Featured Case Studies


The Problem

Delta Faucet Company wanted to create consumer-need-based innovations for their line of shower products.  The company had paid for ethnographic studies on their other product lines, with great success.  However, ethnographic research for showers was functionally off-limits to Delta and industry competitors.  The closest anyone had ever come to this kind of research was inviting strippers and nudists to shower in a controlled research facility.  We believed there was an opportunity to capture consumers' showering processes in-context, and Delta took the plunge with us.


Our Observation

It quickly became obvious that shower-time was an experience that really couldn't be adequately put into words.  When we'd ask consumers to describe their ideal shower experience, the answer was almost always "more water."  We couldn't just take folks at their word, because after all, what does that really mean?  You can't increase the flow rate too much without creating a painful power wash.  Even if you wanted to, legislations were gradually reducing the amount of water that could be used.  Clearly increasing the volume of water wasn't the solution.


The "Aha" Moment

This is where the ethnography paid off.  After watching dozens of real consumers showering in their homes, we realized that consumers really wanted an "immersive experience."  The stated desire for more water was an unintentional smokescreen that hid what consumers really wanted.  The exact nature of the desired experience varied from person to person, but most people saw the shower as a rare outlet where the body could relax and the mind could wander.


The Result

This learning knocked Delta Faucet off of long-held industry beliefs that the volume of water was the key to consumers' wallets.  The idea of "more immersive" spread quickly throughout the company.  Delta's brilliant engineers developed breakthrough technologies that satisfied this consumer desire, and the marketers launched the products using the same language of their consumers.  Delta has successfully launched product after product, drawing from the unmet needs and consumer insights gleaned from this project.

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