Case Study: How Small Brands like Kernel Season’s Level the Playing Field

Small Fish Big Bowl

When it comes to exploring big and small brand dynamics, the major differences between the two environments can affect research strategies. In our experience, it’s common among our clients to have worked in both types of environments at different points in their careers. In order to conduct successful research in both business settings, it’s important to employ a versatile research methodology such as agile research to understand just what makes big and small brands different.

To illustrate our point, let’s take a look at three common differences between big brands and small brands as they relate to research:


Level of Certainty

  • Big brands tend to have validation resources, inciting a confidence level of about 70% or higher.
  • Less resources means small brands’ level of certainty usually falls well below 70%.
  • Due to budget constraints, small brands frequently rely on more affordable resources to eliminate just enough risk to move forward with a strong concept or product.

Decision Making

  • Big brands tend to have more resources and individual teams focusing on the different aspects of research like consumer insights, innovation, research and development, etc.
  • Being able to split research responsibilities and use a combined approach that employs past experiences and expertise usually allows for more predictable outcomes.
  • Small brands tend to live in a very different environment, where business leaders are required to exhaust their internal resources to help make educated decisions with ideas and products.

Risk Tolerance

  • Risk may be the most significant difference between small and big brand environments; big brands tend to have the research tools, methodologies, and access to validation methods, taking the majority of the risk out of the process.
  • However, removing the element of risk can also remove that element of extremely unexpected success of a new product from the equation; as every small brand that has made it to a big brand status knows, high risk can lead to high rewards.
  • High risk can also allow for undiluted innovation; swing for the fences or strike out.

Regardless of the time frame or the size of companies, brands need quality research results fast, while still being able to stay within their budgets. And, even though big brand and small brand environments are different, one thing remains the same: agile market research can help both big and small brands execute quality research based on specific research needs. For the CEO of Kernel Season’s, those needs were centered on finding ways to differentiate products within a small-brand category, where brand awareness is typically lower.

To see how agile research helped Kernel Season’s incorporate their target consumer’s voice into the product development process through two phases of quantitative research while staying within a lean budget, visit our quick case study for the whole story including

  • Audience parameters
  • Key metrics tested
  • Concept performance results

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