New Implicit Measurement Methodologies Help Future Proof an Over the Counter Medication Brand’s Strategy

A top tier over-the-counter medication brand was concerned about the long-term sustainability of its growth trajectory. It was facing new competition from medications coming off of prescription and into the already competitive over-the-counter market.

The team recognized that the brand needed to uncover what associations it should build to reinforce its distinctiveness and ensure sustainable growth in the face of external pressure.


The Director of Insights wasn’t satisfied with his current brand measurement. Results were solid, and predictable, but the measured imagery was undifferentiated and not particularly actionable.

The Director searched for better methodologies and knew it was important to measure how people actually think. Hotspex partnered with him to introduce new methodologies that really get at how people think and make decisions by measuring:

~ Implicit non-conscious associations that lead to gut-level reactions, and
~ Explicit conscious beliefs that lead to reasoned thinking

A foundational assessment of the brand and 10+ competitors was conducted using both explicit and implicit measurement to understand both the conscious and non-conscious drivers and barriers within the category.


The Marketing Team now had a deep assessment rationally and emotionally, consciously and non-consciously of their brand and the entire competitive landscape, as well as an understanding of the true drivers of purchase and usage.

Evaluating their brand against those drivers, it was clear that both the brand’s conscious and non-conscious associations revealed that it was not distinguishing itself enough. This is considered a longer-term threat to sustainable growth.

Utilizing the current brand position, drivers of choice, and competitive positions, the work revealed a few potential positioning territories that the brand could inhabit. These territories would be distinct and relevant, while creating interest and motivating behavior for consumers.


Organizational leadership was impressed at the clear, actionable guidance which leveraged behavioral measurement as well as the functional and emotional framework established in the foundational efforts.

The Director of Insights is working with Hotspex to ensure that this foundational research informs all new communications, packaging, and in-store activations. This can guarantee that the team is building and reinforcing winning associations to improve advertising effectiveness.

Building on the foundational work, Hotspex recently completed a pack and shelf audit which identified a SKU needing a complete rebuild, a SKU requiring a refresh, and a SKU that was delivering so well that the recommendation was to not touch it.

Behind The Scenes

The key to successful research is to focus on the impact that it can have for different stakeholder groups. Following the initial results delivery, Hotspex ran a brand building workshop for several team members to enable a successful transition from our initial partner on the research to the new, incoming leader.

Given that we explored both conscious and non-conscious associations through this work, we helped the insights team develop a playbook in terms of what needs to be explicitly communicated about the brand (what to say) and what should be subtly communicated through the brand visuals and sound cues (what to convey).

We're Always Happy To Hear From You...

Send us a message and let us show you why clients have voted us #1.