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Did They Research That? TurboTax Edition


When companies and brands run into trouble, particularly trouble of their own making, we often ask ourselves: Did they research that? As researchers, we always wonder why a company wouldn’t explore and substantiate decisions that could have any direct consumer impact.

We also wonder, if they did do research, how could their research partner have blown it so bad?

One such case hit our inboxes recently. TurboTax, a subsidiary of Intuit and by far the number one DIY tax software, made a series of changes to its product offerings. Clearly trying to generate up sell, they no longer provided certain forms in their most popular packages. Meaning customers had to pay more to download necessary forms, in addition to the cost of using the service. It did not go over well.

They offered a lackluster explanation and a few remedies. How did these go over? Well here are couple of selections from the recent email they sent to customers:

“We recently tried to explain the changes made to our TurboTax desktop software and apologized for the impact it had on you. Many responded and let us know our apology and rationale were not acceptable.”

“I understand our actions have caused anger and frustration, and our response has been far too slow.”

Ouch. Did they research this change?

If not – imagine the value impactful research and strategic insight could have provided them. Trust is a brand’s most valuable commodity and it should always be treated as such.

If they did research it, well…they didn’t do it with The Pert Group!

For more information please contact us or visit


Pods, Packaging and Concentration: Innovation and Regulations Facing the Cleaning Industry


In 2012, Laundry detergent “pods” were one of the biggest innovations released into the cleaning products market. This simple, one-stop solution to laundry has led to the creation of a market worth almost $800 million and represents 11% of total laundry detergent sales in 2014. This category led by Proctor and Gamble’s Tide PODS, is defining a new market, but is also leading to sweeping regulations and changes within the industry.

Cleaning Candy

The bright purple and orange color of the Tide PODS makes it look like an edible candy or a child’s teething toy. The Journal of Pediatrics uncovered over 17,000 incidents caused by the ingestion of laundry detergent capsules between 2012 and 2013. While only 4.4% of those cases required hospitalization, this is a staggering figure that has been addressed by the American Cleaning Institute’s (ACI) KEY Pledge :

Keep single-load liquid laundry packets out of the reach of children
Educate your family and friends about the safe use and storage of these new laundry products
You serve a key role in laundry safety

A survey conducted by the ACI found that while 70% of parents keep household cleaners and dishwashing detergent secured safely away from children, only 34% of parents keep laundry detergent secured safely away.

The ACI is making monumental movement with the KEY Pledge, but legislation is moving forward to regulate these products. European regulators will soon enforce legislation regarding labeling, child-proof packaging and formulation changes to prevent poisoning.
Companies must keep these legislation changes in mind and quickly adapt their products.

Concentrated Packaging Focused on the Environment

The water soluble single-serve laundry detergent packets themselves are environmentally friendly and pre-measured so consumers use less per load. This has led to a competitor push to use less plastic and an industry-wide movement to change packaging designs.

A common practice for companies offering single-serve packets is to offer foil refill packets. While most consumers buy the refill packets to replenish their large plastic containers, the foil refill packets themselves are not environmentally recyclable.

Competitors that do not offer single-serve options have focused on decreasing the amount of plastic packaging, changes that have been rewarded by a push from big-box stores to increase the amount of space on store shelves.

The industry as a whole is making huge strides towards sustainability and innovation, but further consumer research is needed to stay ahead of regulations.

The Pert Group is a global innovation expert and has helped brands grow through consumer insights. For more information please contact us or visit


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