Top Ten Tips
10 Years of Predictive Markets
I love innovation and testing new ideas but sometimes I feel like I’m starting my concept
with an insight statement just to adhere to an old-fashioned rule; if only there was a more
concise, realistic way to introduce an idea.
An idea should be based on an insight but stimulus does not need to contain an opening
insight statement. If it helps you to focus, start by writing the insight at the top but once
you finish the rest of the concept delete the statement before testing.
The insight that sparked the idea should be built into the rest of concept, it should be
obvious what need the product meets.
Excluding insight statements won’t make a huge difference to your scores in most cases
(our last with / without parallel showed no net difference across 17 concepts and +0.96
correlation between cells)…
….but “Without” is more realistic and predictive: in the same parallel, removing insight
statements improved the correlation with market share from +0.63 to +0.77.
Discrimination was also improved. Insight statements just introduce noise.
Where to start: Insight statement
Aim for 25 words maximum.
Be clear, focused, concise.
The traditional 80-word limit is too long – you rarely
get the chance to make such a long pitch to
consumers in the real world
Longer concepts take longer to read and accept
(obviously). More surprisingly, when long concepts
are rejected we see they are rejected as quickly as
shorter versions of the same ideas.
Excess text is a barrier, not a driver
Successful 5-star concepts are about 10% shorter than
those in the bottom half of the database
Be as brief as possible…
“I am sorry these concepts are so
long. I didn’t have time
to make them shorter.”
25 words is the sweet-spot but beware going
Incredibly short concepts (under 20 words) or
those with no text at all tend to test poorly.
Short, cryptic metaphors are risky at screening
stage – most fail
…but no briefer
Word count range Average Performance
BrainJuicer® experiments on 187 concepts
Appropriate visuals help explain the idea swiftly
If you have a pack shot then include it to
maximise realism. If not, don’t worry – concepts
without packs score just as well on average
Either way, we recommend including one further
visual to help bring the idea and its benefit to life.
This could be an ingredient image or a simple
sketch of how the product is used
This should remove the need for some text
(see point 4)
More show, less tell
As with text, don’t use too many images for one concept
Collages and complex diagrams can confuse and overwhelm, leading to rejection
Avoid visual overload
If you know what the brand will be then include it; if not it’s still helpful to
test unbranded initially
There is no net disadvantage for unbranded concepts – on average they score the same as
branded concepts, respondents assume that the final product will get a reasonable
and appropriate brand added
Addition of brand may help or hinder the final idea and it’s not simply down to brand size
Brand if you can
Unbranded Cherry Cider Branded Cherry Cider
A cherry cider concept tested worse with Carling branding
(big brand but slightly inappropriate for the product?)
Unbranded IPA Branded IPA
…while Brewdog (a much smaller brand) boosted
an IPA beer concept
Don’t include variables which few shoppers consider at the point of
purchase, like full lists of ingredients
Include price if known but take care to frame it appropriately – a
standalone price may be misleading for some categories so relative
pricing or a reference point may be necessary (e.g. “the same price
as original Snickers”)
Don’t assume that respondents will understand weight in grams /
ounces for all products, you may need to use more intuitive scaling
e.g. number of typical servings, hand shown reaching for pack for
If a feature or ingredient is likely to be polarising – go
with it, be clear about its inclusion and find out how
people feel about it. This is a safe environment to test
extremes. You can always test an alternative version that
excludes it entirely too
Avoid smuggling it in as a detail or half-heartedly – the
attempt to dilute rejection may end up dampening all
desire, even arouse suspicion
No “with a touch of cream” but “made with real cream”
“Mild chilli” has little left for either chilli lovers or haters.
Better to have a spicy variant and a non-spicy variant or
pick a side, don’t sit on the fence with one that tries to be
Weasel out the weasel words
Consumers know they can’t have it all, all of the time.
Extended reasons to believe won’t usually help a
Consider what could be sacrificed – overtly - to boost
the central benefit and make for a more emotive,
Try supporting 1 or 2 elements at the expense of
“The most delicious doughnut you’ll ever try and
made with 100% natural ingredients. We’re sorry
about the calories!”
“Our beer isn’t the cheapest but you’ll appreciate the
quality of ingredients and excellent taste.”
Make a sacrifice
Try to write as you’d speak (to a customer)
Avoid: jargon, slang, repetition
It should flow, make sure you direct the reader
Some details can be left for the end (e.g. bullet points of key variants, price) but avoid
scattered text boxes with ambiguous order of priority
Read it out loud, ideally to someone unfamiliar with the idea.
If it feels odd to either party then re-write it
Read this first
Then this last
Be proud to read it out loud
Is this bit key?Optional
1. Insight statement (baked in)
2. Word count ok? Aim for c.25 words
3. Non-pack images – one cohesive visual to bring the idea to life
4. Pack image – include if available
5. Brand – ditto
6. Price – ditto (if you’re sure about it)
7. Context – any reference point needed for e.g. scale or price?
8. Any weasel words / half-hearted claims to remove?
9. Any attributes which could be sacrificed overtly?
10. Read it out loud
Now get testing – Good Luck!!
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