Better Workshops for Winning Claims

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Our past blog posts have highlighted how brainstorming compelling new claims can step-change the appeal of an existing product or guide future R&D development work. Having run a number of claims workshops in the past 3 months, here is a reminder of five things that can make a difference if you are planning a claimstorming workshop with your own team. 

First off, we define a winning claim as "one memorable promise you can make about a brand or a product's benefit, that grabs your target consumer's attention and encourages them to buy". Winning claims can be rational or emotional (or both), be simple and easy to understand, be different and motivating, plus inspired by language of relevant insights. 

Enjoy the read and take a look at a recent video on how we run innovation and claimstorming workshops.

1. Stay Focused on Key Benefit Areas

The clue is in the definition.....a winning claims is a compelling promise about your brand's or products benefit.  Sounds simple, but before you dive into claim generation, make sure you are clear about the key benefits you are focusing on. In most cases, the benefits for focus are determined by five factors: a) the key technical benefit of your product, or any future pipeline benefits that your product can support; b) your brand equity benefit / what your brand stands for; c) benefits and claims where your competitors are focused; d) the main needs (and unmet needs) of your existing customer base, together with any new and relevant market trends; e) and any potential gaps in the market that are being overlooked by your competition. Read more about how to define your innovation focus

2. Use STAR Insights to Inspire New Directions

When running a workshop, try to avoid lots of presentation and "death by powerpoint".  We recommend that you split your workshop into smaller teams of 2 or 3, and give each team some different "STAR insights" for them to use to inspire potential new claims.  The STAR insights should be identified and selected BEFORE the workshop.  For most projects that we run, we typically spend 2-3 weeks before the workshop in search of insights that are linked to the agreed benefits and could hopefully inspire new thinking.  This might include revisiting “old research data” with a fresh pair of eyes, or conducting “social media listening” to capture additional insights from online blogs, community forums or competitive product reviews. In addition to "looking out", take time to understand deeper technical insights about your own products including how they are made, ingredients used, and any technical testing results.  To find out more, watch this video on how to quickly identify deeper insights to drive claim generation.

3. Use Different Creative Thinking Techniques

With a clear benefit focus and deeper insights, you should be ready to brainstorm some pretty good claims.  However, as people become tired, get ready to include a few creative thinking games to encourage fresh thinking.  For example, in a workshop we ran last week, we included three simple exercises for new ideas and fresh thinking. The first is one of our favourites, to encourage people to think in the shoes of other famous people. Second, we threw in a range of random words, asking teams to develop new claims based on three specific words.  And third, we used a range of random images that encouraged more emotional thinking. In addition, we have also run a couple of recent workshops where we used creative-thinking consumers to provide fast feedback on how early claims could be enhanced. If you haven't done so already, check out how we run ideation workshops and how all early claims are captured using our Zip-Zap Ideas® platform.

4. Be Inspired By Claims From Others

In addition to using deeper insights and creative thinking tasks, look to be inspired by claims used by other brands and companies, and not just by your direct competitors.  Take a look at our December 23 blog post with five more examples of winning claims. Consider for a variety in the styles of claims, including claims that are more emotional or more rational in their language; claims that promote being first or better than their competitors; how some brands make one principal promise that is supported by "sub-claims"; how technical and clinical data is used; and for regulatory reasons, how companies often make inferred claims using key visuals or broader imagery.  However, in our experience, some of the most compelling claims manage to combine a promise that is both emotional and rational, and where the promise is strongly linked to the equity of the brand. Build up your bank of relevant claims, and use these to inspire your team.

5. Refine Leading Claims and Get Fast Feedback  

Finally, on most projects that we run, we normally use Zip-Zap Ideas® to not only capture early workshop claims, but to refine and screen 20-45 "leading claims" with target consumers and key stakeholders in priority markets.  Copy writers should be used after the workshop to ensure that all leading claims are written in a consistent style with a similar length, language and with a clear claim that “hits the reader early”. Check out our thoughts from a previous blog post on how to write more compelling claims. And when screening claims, look to include one or two “known benchmarks” (claims that have tested well in previous studies or that are already doing well in the market).  When assessing the results, on most projects, we are looking for 6 to 8 "winning claims" that are “significantly more appealing” against all ideas tested and against the known benchmark.  These winning claims can then be used to guide the development of new marketing campaigns plus deeper product development work.  

Get in touch if you have any questions or comments - we'd love to hear from you.