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Concept testing : a research model evaluating public acceptance

Market research 04 12
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Table of Contents



Concept testing is a method of evaluating the attitude of the prospective customers towards an idea or proposition to assess its success probability in the market .This concept is anything that business wants to put out in the market and the success of which is majorly impacted by public approach. This type of a testing can be done at any stage in the innovation cycle i.e. even when the idea or concept exists on paper or it has been developed and launched in the market but produces better results when done during an early phase in the cycle as it provides room for improvement and makes a good first impression on the target customers . Concept testing allows an analysis of the psychological approach that a customer has towards that concept and provides room for corrective actions to improve it until the point where it meets consumer expectations . 

Concept testing is used for testing a particular idea ,slogan ,ad campaign or product conception . It also assists the business in filtering out multiple competing ideas by comparing them on several aspects . It can put forth open ended questions which allow the respondent to express themselves in an elaborative and accurate manner. For this, it is very important that the survey be designed in such a manner that covers all areas of interest for the company. Advanced ways of conducting this survey should also be a preference in order to gain genuine responses that are free from any scrutiny or bias.

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The current Business environment is dynamic and uncertain . Customer preferences keep shifting due to change in taste , fashion , trends etc.  Businesses prefer investing in ideas that will bring in benefit for the company when put out in the market . Instead of taking the impulsive approach and gamble with the possibility of losing resources in the process , it is better to reduce the risk factor by asking the people about the relevance and credibility of the formulated concept . This gives the businesses an opportunity to conduct market research , analyze the collected data and use it to modify the concept to suit the people’s needs , thereby minimizing chances of failure .

Concept testing also allows companies to customize their value proposition to suit demographies and market dynamics . Customers can be asked to reflect on the name, display, features, weight, offers and various other attributes important for businesses to enhance customer experience . They can also suggest add-ins to steer the progression of concept development in a new direction. Their likes and dislikes towards the concept can serve as useful data to predict market acceptance.

Concept testing also prevents damage to brand equity by preventing companies from launching products that may tarnish brand image . By gaining customer insights prior to launch , companies gain a ready acceptance from its prospective consumers which is not possible in the case of unresearched launches. In addition ,  this research serves as a promotional method that educates people regarding product features or future launches .Thus, surveys are used as a data collection and marketing tool for the company or brand .

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SYMBOL OR LOGO: Concept testing finds out whether the brand logo has the requisite visual appeal to attract customers . Brands need to ensure that their logos are a representation of their vision and are memorable for customers for the purpose of creating brand loyalty .

ADS AND PROMOTIONAL CAMPAIGNS : Prior research and surveys allows brands to test the effectiveness and impact that a particular marketing concept has . Concept testing can also be used to compare multiple ad samples to identify which one grabs the viewer/ readers attention.  The medium of promotion : print or visual media, can also be decided based on the customer preference and viewership.

WEBSITE AND SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS : Concept testing allows businesses and brands to test their online presence . The research groups can be shown the website layouts and information can be gathered  based on their point of view . They can be asked to answer questions relating to whether the design of the website is appealing, what do they feel about the formatting and positioning of texts and images , is the website interactive and ways of increasing social media following on their respective handles.

PACKAGING: Target groups can be asked to express their views about product packaging : its size , layering, color coding , design and whether it is distinguishable or not. Packaging play a key role in allowing your customers to differentiate between your products and those of your competitors. It is essential to make sure that the packaging reflects the quality of your brand and that it is not generic.

SLOGANS , TAGLINES , VISION AND MISSION: Gather data about customer’s impression of your brand’s messaging. It is very important that people associate with the brands vision and mission . This allows brands to set themselves apart and project their ideals as a distinct entity. The results of concept testing reveal if the brand perception is in line with what the brand wants people to believe. If not , there is scope for improvement.

MARKETING AND SALES OFFERS: Concept testing can be used to predict if implementing various incentives and discounts will bring in additional sales and revenue for the business. Reasons for present sales trends can be identified using insights provided by survey respondents . This can be used as a basis of preparing schemes which will force customers to shift their buying habits away from other brands .

PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT AND PRICING STRATEGIES: Before releasing a product into the market it is necessary to gain information about its requirement and relevance for users . Surveys can be conducted to ask people if the features of the product fit customer expectations and will they prefer to buy it or not . They can be questioned about the price that they are currently paying for the same product offered by other brands and can quote a price they would be willing to pay for their product .

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This type of testing puts forth multiple competing concepts for the respondent to choose from . The respondents are required to select the best out of the options provided based on certain attributes .These attributes can be framed in the form of questions using NPS® (Net Promoter Score®) where respondents can be asked to rank their importance for a particular attribute. This also provides insights into customer’s buying decisions.

These type of tests provide definitive results by coming up with better propositions based on customer preference. However, lack of proper survey design can result in incomplete knowledge relating to reason for the respondents choice. This information is vital for businesses to bring about improvements in existing concepts.


In  this type of a research , respondents are asked to judge and critique only one concept . This provides room for an in-depth analysis to be conducted by asking respondents to opine on characteristics  relating to a specific concept. This also gives the researcher , the freedom to gather maximum data without running the risk of confusing the respondent . They can even spend time in clarifying any doubts that the respondent has about the concept and its functioning.

The brand conducting this research can then summarize the results of each concept study separately and compare them in an objective manner. However , such an analysis can prove costly when done for a large number of concepts which requires a bigger sample size .


This is an advanced version of single concept evaluation as the process remains the same , but here multiple groups of respondents answer questions relating to multiple concepts . This combines the features of comparative and monadic testing , as it compares multiple concepts to filter them down to one concept which is better than the others and allows the researcher to verify the results obtained from multiple research groups . This provides additional confidence in the concept which is finalized .

This testing suffers from the drawback of being too long . Researchers have to draft a long list of questions to obtain reviews on each concept . The longevity of the survey sometimes discourages the respondent from answering in an elaborative manner . Thus, such a method can result in non completion .


In such a testing , respondents elaborate on each of the numerous concepts . Following this , respondents are asked to choose one of the concepts which grabbed their maximum interest. This concept testing removes the disadvantage of comparative testing and conveys reasoning for the respondents choice . This also allows the researchers to obtain the pros and cons of every concept .


This process is a complete reversal of the proto-monadic testing. Here the participants first choose a concept and then based on their understanding, extensively evaluate their chosen concept.  This gives clarity with regard to the participants understanding of the concept and justifies its choice over the other options . This , however, is time consuming and so the respondents should be provided with enough time to prevent any hassle.



The survey used to to conduct the concept study must be designed carefully , keeping in mind the brands requirements .


This sets the structure around which the concept testing is centered . Your objective is the end result that you wish to obtain after the completion of the research.


This helps you  to rank respondents based on their prior knowledge .


Pose questions that help in ascertaining the buying behavior of the respondents and reasons for preference of a particular brand over others.


Elaborate on the main points of the concept relating to the survey and specify your expectations from the respondent .


Enlist questions questioning every attribute of the concept

  • Innovation
  • Uniqueness
  • Brand Value
  • Relevance
  • Pricing
  • Packaging
  • Distribution
  • Positives and negatives
  • Existing competition
  • Scope for improvement
  • Follow up questions


Allow participants to provide suggestion to make the concept better suitable for the market . Ask them to be specific .



  • Compile results obtained from each research group
  • Rank each concepts performance as a part of the entire study and evaluate each of these separately .
  • Check the viability of implementing each concept and predict future impact on the business .
  • Apply corrective measures to improve the existing concepts

Use test results along with other layouts such manpower requirements , financial resources, distribution strategy as inputs to move forward with implementing the concept .

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