Palate maps quantify white spaces by uncovering underserved benefits within a product category or service context.
Let’s take a tangible product example -- confection. We start by hypothesizing an expansive list of benefits and product characteristics sought within the confines of what the product category can offer. Everything from the texture of the product, to the package, to the brand attributes can be included in the exercise.
The expansive list of attributes is then incorporated into a quantitative study to be tested with thousands of current and prospective customers. The illustration below is an example of just a few of the dozens of detailed characteristics that would be tested to understand ideal customer demand.
We then cluster all of the ideals into quantitatively defined palates. Each palate has a distinct profile with specific ideal benefits sought. The first client benefit the palates often provide is to restructure a category into a more customer centric way to think about it.
With the new category structure in place, we then quantify white spaces by mapping supply versus demand across the entire category at the individual item level. This gives us areas of oversupply, areas at parity with demand and areas ripe for growth and innovation.
Client benefits: Our clients use palate maps to assess the robustness of their innovation pipelines, test the validity of their portfolio roles and inform individual brand strategies. Because palate maps enable latent demand to simply and quantitatively rise up into awareness within an organization, innovation platforms are able to be more easily activated within the organization and more confidently explained to Retailers. Retailers leverage palate maps for building customer-centric planograms and for pushing manufacturers to focus their innovation pipelines on the most underserved customer needs.