Understanding smoking cessation context & motivation to define category & brand positioning

Facing increased competition from new category entrants E-cigarettes (vaping) and established private label brands, GSK initially partnered with Brandtrust to differentiate its nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) brands, NicoDerm® & Nicorette® beyond rational pricing benefits. As the category continued to evolve, GSK extended the Brandtrust partnership to dive deeper into the relationship and roles of various smoking cessation products to update their NRT brand strategy and ultimately, to future-proof the brand definition and continue driving selection of its NRT brands.


Global Emotional Inquiry research and Contextual Inquiry research at vape stores/with store owners revealed a smoking/cessation journey rooted in the pursuit of personal control and NRTs playing a love/hate role more similar to therapist or coach than a friend. Subsequent research revealed the cessation journey’s tight link to the underlying human drive toward growth and the critical experiential role of the vape store/owner as an educator. Ultimately, motivations to change are deeply personal & subjective; successful change requires a combination of influencers.


Brandtrust summarized emergent insights into a smoking cessation Peak-End Journey map as well as a behavior change model identifying opportunity territories for brand & product strategies that would drive behavior change. Further, Brandtrust and GSK developed core insight concepts designed to anchor subsequent communication campaign development.


Informed by both engagements, GSK updated its entire smoking cessation category and brand strategy, including: Marketing Framework, Category Definition, Core Strategic Target, and corresponding narrative to align with category evolution. Further, emergent category product architecture guided GSK’s development of individual smoking cessation product strategies.