Recently, I was asked by a client what the best format is for testing a concept. There are many testing options available of course (Nielsen, IPSOS, IRI, GutCheck, BrainJuicer, and the list goes on and on), but the answer lies really in looking ahead to how the product will be supported in market.
In our Writing by Design Concept College, we teach our attendees about the importance of the new product concept. It is the basis on which all future communications will be built after all, so it deserves the highest level of attention and care. There is a special relationship—a correlation even—to your in-market communications, and that correlation relies heavily on somethings that’s often overlooked: the almighty word count.
Use your concepts to build a bridge to your in-market communications
Let’s take, for example, a new product that will only be supported at shelf when it launches with on-pack communication. No other advertising support has been planned for this product. You’d be lucky to get 5 to10 words of meaningful value on that package to communicate your new product’s features and benefits. Therefore, a 100-word quantitative test may NOT be the test that will draw the best correlation to in-market results. If rich advertising and promotion support was planned, then 100 words may be the more appropriate choice.
The concept format, then, should be relative to the in-market support that is budgeted for the product’s launch plan. You want to make sure that the concept and testing methodology provide a bridge to the outcome that is sturdy and reliable. Using too many words to communicate your product’s features and benefits in your research and testing plans can backfire in practice if these things are relative to each other.
There’s no “one size fits all” concept
So the answer to the question about “best format” for new product concepts is that, at the end of the day, you just want to be sure that your concept is written in a way that makes it correlated and relative to the in-market support it will receive from your brand at launch. Build a sturdy, appropriate bridge from your concept testing to your planned, in-market communications and you can bet that foot traffic will follow to your product at shelf.
Patti Purcell brings 25+ years of journalism and marketing skills together to provide national and international companies with outstanding concept writing services via the company she founded in 2006, Writing by Design, LLC. She and her growing team, based in Wisconsin, have written hundreds of concepts and achieved many successful A.C. Nielsen BASES test scores over the last 10 years using their Crystal Clear™ concept writing methodology.