Research services: Concept & Creative Testing

Concept and creative testing, alongside ad and campaign evaluation, sits at the core of our business and we have a wealth of experience to draw upon.

Through the use of a range of innovative research tools, our bespoke concept and creative testing can identify insightful consumer perceptions and attitudes towards advertising, product concepts, new product development and positioning strategies.

Link to case study: Radiogauge. Radiogauge is the award-winning methodology for measuring radio advertising effectiveness Link to case study: Canadian Affair. We were asked to delve into purchase journeys, decision making, booking preferences, past experiences, perceptions of Canada and tailor-made holidays for Canadian Affair NPD and creative testing from DRG
Link to case study: ASA. A new campaign was planned and the ASA were looking to test the designs and messaging produced by their creative agency to identify which design was most appealing to the public Link to case study: Woodland Trust. Warm and cold audiences were contacted to review current tree pack and product offerings


Research objectives may include:

  • Ascertaining which creative route aligns most closely with a brand’s positioning
  • Understanding which creative is most engaging to a specific audience
  • Understanding which creative offers stand out – appeal, likeability, talkability, purchase consideration
  • Exploring which creative gives a visual competitive advantage over other brands
  • Ascertaining the key messages and drivers that advertising must contain to portray the essence of a brand and/or product
  • Gaining further insights into consumer rationale for creative choice

There are a number of ways we can approach evaluating potential creative routes with a target audience, such as online quantitative surveys, online focus groups, or qualitative face-to-face focus group sessions.

Online Surveys:

In order to test concepts with a larger group and to strengthen the validity of research findings and complement the depth of qualitative findings, we frequently conduct online surveys, hosted and distributed securely to our in-house online panel, Panelbase.

We’re able to use quantitative online surveys in order to inform creative choices. Participants can review several design options, logos or images and may also be given the opportunity to create their own ideal design. Panelbase has access to over 370,000 members and extensive profiling allows us to target surveys to specific and niche key audiences, therefore allowing us to offer high quality, bespoke surveys cost effectively. Our internally managed panel is managed in accordance with ESOMAR and MRS standards.

Hot Spots & Heat Maps:

Our creative and concept testing tools allow respondents to provide in the moment, initial reactions to concepts and creatives at the click of a button. This is perfect for testing appeal, engagement and likability of media, articles and webpages. We’re able to test creatives through this tool to gain a read into eye-catching and stand out features of concepts as well as respondents likes and dislikes, gaining an additional level of insight into emotional resonance of the concepts which can be compared at the analysis stage.

Functions include:

  • Option to pre-defined selectable areas of interest, which can be hidden or visible to respondents
  • Pop-up boxes to allow respondents to comment on why they selected a certain area or element of the creative
  • Single code and multi-code questions – allowing for select all that apply and most likely/most important/most appealing etc.
  • Simple, clear outputs generated, with percentage figures displayed as an overlay to the image
  • Options to filter the results by demographics or other pre-defined survey questions, to understand any differences between key audience groups

Focus Groups:

A great creative should be eye catching, stand out and crucially, inspire people to talk about it. Focus groups which are exploratory by nature allow for this level of interaction and animation, where praise and criticism can flow freely as the direction of the discussion evolves. Creative route, themes and messaging can be discussed in depth and the best communication of the campaign message found.

We regularly recommend conducting focus groups to observe real-time reactions and understand consumer’s interaction with creatives as it allows you to drill down to the nitty-gritty detail of a concept. To understand and compare reactions of consumers living in different regions we may suggest conducting groups across a variety of locations.

We work in close collaboration with clients to design a semi-structured discussion guide to aid the direction of focus groups. This involves designing an initial overarching structure for the discussion which can then be fleshed out with specific lines of questioning. Groups will be led by a trained moderator and audio is recorded for transcription and analysis later.

Some potential discussion guide content could include:

  • Background/purchase history
  • What potential purchasers look for
  • What are the key messages and drivers that the creatives must contain, what shouldn’t they contain
  • Prompt with the creative V. Evaluate each concept in detail; best communication of USP, most engaging, best appeal, gives visual competitive advantage over other brands, likes, dislikes, improvements, opportunities; rationale for choice
  • Competitor creatives to be used as a benchmark

Following completion of focus groups a full report will be produced. The body of the report will be aimed at feeding back key themes and differences in terms of reaction to creatives amongst the target audience. Key verbatim comments will be picked out as appropriate, this would add further depth and clarity to the reasoning behind respondent opinions and attitudes. Alongside the feedback we will also provide recommendations which can use to shape the final the creative and messaging. We’ll then feed all of this back in a workshop style presentation of the report.

Case Study:

Read about our work with the ASA, where they were looking to test new campaign designs and messaging to identify which was most appealing to the public and would therefore help to raise awareness.

Want to know more? Submit an enquiry using the form or call us on 01434 611160 and a member of the team will be in touch.

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