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Concept Testing

Concept testing can help decision-making, especially if you're bring a new product or service to the market, entering new markets with existing products, making changes or simply going out to the market with a new message.  

Understanding how the concept will be received saves time, protects your reputation and prevents costly mistakes. 


Concept testing is a very broad term that encompasses both qualitative and quantitative techniques, and ranging from ‘quick dip’ feedback to very robust testing with large numbers of people. 

Ultimately, the research is designed to meet the type of feedback required and enable findings to be matched to specific customer demographics or behaviour profiles. Research delivers insight to understand when concepts require further refinement to be successful, or if the underlying idea is just not right for the market (or the time).  

When to test concepts?

Concepts can be tested at any stage from initial idea creation and evaluation, throughout development and even final refinement prior to a market launch.  

Concept Testing Service

Concepts need to be sufficiently developed so they can be clearly communicated, understood and evaluated by participants. This is much easier where there are similar products already available or we are testing enhancements, but is much harder for participants when we are introducing something that is completely new. 

Early testing can be valuable when screening ideas. However, appeal is naturally lower when ideas are less defined and care need to be taken to not discard ideas prematurely.  At later stages of development, concepts can be presented with greater detail, images and even prototypes.  


At every stage, we work to ensure concepts are shown and explained simply, so they are quickly understood in terms of both ‘how it works’ and the customer benefits.  We also design the research to protect the confidentiality of the ideas and prevent any premature public exposure. 

Four main types of concept test

There are four types of concept tests, which just mean whether participants are shown one or more concepts and if there are asked to compare them: 

  • Monadic testing (single concept)

  • Sequential monadic testing (multiple concepts)

  • Protomonadic testing (multiple concepts with a preference at the end)

  • Comparative testing (comparing multiple concepts)

We are happy to discuss and advise on suitable approaches.

Structure of a concept test

Typically, concepts are assessed in several layers with additional detail given and the effect measured. In very broad terms:
•    Current use and behaviour so the findings can be analysed by market segment
•    Initial reactions: do people like the idea? 
•    What specific attributes are liked / disliked? 
•    How likely are they to buy (no mention of price)?  
•    How likely are they to buy at specific price points? 
•    How could it be improved?

The layered approach allows the findings to be interrogated, e.g. people may like the idea, but are put off by a particular feature or the price. 

These main stages are expanded on in more detail below. 

Current use and behaviours 

  • Demographics

  • Brand awareness and perceptions

  • Product use and frequency  

  • Purchase drivers (key attributes or features looked for) 


Overall concept reaction: just the idea itself, without any reference to price. 

  • Spontaneous likes and dislikes

  • Are the claims believed?

  • Main perceived benefits and drawbacks.  

  • [if relevant] Improvement or step back from the current design / competitors

  • Likelihood to purchase or use the concept, without any reference to price.

  • Expected frequency of use, e.g. as a main product or an occasional ‘treat’.

  • Whether use would be exclusive or in addition to other products. 

  • Use in specified situations 

  • Other products / providers that would be used. 



  • Motivations for use 

  • Barriers to use / more frequent use

  • Expectations: 

    • ​Brand (if not revolve at the outset)

    • Where it could be bought from (channel associations)

    • Product / service guarantees

    • Price – spontaneous expectations


Price sensitivity is an important element to add into the mix.  It can give a truer view of appeal and purchase intent.  

  • Concept appeal can be assessed using specific price points, e.g. how likely would be you be to buy if it cost £x. However, people typically prefer the cheapest price when given options. 

  • Another approach that works very well for price sensitivity insight is the Van Westendorp method.

    • With this approach, respondents are asked four open ended questions are invited to say at which point a product / service is: 

      • Good value

      • Getting expensive 

      • Too expensive to buy 

      • Too cheap to consider

  • Responses to these questions are then plotted to identify optimum product pricing and illustrate how perceptions change at different price points. 

  • This technique is more suited to established products/services rather than something completely new to market.



Concluding thoughts:

  • How innovative is this concept?

  • Is this relevant to you?

  • What would you change? 

  • Which company do they expect is developing this product (if not already revealed)? 

  • How does this concept make you feel about the company developing it and why? (positive / negative)

Concept Testing

Analysing the results

We analyse the findings at three levels, depending on the detail required by each client to deliver clear recommendations:

  • Overall concept preference 

  • Strengths and weaknesses of each concept along with improvement suggestions

  • Detailed mapping of strengths and weaknesses by market segment / key demographics. 


We can also conduct desk research to support concept development.  This can include looking at competitor products, legislation etc. as well as estimating the market size.  

If you would like to know more or have a project in mind, please get in contact. We will be happy to help. 
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