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HCD’s MaxImplicit™: Understanding Consumer Need-Gaps

This past week I had the opportunity to guest lecture for Dr. Boryana Dimitrova’s New Product Development course at the Lebow Business School of Drexel University. It’s always a fun experience for me to guest lecture. First of all, our field of applied consumer neuroscience (aka “neuromarketing) is relatively new. Not many students are familiar with the idea, so when they hear about neuromarketing, it’s always very exciting to see their reactions. For the few that have heard of this field of study, it’s always good to set the record straight on the difference between the pseudoscience, neuromarketing, neuro-hype and doing real thoughtful applied consumer neuroscience to provide real answers for real questions. (see blog post


We typically like to approach the questions of innovation opportunities for our clients in two different ways:

  1. Top-down approach: this is focused on the consumer’s needs/routines/behaviors. Better understanding the consumer’s experience with your product can help to identify the need gaps and innovation opportunities by creating consumer technical models, a consumer-centric approach. This approach is typically larger scale research and involves three phases (exploration – exploring the consumers needs/behaviors; prioritization – uncover what needs and behaviors are most important and missing for the product; validation – creating proof of principle).

  2. Bottom-up approach: this is focused on the product’s performance. By understanding how the different elements of the product affect the consumer we can help clients improve products. This can involve an exploration of the sensory elements (fragrance, colors, sounds, etc.) or the functional elements of the product (product ease of use, etc.).


The precise approach to using MaxImplicit, whether top-down or bottom-up, is two-fold: prioritization measures (traditional market research) and implicit measures (psychological). But the approach is also customizable, as different techniques may be used to accomplish these goals for different situations (type of product, types of attributes, type of consumer, etc.). As with all of the methodologies used at HCD, we like to remain methodologically agnostic so that we can adapt to any type of research situation while ensuring that we are using the right tool to answer our client’s questions completely and accurately.


By being able to capture what is most important to the consumer AND how they really see the product or brand, we can then identify need gaps and innovation opportunities.

If you’d like more information, please feel free to contact us!


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