Doing more with your core: 3 ways to add real value

According to Gartner’s 2023 CMO Spend and Strategy Survey, 75% of senior marketers are being asked to do more with less. If this rings true for you, I’m sure you agree it doesn’t get any less frustrating the more you hear it!

‘Doing more with your core’ may sound dull compared to its cooler and more edgy cousin, breakthrough innovation, which we’ve talked about previously, but I promise you can be just as rewarding. You can be creative with commercial innovation, update packaging, visuals, claims, positioning, or the sensorials and emotives that affect how the product tastes, smells and feels.

These changes can have a huge impact on how consumers access, perceive and experience your product and brand. But before diving in and brainstorming the changes you could make, you need to make the right strategic decisions about what will add most value for your consumer and business.

Here are three areas to address to ensure that innovation within your core product portfolio adds real value.

1. Optimise the consumer experience

Perceived value hinges on consumer experience of your products and determines how likely customers are to stay loyal to your brand. If you are losing customers through a high churn rate or find that competitors are stealing share through a superior UX, it may be prudent to focus your attention on optimising the product experience.

The best place to start is with ethnography – observing how consumers interact with your products and interrogating them based on your observations. This will identify tensions which are (consciously or unconsciously) holding back satisfaction, as well as shining a light on unmet needs which, if met, could further delight consumers. There may be quick wins by addressing the tensions and needs through changes in the packaging or design, or by enhancing the sensorial experience with new tastes, smells, textures etc.

Pampers demonstrated textbook experience optimisation when they identified nappies were leaking as a result of improper application due to babies wriggling during changing. They added a simple graphic to the inside of the product to help parents align the nappy correctly which helped to improve the changing experience and performance of the product – all without radical design changes. This helped propel Pampers to being the global leader of the category.

2. Sharpen how you communicate your benefits

There’s no point having a great product experience or category-leading benefits if consumers aren’t aware of them or don’t understand them. To achieve uptake, your benefits must be visible, appealing, relevant and distinct vs competitors.

Boosting visibility and appeal of your benefits can be achieved through impactful visuals and demos. A notable example is the Dulux visualiser app which uses augmented reality to show consumers how different coloured paints would look in their home. The app has over a million downloads and 4.4 stars on the apple app store.

Relevance can be enhanced by diagnosing specific desired outcomes among your target audience and then communicating your benefits in those terms.

Scholl has demonstrated this with their category-leading fungal-nail treatment. Undeterred by the potentially off-putting subject matter, they identified that the key outcome was fast visible improvement – they made “Visible results in 2 weeks” bold on the front of the pack. However, in the years following this, that claim became normalised as competitors started using similar language. With one eye on maintaining a distinctive position in the category landscape, they pivoted to focus on bringing the science of their product to life: “Faster Penetration, Lasting Results.”

3. Pivot to new consumers and occasions

Commercial innovation can also result in extending reach to new consumers or occasions. This can be especially lucrative when there are multiple brands competing to deliver the same benefits to the same consumers, or if consumer attitudes have shifted to create a new and overlooked demand space.

Segmentation of the addressable audience can identify opportunities with new target consumers and occasions by providing a landscape of all the needs and category-entry-points and highlighting which are most underserved.

One of the great success stories in this area is from the P&G personal care brand Old Spice. The brand was traditionally aimed at an older demographic until a shift in strategic focus drove targeted marketing towards younger consumers without transforming their products. As they learnt more about their new target market, they also discovered that it was, in fact, primarily women who were buying the products for men which led to the brilliant hello ladies” ad campaign.

Hopefully this provides some food for thought on how commercial innovation can unlock more potential from your existing products. We can help not only identify the best approach to ‘doing more with your core’, but also understand the constraints (capabilities, costs, and regulations) to establish the boundaries of possibility and develop pragmatic solutions.

Please get in touch if you need help identifying commercial innovation that will maximise impact for your business and customers.


Joe Lockey

Senior Analyst

Joe joined us after completing rotations across our consumer, services and health sectors, whilst gaining exposure to both qualitative and quantitative research techniques.


Alice Hedlund


Alice has experience in customer-centric growth, brand strategy and innovation at global scale. She specialises in brand transformation journeys, bridging the gap between business and brand strategy to create holistic and actionable plans for impactful growth.

Helen Donald


Job Title

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Tom Carvell


Tom has a science background with a PhD in Materials Chemistry. He has spent most of his career working on in-house front-end innovation where he delivered mid/long term strategic projects for brands such as Durex, Scholl, Veet and KY. He is focussed on delivering pragmatic but provocative innovation strategy for CPG categories.

Manick Pratheeban

Senior Principal

Manick is a brand strategy and consumer insight specialist with 15+ years’ experience helping to grow some of the world’s biggest brands. He has a proven track record of translating trends, consumer, and market data into actionable insights to formulate growth strategies.

Kate Jones

Senior Principal

Kate has over a decade of experience in creating transformative strategies for customer-focused businesses. With a background in consumer insight and behaviour change across consumer health, packaged goods, leisure, banking and other sectors she focuses on elevating the customer experience to create human-centric innovations and foster impactful growth.

Jacob Gascoine-Becker


Jacob specialises in leveraging consumer research to inform investment strategy and business case development. A management consultant since 2014, he previously spent eight years working in ecommerce and digital marketing.

Ines Achabal

Senior Analyst

Ines is inately curious and creative. She is known for her expansive thinking when exploring client challenges and elevating the visual quality of outputs to maximise their impact.

Helene Mills


Helene has 20+ years’ experience advising business leaders and investors on growth strategy based upon consumer and market intelligence. Her particular specialism lies in leisure, retail, food and beverage sectors.

Helen Donald

Helen Donald


Helen has consulted businesses at different stages of growth across a variety of sectors, specialising in consumer packaged goods and consumer healthcare. She is an adept strategist, bringing clarity to the most complex of situations and connecting dots to create rich, future-proofed platforms for innovation, brand positioning and growth.

Allan Chen STRAT7 Advisory

Allan Chen

Senior Principal

Allan’s core skillset provides an analytical and commercial lens to address client challenges. He started his career as an actuary, and since then has held a broad range of strategic roles, improving performance across the private and public sector.


Björn Dufwenberg

Managing Director​

Björn has 15+ years’ experience in insight-driven transformation, across management consulting, as well as brand and innovation agency roles. Most recently he headed up the Customer-Led Transformation practice at PwC Sweden, until joining STRAT7 in 2021. He’s worked on global projects covering consumer goods, durables, spirits and beverages, retail, banking, and private equity.

Kamilla Dala

Senior Principal

Kamilla has 10+ years’ experience leading and implementing insight-driven transformation within global matrix organisations in durable and consumable goods. Areas of expertise cover segmentation, uncovering and translating actionable consumer insights within innovation, product development, brand positioning, strategy and marketing.