This case set draws on a summer internship in brand management to outline potential steps in bringing a new food product to life. While there are general guidelines to the new product (brand, grocery aisle, and target market), the rest of the product development is up to the team of marketers and research and developers. The assignment is split into three parts to give students the opportunity to suggest next steps, and then learn what the team actually did in terms of market research and overall timeline.
Part A sets up the task at hand for the proceeding parts and includes the background information. This part defines the new product as a snack geared toward Generation Z, specifically teenagers, that must be branded by a cereal brand. Provided with general insights about the target population in the exhibits, the student must determine what they should do first to understand Gen Z's snacking habits and make strides toward product development.
Part B begins by explaining the actual next steps that were taken—in-home focus groups with teens and their parents—as well as why this was the chosen tactic. After explaining the market research tactics, the case skips to the insights the team developed, including a job map and four functional attributes. This part ends with the question of what to do as a next step since insights have been developed, but nothing physical has yet to be created.
Part C starts with additional qualitative testing to refine concepts and begin the prototyping phase. This part wraps up the entirety of the case with choosing finalists through focus group interviews. As the summer internship comes to an end, the case does as well with an outline of future steps for the team to complete prior to launching the new product (such as surveys, mock shelf simulations, test markets, and the possibility of additional research to define packaging).
This case set is a great example of one of the many projects that MBA students might face during their summer internships or full-time jobs, as well as an overall learning in decision-making without perfect information to keep an idea afloat. This case is ideal for in introduction to marketing research.