Concept Testing is NOT “One-Size-Fits-All”
Concept testing represents an important area of market research as it can be informative to business decisions in several phases of product development. For clients in the earliest stage of development, concept testing can help determine which customer needs/product benefits should be the focus of new product development or evolution.
—In early stages, where many product ideas exist, concept testing can help determine which concepts are best-suited or most feasible for further development.
—Later in the process, concept testing can be one of the final stages before a go/no-go decision.
At MMR, we have both qualitative and quantitative techniques in our methods toolkit from which to choose, depending on the specifics on our client’s needs.
Messaging Evaluation Through Concept Testing
A major CPG company was interested in revamping a long standing and well-known brand by updating its messaging and packaging so they would be more competitive with new market entries. The client had developed two distinctively different message communications via qualitative groups as well as package graphics to better fit the communications. Not only did they want to determine which message was most motivating, but also evaluate if there were elements of the two messages that should be combined to create a more compelling message. Specifically, the client wished to answer these questions:
–Does brand messaging improve trial vs. packaging alone?
–Does updated communication strengthen the brand positioning?
–What is the price elasticity for the different brand communications vs. packaging only?
MMR’s approach to concept testing can be considered “flexible standardization,” so our full toolkit of options is available based on the decision at hand…we don’t force fit a standard solution. Based on the needs and constraints of the project, we recommended a concept and package test using online eye tracking with category buyers to measure the effectiveness of the message and the power of the packaging at shelf.
The test used a traditional two-cell monadic concept testing approach with the addition of:
–MaxDiff – to understand the motivators of interest from both messages to inform concept refinement
–Online eye tracking – to identify the components of the package that attracts views and understand if the key message points were pronounced enough
Brand Messaging Motivates Consumers
The results of the research found that brand messaging has the power to improve interest in the brand as compared to just packaging alone. Consumers highly desired an update to the brand and clearly identified a concept that was most motivating.
However, certain components of the least desired concept were actually very appealing and so MMR recommended their inclusion in the final positioning. Additionally, the package was found to fit well with the message, capturing the desired views for the key areas. While positive benefits were noted for the packaging, branding was lost relative to other graphics. This could mean that consumers might have a difficult time finding the brand on the shelf.
The combination of MaxDiff and Online Eye Tracking returned the most actionable results and the client is currently revising the message as a response to the results, incorporating the most motivating components. The client is also revising the package graphics to make the brand name more prominent.
Concept testing is not a one-size-fits-all research construct. Depending on whether the results need to start development down the right path, accentuate differences between concepts, or provide preference measurement and benchmarking, MMR can recommend the perfect Roadmap for concept testing that fits our client’s constraints of budget, time and product development phase.
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