TBP’s 20th anniversary: the design research diaries 1993-2013 (Entry 8)


Today’s insight is number eight, and this post is all about trusting your gut

It’s now 11 days until our 20th anniversary, and in the countdown we’ve opened up our vaults to share our insights and musings on design and design research. Here’s number eight – it’s an interesting story about carpet cleaner. No really.

Entry 8 of 15: Trust your gut


Back in the early days of the company, we were doing a project for 1001 carpet cleaner (bear with us). For years they’d had a deep blue pack, with a bit of bold yellow on it. And they were doing very well.

And then Vanish came along with a bright pink pack and all of a sudden, 1001 was… well, vanishing.

It would be foolhardy to throw the baby out with the bathwater by abandoning the blue colour that 1001 was known for. But it was clear it was no longer working. A conundrum.

The answer became clear the moment users drew their pack. “Blue and yellow. Or yellow and blue. Not sure which. But those two colours.”

So could we flip the colours? Make it yellow with blue, not blue with yellow? We tested a design that did that and… it didn’t work.

But – we recommended it anyway. Call it experience, call it intuition – we knew that strategically, that was the right move. Consumers might tell you the pack which best delivers on what they want from the brand, but the strategic context is more important.

It launched, and started fighting Vanish on level terms.

By Stuart Chapman