When a brand’s advert or campaign provokes universal criticism it’s sensible to believe that it hasn’t asked the right people for feedback before launching. To avoid unnecessary controversies such as Pepsi’s recent ad misstep, or Nivea’s "white is purity" campaign, it’s wise to make sure you have a solid measure of the likely public response in advance.
There have been many other examples of brands misjudging public sentiment over the years, whether by attracting controversy or simply launching a product no one wants to buy. But how can you limit the risk of wasting money and damaging your brand because of a misguided campaign or product launch? Here are five suggestions:
Get real customer feedback
To give your campaign the best chance of success, you need to ask the people who will ultimately be buying your product what they think. If you’re launching a toy or new programme aimed at seven year olds, ask parents or the children themselves. Similarly, if you’re thinking of opening a restaurant in a new city, ask the locals if they would eat there.
Test at the optimum stage
There’s no need to wait for the finished product to get feedback on your ideas. Before sinking unrecoverable time and money into an expensive campaign or logo redesign, you can use rough storyboards or mock-ups to gauge reactions and adapt ideas based on consumers’ responses.
Ask the right questions
If you’re not sure what to ask, your market research agency can recommend different factors to test such as appeal, differentiation, relevance, purchase intent, brand fit and message take out. You can also include your own tailored questions to check consumers understand the precise message you want to convey or identify different customer groups’ specific to your brand, product or campaign.
Consider international markets
If you’re working on a global campaign, testing across different markets can stop you from accidentally making an unexpected cultural or linguistic faux pas.
Once you’ve launched your campaign or product, you can continue to evaluate what the public think and make further tweaks if needed. You can test awareness as well as asking the same questions you asked before the launch to see if there has been a change in perception.