Our client, had heard rumours that a competitor would alter one of their drink products available in the UK and that test marketing was being carried out overseas. We were asked to investigate and report.
We correctly anticipated the competitor’s actions thereby allowing our client to proactively respond rather than reactively try to counter the moves.
How we obtained the information
We were able to confirm that the competitor was test marketing the new formula and was using the new name in another country. Although we had circumstantial evidence on the strategy, we could not confirm that this was the strategy to be implemented, from the information we found. This isn’t unusual – strategic plans are viewed as highly confidential and so cannot be obtained ethically. Instead in-depth analysis can give the required insights.
In this case, we used a game-theory approach, to model the risk factors for:
- Change of name and formulation
- Name change only
- Formulation change only
We predicted a formulation change only, with a name change to follow after the new taste had been accepted. This is exactly what happened.
(Note: It may have been possible to confirm the UK strategy using illegal or unethical approaches but we would not take this approach – and further would warn clients against even considering such approaches to gathering information).