the likelihood of repeat purchase and most important of all; their suggestions on the product and its unique packaging.
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Tea is seen as a healthy drink with high antioxidant content which claims to have slimming effects (University of Maryland, 2010). We understand from other studies that women prefer herbal tea as compared to their male counterparts (DailyMail, 2011). The FGDs will try to understand this angle as well and try to find if there is a special need of this consumer segment which can be addressed by the product in its current form or with any variants.
The participants would then be requested to taste the product and the next round of discussions would be directed to that aspect. It would again assess the first reaction, how they would like to consume it, would they be ready to pay a premium for this experience, etc. It is also very important to assess that the health connotation does not intervene with the taste experience of consumers. The taste test will also provide us insights into how different consumers perceive “Revive” as compared to the other brands available in the market. The moderator can also test the possibility of certain flavours and variety (Hot/ Iced) which the participants might seek.
We also propose to use Projective Techniques in the focus groups. We will introduce photos and use techniques such as word association and third person technique. Participants will be asked to look at photos and associate different types of people with the new concept/packaging and taste. This technique would be especially useful since it is a premium product and hence would help in measuring whether it succeeds in appealing to the higher sensibilities of the consumers. This will help us understand the motivations of consumers in consuming the category. It may also help in forming a platform for promotion message building directed at the target market.
We appreciate the general feeling that Projective techniques in themselves may not provide any robust insights and are not considered as method of choice to study consumer motivation, nor do these techniques provide all the tools for such studies. Though they do help a researcher uncover feelings, beliefs, attitudes and motivation which many consumers find difficult to articulate and explain (Donoghue, 2000). In an experience based category like herbal tea, these techniques will be worthwhile to use.
Questionnaire Based Survey
Administered surveys are important to cover a larger sample base and also gain information on aspects which cannot be covered through qualitative measures. It would aim at profiling tea drinkers and non drinkers demographically (Revive being a health based premium offering – income, age and gender profiling gains major importance), assess their eating habits (and mainly tea drinking habits in case of tea drinkers and probability of drinking tea in case of non drinkers) and shopping habits, price they would be willing to pay for the product and the optimum pack size for first trials (which would help you in the launch promotions). It would be also important to analyze whether consumers shift from other beverages to herbal tea given its benefits and increasing health consciousness (The Observer).
The survey questionnaire would be designed based on the above aspects and the inputs we receive in the FGDs. It would include a screener to ensure data collection from a representative sample.
An alternative to Focus Group discussions is Online Focus Group discussion. We can also replace the normal taste test with blind taste test. We can also take help of depth interviews to get in-depth understanding of consumers on a one-to-one basis.
Online focus Group discussions are hard to monitor and they are quite impersonal to gauge customer reaction, which in a way hinders the qualitative assessment associated with focus group discussions. They are also not a good way to reach non-computer literate consumer base and need additional infrastructure (Wright, 2005). We will also miss out on experiential elements which are essential to a product category like tea. Blind taste tests can be a good medium but here we want to establish the taste perceptions of just our brand and get qualitative feedback on taste comparison. Blind taste test also requires additional product samples to be used which will have additional time and cost implications. Hence we recommend doing normal taste test. Depth interviews are a good option but are costly and time consuming exercise.
Given the budget constraint and quick turnaround time of the project we recommend conducting focus group discussion which will allow us to combine the discussion with taste test and use our projective techniques as well. Internet and in-venue surveys would help in accumulating additional information through a larger sample thus optimizing results and providing an all round analysis. This combination will provide us with a robust solution on the research front and also help us overcome the various limitations like time and budget restrictions.
