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Testing creative with focus groups

I recently read an editorial about testing creative concepts for logos/advertising/etc. with focus groups. We currently do that for a number of clients at the same time we are researching perceptions, attitudes, etc. The writer of this editorial believes you should never test creative, or need to test it, if your initial research was done correctly/thoroughly. And that testing creative only muddies the water and you’ll never get solid objective feedback since focus group participants feel they must be critical to be of value.

I’d like to hear more thoughts on this. Has anyone tried both directions and compared results?

Creative via FGs

If the writer believes this then 'so be it' but my question to h/she is "Why is this done so often, and with great success?" Also, the statement "...if your initial research was done correctly/thoroughly ..." is confusing since qualitative is generally the first step in evaluating creative no matter how good the visionary is/was on the drawing board.

Qualitative research, when handled correctly (the moderator's responsibility) is an invaluable developmental tool that has proved itself in market research for a great number of years.

Point: I challenge the writer's opinion!

Creative can and should be tested with focus groups

Louie, I also completely disagree with article author.

How many of us made a decision about the color to paint a room after we get it painted it looks different then we expected? Or, when we add a new rug to the room it changes the appearance.

The same is true of creative. Even with the best planning and research, you can not really know how all the elements will work together until you actually put them together and test it.

Likewise, contrary to this authors assertion, a well-run focus group can get both postive and negative feedback. It can be as simple as asking for it!

Creative can and should be tested with focus groups

And I would also like to add that creative should be tested, in as much as possible, while the end user (research participant) is viewing or preferably experiencing the product. Determining if the creative is compelling (why or why not) in a vacuum is risky considering the consumer will ultimately make a purchase decision if and only if the creative connects with their product perception. In other words, "Yes, that is a great ad, but no, I don't believe it based on what I see the product is".

Testing creative with focus groups

I believe that creative should be tested and more often than none, such testing is best done by utilizing a qualitative method such as focus group research.

Testing creative with focus groups

I think you can get a great deal of valuable feedback from a focus groups. Respondents will tell you what they do and don't like so it's not all negative.

However, decisions should not be made on qualitative feedback alone.

Testing Creative with focus groups

I work in a B to B environment and any kind of quantitative testing for creative is out of the question. However, I encourage our communications group to test their print ads via qualitative as much as possible. Their ideas may be good but the execution of complex programs (such as recycling) are difficult to communciate and we have made significant changes based on qualitative feedback. Even if it is qualitative, if respondents really don't understand what you are trying to say, you know you need to make modifications.