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How Ricola Accelerated Concept Development for Successful Product Launch

[Insights That Work - Case Study] BuzzBack utilized engaging and interactive techniques via a concept exploratory study and in-home use test to ensure Ricola's new product’s success in market.


Ricola has traditionally been known for its all-natural cough suppressants, made with Swiss herbs. You probably can hear the Swiss alp horns and chant Riiiiccccooollla when you think of the brand. Dual Action created an opportunity for a new cough drop – one that relieves both cough and sore throat. With just weeks until launch, Ricola needed to quickly discern reactions to this new liquid-center product, especially how to talk about it in a way relevant to consumers. Using BuzzBack’s engaging and interactive techniques, the team explored a new concept via both a concept exploratory study, followed by an in-home use test. This two-part approach helped insure the new product’s success in market.


Phase 1 – Concept Optimization

BuzzBack’s unique approach combined traditional key metrics with interactive concept optimization techniques. The Ricola team had limited time, so the research needed to yield quantitative reactions and necessary diagnostics and in-depth learning to optimize the idea – both in a single step.

Key measures provided the foundation the team needed to assess concept success, but importantly projective and enabling techniques, such as Thought Bubble and Concept Focus revealed language critical to market positioning and communications. In particular, these techniques helped identify and articulate the consumer need – what a cough/cold sufferer desired in a cough drop in terms of features and benefits. Using a visual scenario to elicit language, consumers described specific symptom relief, along with pleasant taste, identifying ways the Ricola team could position the product. Concept Focus uncovered specific elements that resonated, including both visual and verbal cues and why.

Phase 2 – In-Home Use Test

Because the Dual Action product departed from Ricola’s heritage herb positioning with a new formulation – menthol liquid filling – the team followed concept evaluation with an in-home use study. This step was designed to confirm concept accepters (and in fact cold sufferers) had a product experience that aligned with their reactions to the idea. They used Dual Action to treat their cold/sore throat for 2-3 days, providing feedback on taste, flavor and importantly, efficacy.


The Dual Action concept proved to be a solid performer, and product trial further reinforced flavor appeal and efficacy – 2 factors critical to market launch. In just 30 days, BuzzBack helped the team get the idea right, with clarity on how to articulate it. BuzzBack’s interactive projective techniques elicited language and copy later used in market introduction.

The result for Ricola was an accelerated time to market leading to one of the company’s most successful product launches. Since the introduction of Dual Action Cherry Menthol, Ricola’s also added Dual Action Honey Lemon and other new products and formulas with added benefits to its line. BuzzBack continues to help the team further innovate its Riiiiicccccoooola brand.

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Carol Fitzgerald

Carol Fitzgerald

President & CEO, BuzzBack