Focus Group Discussions
Target population: Health conscious people (18-55 years) and tea drinkers
Sampling frame: Our database for each city
Sampling method: The sampling would be a combination of
Stratified sampling: since the respondents of Focus Group have to meet the criteria of being tea drinkers
Quota sampling: to cover the entire target age group and both the genders
Sample size: 90
Since females are the primary shoppers in UK (Lake) as well as prominent consumers of herbal tea, their quota is kept higher than males. The quotas would be as follows:
Young Adults, 12-29 years
Older Adults, 30- 40 years
Middle Aged, 41- 55 years
Young Adults, 12-29 years
Older Adults, 30- 40 years
Middle Aged, 41- 55 years
The sample will be sourced equally from North, South and Midlands (33% each) to ensure uniformity and non-biased result due to skewed sample.
The group discussions will be carried out in the following scheme-
Group 1: South young adults 18 – 29, (3 males, 7 females)
Group 2: South older adults 30 – 40, (4 males, 6 females)
Group 3: South middle aged 41 – 55, (3 males, 7 females)
Group 4: North young adults 18 – 29, (3 males, 7 females)
Group 5: North older adults 30 – 40, (4 males, 6 females)
Group 6: North middle-aged 41 – 55, (3 males, 7 females)
Group 7: Midlands young adults 18 – 29, (3 males, 7 females)
Group 8: Midlands older adults 30 – 40, (4 males, 6 females)
Group 9: Midlands middle aged 41 – 55, (3 males, 7 females)
Target population: Health conscious people (18-55 years)
Sampling frame: Our database for each city (for in-venue surveys) and Internet Panel for Online surveys.
Sampling method: Quota sampling, to cover the entire target age group and both the genders
Sample size: A sample of 1200 would be distributed equally between In-venue Surveys (600) and Online surveys (600)
The survey questionnaire would be administered among both tea drinkers (75%) and non drinkers (25%). It would span 1200 respondents (400 from each city – 100 males, 300 females). This will ensure a proper coverage of the target consumer groups and thus provide us with robust results.
Data Collection and Analysis:
Our team will record, transcribe and analyze each of the group discussions and use their results for the final recommendations. The results will be categorized and presented to reflect the views of each demographic group separately and on a combined level to give a holistic view of consumer perception and preference.
The taste tests and projective techniques will also be analyzed and combined with the results of the overall FGDs to come up with a complete solution as required by you. Imbibing the learning from the opinions and ideas that come out in the study, the final report will be a complete guide that will help TLMTC launch Revive successfully in the market. It will provide adequate consumer insights and marketing cues to help your team in strategizing a successful launch.
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The questionnaires would be administered both in person and through internet (50% – 50%).Personal interviews would be conducted at strategic venues; essentially data would be collected from outside retail outlets (hypermarkets/ supermarkets – distributions channels for ‘Revive’) and cafés as they would help in reaching out to our main target market, i.e. shoppers and tea/brewed beverage consumers respectively. Internet interviews would save time and cost, at the same time in-venue surveys would optimize sample representation.
We will submit 4 (four) hard copies and an electronic copy of the report as requested by TLMTC at end of the study. The report will provide in-depth analysis and report the facts and insights that we gather from the exercise. It will also discuss the recommendations we will make and explain the rationale of the same. We will also clearly spell out the limitations (if any) of the study.
As requested we will also do a PowerPoint presentation of the key results at your head offices one week after the final report is approved. We understand that the audience at the presentation will be members from the marketing team who would be more interested in the key takeaways and action points. As such, we will only present the top-line findings and recommendations at the presentation.
We assume that the proposal will be accepted by second week of May 2011 and we will be able to start work from third week of May around 16 May, 2011. The project will take approximately 8 weeks to finish after the proposal is accepted. We plan to finish-off the final presentation by 11 July, 2011 so that your marketing team gets ample time to execute the recommendations for an Autumn launch.
Duration (in number of working days)
Set up focus groups
Focus Group Discussions
FGD Data Analysis
Set up Questionnaire
Survey data Analysis and Report
Submission of Final Report
Review of the report and feedback
The total cost of the project is estimated at £58,500 as follows:
Focus Group Discussions ( 2 hours each)
Project management/ Data processing
We have tried to adjust the cost of the project under the budget limit indicated by TLMTC in the research brief.
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