Quick and Cheap Concept Testing? - Don't fall into the trap.

Successful New Product Development is key for all business, now more so than ever, with increasingly competitive marketplaces, highly demanding consumers, and challenging retail conditions.

Concept testing is often a key step in the NPD process. There are now many competitively priced options for evaluating concepts quickly but what do they give you beyond a purchase intent score? There is a lot more that can be gained from just having a more in-depth evaluation amongst consumers at this stage that will help optimise products and to put together an effective launch and communication plan.


At Touchstone, we recommend spending a little more time and a little more of your budget at this point in the process. Our approach to concept evaluation is a robust solution for evaluating, optimising, and prioritising new product ideas for development within the NPD pipeline. Using a mix of traditional metrics (yes purchase intent still a very important KPI) and implicit association techniques, we provide everything you need to determine the strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities for optimising new concept ideas to deliver maximum in-market success.


Key metrics are benchmarked against concept norms and current in-market competitors to contextualise the results. Implicit associations and drivers analysis are incorporated to determine the communication routes to successful implementation. What is at the heart of the NPD that is going to emotionally hook consumers to your brand?


We can also provide early sales volume forecasting including source of volume, to bring to life the in-market opportunity and aid NPD prioritisation. Source of volume analysis we think is a key indicator – a product may have high purchase intent but if it predominantly steals from a brand’s existing portfolio or doesn’t bring any new volume to a category then there is a danger that capital investment could be wasted.

We recommend that for each test you evaluate a number of concepts, including competitor benchmarks, rather than one at a time. Not only does this mean you can create a prioritised pipeline of ideas but also the price per concept comes down if you combine in one study.


What the concept should contain is always a matter of debate, but we can help you with writing and preparing them. What is key though is consistency across the layout and feel of them in order to give a fair comparison.


We use a number of tools to determine the true underlying appeal of your NPD in order to drive the true concept potential. Our Timed Emotional Response technique provides an understanding of how ‘automatic’ an association is. Faster responses indicate a more deeply held perception which is routed in the sub-conscious brain, and which therefore has more potential to resonate with consumers. Furthermore, Key Driver Analysis is used to truly determine the underlying drivers of purchase. Derived indirectly from consumer responses, we identify the key elements that appeal and drive purchase to understand the core conversion motivators. We also cover all traditional questioning you’d expect from any concept evaluation, including purchase intent unpriced and priced and KPIs, variant/flavour appeal and ranging (TURF), source of volume, usage occasions, and consumer profiling.


Our concept evaluation solution is best applied near the start of the NPD process to ensure the winning ideas are invested in early, maximising the opportunity for in-market success and ROI.


And of course, a winning idea is not guaranteed without a product and pack that delivers and a pricing strategy that is attractive. Look out for our thoughts on these in the coming weeks.

Ian Hext


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