Market ResearchEthnographic Market ResearchInsightsLiving Well

"OMG, Don’t You Just Love This Stuff!"

That time when a bottle of dish soap was more valuable than a designer coat.

A luxury-brand client and I were visiting young women in their homes. It was a total girl party as we played in their closets and talked about their favorite things (clothes, coats, bags, and accessories). You know those montage-makeover moments in movies where everything in the closet starts to come out? Yeah, it was like that.

One respondent pulled a very expensive coat from her hallway closet and said she always received compliments when she wore it. I was standing in her kitchen, and I backed up to get a full-length view of this magnificent coat. That’s when I moved a bottle of dish soap out of the way so I could have a better view.

As I moved the bottle, she said: “OMG, don’t you just love this stuff?”

And then she started talking – very excitedly! – about dish soap.

Dish! Soap!

The same woman who had casually mentioned that a $3,000 coat was cute was absolutely gushing about a bottle of dish soap.

  • ‘I love their messaging!’
  • ‘Look how cute the bottle is!’
  • ‘It smells good.’
  • ‘It doesn’t hurt my skin.’
  • ‘I’m not worried about using this product around my animals.’
  • ‘My husband made fun of me for loving this product so much, but now he is on board.’
  • ‘Anything that brand sells, we buy.’

It was truly over the top.


The bells in my head started clanging. These are the moments market researchers live for – those ah-ha moments when you know you are onto something big.

But was this a one-off situation, or did it really speak to a pattern? The researcher in me had to know. Another study held the answer.


This time we were looking at several designer handbags. The respondent quickly dropped them to the floor when she saw her most favorite and treasured item - an $80 tennis skirt.

We went shopping together later in the day. Our first stop? The store that sold the brand of tennis skirt the respondent liked so much.

As she shopped, she kept saying:

  • ‘They just get me.’
  • ‘This (outfit) is who I am.’
  • ‘This is the real me.’

In her mind, that $80 skirt (and the brand that made it) was infinitely more valuable than her expensive handbags.  


After marinating on this and comparing it to other research studies we were doing in luxury and health & wellness, those ah-ha moments crystallized into a simple, yet powerful insight that yielded a huge opportunity.

Brands need to make an emotional connection with their customers by meeting them where it matters –
in their Living Well space.

The passionate responses to dish soap and a tennis skirt demonstrated this simply. Those respondents are willing to be brand ambassadors, spend more, and go out of their way to buy the products that align with their priorities.

The passionate responses also helped us as a company realize that finding living well insights is our passion, and we can make a difference with this focus.  

So, now we are committed to helping brands understand:

  1. People aren’t seeking “luxury” items; they are seeking brands that represent them and their values. When this happens, the brand serves a higher purpose.
  1. Brands that help people live their authentic lives engender loyal supporters and authentic brand ambassadors.
  1. Living well considers the whole person, including their health and self-care.

We are now running all our market research insights through a “Living Well” lens. That enables us to help brands help others live well.

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Categories: Market Research, Ethnographic Market Research, Insights, Living Well /

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