Not a single day should go past, not a single hour should tick away without you thinking about your consumer. It doesn’t matter where you are in your quest to launch a new product to the market, which department you are in or which organization. Putting yourself in the shoes of the person who will use your product is the only way to be successful.

There are two things that I have discovered over the many years and many projects I’ve worked on; firstly, that even though I might be a consumer myself of the product I’m developing… I don’t have all the insights! There will be many different perspectives and insights I didn’t know about. Almost by default, when you are developing a product you become an expert in that product – you know more than you perhaps even want to about preservative systems and recyclability of the packaging! That skews your judgement and you don’t think like the average consumer any more – you can’t!

Secondly, and this is a hard one to wrap your head around, but people don’t know their own insights. Sometimes I find myself in the same situation, I might be chopping a vegetable in a certain way, and think – why do I do it like this? And honestly, in some cases I never even thought about it before and in other cases I have no clue!

So, it takes thought from the team working on the project, to hunt out those insights that are going to make your product and your launch differentiated. You want your product to stand out amongst the others – and that is true whether you are working on a new wet wipe or a medical device. There are many tools available to help find those insights, but it is important to not necessarily go with the first ideas, but keep digging to make sure they are real insights that will be meaningful for your launches!

That is what makes our jobs so incredibly cool – there are always new insights to be found, that nugget, that kernel, the thread that you start to pull on! With those insights, we as technology scouts can then find both existing technologies and new technologies to meet those needs. We spend a lot of time looking at different categories, because in many cases we can find technologies that are developed for other areas but can be used in our projects. The food industry is a good example, and in fact we find both new insights and new technologies, that will translate over to personal care products… even a new face mask! Aloe Vera is of course the obvious example – even as an ancient ingredient, that has been used across the centuries, it enjoyed a revival and became the ‘hot’ thing in everything from shampoos, deodorants to pantyliners and wet wipes.

So, as you think about your project, your new launch – spend a LOT of time thinking about consumer insights. If you don’t have them, then you need to go find them – and there are a huge number of ways of doing that. We always start with looking at the competitors, then adjacent categories for inspiration – but in most projects we need to develop a tailored approach. That might be using traditional techniques, like focus groups and HUTs (Home Use Tests) or with a simple questionnaire targeted to the folks we want to ultimately buy our product.

One word of caution! As R&D geeks, we can get very geeked out about new technologies – (and why wouldn’t we??) BUT we know, deep down, that we can not force fit a technology onto a consumer. No matter how much money we spend on it, how much time, all that shiny new equipment… none of it matters if it doesn’t fit a need.

Our approach is to have a whole draw full of technologies that we scout and keep track of, but it is only when the right project comes along – the right brand fit, the right positioning, the right insight – that we then present it as an option. Let’s face it, we have the best jobs in the world – developing and launching new products – and we get to make a difference, to people who use our products every single day. At Crown Abbey, we pride ourselves in technology scouting and then helping you bring your product to market, by working with the right vendors, manufacturers and testing labs.

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Crown Abbey. Imagination. Innovation. Implementation.