Joined up thinking to improve the consumer experience

By Kevin Robinson | Published: 2-Jun-2023

Dr Kevin Robinson caught with Lubrizol’s Isabel Gómez on the show floor in Geneva to discuss the company’s new insights-driven marketing strategy

At the recent Vitafoods Europe trade show, Lubrizol Life Science Health (LLS Health) unveiled its new holistic approach to boosting wellness: “Connecting the dots: helping our customers adapt to the consumer's mind.”

The strategy, notes Isabel Gómez, Global Marketing Manager for LLS Health’s nutraceutical business, focuses on discovering consumers’ unmet needs from a left lobe/science-based and right lobe/sensory based perspective to provide the fullest value of nutraceuticals.

The left side of the brain focuses on science and clinical evidence whereas the right side focuses on sensory experience, she explains. “By gaining a deeper insight into these mechanisms, Lubrizol addresses product solutions that provide a stronger value proposition with science-backed, microencapsulated ingredients that tackle different categories of well-being as well as around-the-clock needs.”

Joined up thinking to improve the consumer experience

This more consumer-led approach, which Isabel describes as “synchronising supplement makers with customer behaviour,” reflects the company’s increased end-user focus and highlights the strengths of its current portfolio of insight-based solutions that have been developed to deliver strong, market-driven product benefits.

Developing the data
Prior to Vitafoods, LLS Health partnered with 113 industries, an artificial intelligence (AI)-driven research company that specialises in developing consumer behaviour models using machine learning and AI to gather and analyse consumer-generated content.

The objective was to gain deeper insights into the purchasing behaviours of dietary supplement users based on conversations and activities on social media platforms. It helped to specify unmet needs and evolving preferences, as well as perceptions and concerns regarding ingredients and nutraceuticals. 

“LLS Health has invested heavily in research to help its customers stay aligned with consumer demands and differentiate their products in a crowded marketplace,” asserts Isabel: “The findings show that, to appeal to consumers, manufacturers need to satisfy both the logical and the emotional sides of consumer consciousness.”

The research characterised several types of supplement consumers, the most prevalent being the health-hooked person who was eager to explore new products to maintain overall well-being. This was followed by the informed seeker of solutions to personal problems (such as sleep, mental health, skincare and gut health.

Other types included irregular users, mechanical users, sceptics who believe in “food first and supplements only when necessary” and the fertility/pregnancy minded consumer.

“The so-called health-hooked, pregnancy minded and solution-seekers were the end users that we found were driving the innovation and growth of this market,” notes Isabel. Figure 1 highlights the top ingredients and health concerns that these demographics are looking for.

Joined up thinking to improve the consumer experience

Figure 1: Products are purchased to serve a variety of purposes or address specific issues

“When seeking health products,” she adds: “Today’s consumers not only demand science-backed, clinically substantiated ingredients with proven benefits, but also those that offer sensory appeal to satisfy their intangible emotional needs.” For example

  • consumers are taking a more proactive approach to cognitive health conditions such as anxiety or depression and are looking for alternatives to Westernised medicines 
  • in a post-pandemic environment, there is still a heightened level of concern about immune health
  • several online posts suggested that improved sleep (quality, insomnia) is at the root of a more balanced and healthier lifestyle
  • the pregnancy minded consumer is looking for products that don’t have a “bad” metallic taste or undesirable side-effects; they also want them to be efficacious and be bioavailable
  • a high proportion of consumers want supplements that help aid skin health.

Lubrizol’s goal is to satisfy both the logical/fact-driven and the emotional/sensory driven sides of the consumer mind.

By investing in new market research and focusing on trending health benefit platforms, Lubrizol brings its customers actionable insights coupled with unique, science-backed branded ingredients while collaborating on supplement innovation.

“We’re focusing on understanding what consumers really want … and that’s to feel connected and involved in their own well-being. As the survey results show, this became particularly critical during the recent pandemic when the full mindful approach took hold and continues today,” adds Isabel.

“Of course, consumer feelings are notoriously hard to quantify. For example, when choosing functional gummies, they make a multifactorial assessment that includes a belief that they will improve their well-being, are being proactive, managing an active lifestyle and are working to improve both body and mind.”

To ensure these impulses are housed in an overall “good feeling,” LLS Health has adopted two key policies regarding their delivery formats

  • better-for-you products based on ingredient claims also must offer sensory appeal and convenience
  • gummies, chewables, sticks or liquid formats are preferred dosage forms because they are portable, easy to consume and offer a pleasant mouthfeel.

Isabel points out that consumers no longer exclusively seek specific ingredients as much as they look for solutions to the unique problems they’re facing. They also place more emphasis on the beneficial ingredients of supplements and less on the brand or retailer.

Joined up thinking to improve the consumer experience

The new Lubrizol paradigm delves into how consumers approach today’s complex nutritional challenges. Other purchasing drivers include the fact that

  • consumers prioritise recognisable ingredients such as vitamins, minerals and/or herbal supplements
  • the modern consumer is increasingly sceptical and wants scientific proof, maximum authenticity and reassurance about product claims
  • to charge a premium price, efficacy must tally with value for money
  • clean, natural products can be considered to be premium because they’re less likely to cause side-effects.

Lubrizol accelerates innovative holistic solutions that address the full spectrum of consumer needs. “Our approach is paired with an extensive product line that puts consumer needs first, helping manufacturers to align with end-user insights and goals,” notes Isabel.

She appreciates, though, that the post-purchase experience can be just as significant regarding repeat purchases and buyer loyalty. Side-effects and negative outcomes result in compensating behaviours and impact people’s willingness to continue to use or advocate a product.

In addition, the level of advocacy varies by consumer type and is very dependent on what happens during and after the initial use and investment.

Case study: the pregnancy minded woman
As mentioned, one of the target groups in 113 industries’ behaviour research was “pregnancy minded” women; those who are ready to conceive or already pregnant. Analysing the conversations of this target group showed that they want to ensure conception, comfort during pregnancy and safety for their baby.

The top product mentioned was iron and the second was vitamin D. Their primary three concerns were experiencing side-effects such as stomach upset, nausea or constipation, the need to ensure nutrient absorption and enabling easy incorporation into a daily routine.

“Our strategy is to address pregnancy minded women’s top priorities,” explains Isabel. “LIPOFER gummies, for example, readily demonstrate how the left side of the consumer’s mind — the science side, so to speak — combines with the right side, which is focused more on senses and emotions." 

"The consumer understands the science, which explains the health benefits of, in this case, iron. They want to protect their babies and purchase a trusted brand with no side-effects. The format and presentation of the product, by contrast, satisfies those non-science-based criteria that must also be met." 

"Finally, post-purchasing experiences influence consumer loyalty, which is a factor that’s especially critical when it comes to iron supplements.”

At Vitafoods Europe, Lubrizol introduced LIPOFER in a new, highly concentrated iron-fortified gummy format. The flavourful, pectin-based treat illustrates how the company can connect the dots in terms of consumer experience by providing both indulgence and iron benefits in a single product.

You may also like