POSTED BY: Elizabeth Sutherland | July 29, 2021
We were inquired by our client to find out if a common cleaning product invented hundreds of years ago (which you’ve probably used and didn’t think much about) could be improved. We are talking about brooms and how consumers use them to clean their homes. The good thing about a product so tried and tested is that it doesn’t require much modification, but we argue there is always room for improvement.
INDUSTRY: Consumer & Retail
SERVICES PROVIDED: Moderated Online Discussion Board, Jobs to Be Done Theory Analysis, Observational Research, Key Drivers of Attraction, Dashboards
Can you fix something that isn’t broken? How do you successfully change a product that has been used by millions (probably billions?) of people for hundreds of years? Yes, a broom is a simple product, but we needed to find any faults of the broom or issues while sweeping. Sometimes with a seemingly perfect product, you need to watch and learn how consumers are working around a problem that they don’t even realize is a problem, it’s just habit at this point. Here’s where our observational research came in handy. We also needed to dig into why a broom is chosen; what exactly is the broom’s purpose or job for consumers? We didn’t want to remake the broom, only improve.
Qualitative research in the form of a 5-day discussion board where participants were asked to answer questions, take polls, and provide videos of their cleaning habits. The online platform was conducive for us to track participants’ daily broom usage.
Through our series of questions, participants shared their broom preferences, sweeping frequency, attractive broom attributes, situations where brooms are chosen over other cleaning tools, and broom improvements they would suggest.
You may think that a broom is yesterday’s technology, but there is still so much value in the broom. It may be a simple cleaning tool, but consumers see it as a mighty and reliable cleaning method for specific messes and areas. Additionally, we found that “neat freaks” are very particular about the brooms they use, having great preference to certain materials and types of brooms. We were able to present our client with small but effective ways to tweak the broom.
We also watched hours of footage from our study participants. Our participants were asked to show us any time they sweep with a broom, which for our participants, was multiple times a day. In these videos, there were unnoticed, but observed behaviors that they exhibited while sweeping. These observations were crucial to finding any issues that need to be solved, since most participants didn’t even realize their “workarounds”.
The voice of the consumer paired with observing their sweeping habits came together so we could truly understand what a broom is “hired” to do (in Jobs to Be Done theory speak). When we put this theory into action, we uncovered the scenarios and intended accomplishments of using a broom, which helps our client create better brooms.