Bob Baron

    Bob Baron is a Vice President at Sensory Spectrum Inc., a 30-year-old consulting firm specializing in connecting sensory and consumer insights to drive business success. Bob works closely with clients to create tailored research solution for their product challenges. He also works very closely with the consultant teams to broaden and promote the companies diverse capabilities.

    Prior to joining Sensory Spectrum he spent 15 years at Mars Chocolate North America, where he led Sensory and Consumer Insights, Product Development, and Innovation teams. Bob and his teams worked across the entire product lifecycle (ideation to commercialization) to launch new products and ensure the quality of market leading confectionary brands. Prior to joining Mars he worked for an ingredient supplier focusing on the use of high intensity sweeteners in foods.  Bob holds a Ph.D. in Food Science and Technology from the University of Tennessee.


    Leveraging Online Listening, Creative Consumer and Sensory Methodologies to Unpack the Concept of Luxury

    How does one build a luxurious or premium experience into an everyday product? What are the elements of product design that generate a sense of luxury? Which of those elements should be built into a product to cue luxury? A combination of online, social media listening, creative consumer tools, and collaboration software can provide answers to those questions. When supplemented with descriptive sensory methods and interpreted with the filter of technical sensory expertise, even richer insights can be uncovered.

    In this research, a series of tools and techniques are used to demonstrate the powerful impact of combining social media listening, creative consumer, collaboration software, and sensory methodologies to unpack the concept of luxury and provide developers with insights on how to integrate key cues to luxury into everyday products.

    • First, themes emerge from a thorough review of online luxury boards. Elements of design are uncovered with special focus on the look, feel, taste/flavor of luxury.
    • Second, a sensory exploration of a category with known ties to luxury is conducted. Qualitative descriptive evaluation and quality ratings of a series of handbag are supplemented with online product reviews and blog posting to decipher key components of the luxury experience in the category.  
    • Third, creative consumers articulate perception of luxury elements in an everyday category: chocolate. Product and package elements are discussed, which indicate luxury. Combined with descriptive product review, specific flavors and texture are identified that signal premium luxury experience in the category.
    • Finally, insight gathered was used to develop rough concepts for new products in the cleaning category.

    This study provides a simple example of how sensory and consumer methodologies can work hand in hand to uncover rich insights in the innovation stage and lead to targeted development efforts. 

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