Nurture a Concept to Success

If we only had a crystal ball, it would be a lot easier to develop winning concepts.  We’d simply just take a peak and voilà, a great idea would appear.  Unfortunately, many marketers and market researchers try to use their concept test as a crystal ball to be predictive of appeal and success.  The test becomes the gate for a pass/fail result with the hope that one approach is a winner.  Unfortunately, this approach prevents you from nurturing an idea to success. 

Here are some great concepts that were nurtured.  The Kindle E-reader did not take off immediately; it was almost 18 months past its launch that readers actually made it a success.  The cell phone was originally a big, clunky device that needed to be installed in a car at great expense, and the plans were hideously expensive—now, they’re a way of life.  And, finally, the ATM.  Many couldn’t image trusting a machine with their banking; now you can barely find a “real” teller, and we pull money out of machines all over the world.

Here are eight tips to help you make your concept ideas winners:

    • Know the difference between a core idea concept and a positioning concept.  Ultimately, you need to develop a positioning concept before you create any communications—advertising, social media messages, and packaging—so make sure you create one.
    • Understand that behavior change requires a perceived “gain.”  Your concept must offer better efficacy, emotional satiety, improved experience or leverage an existing equity; otherwise, no real reason exists to try your product or service.
    • Know your target audience. It is more important to get feedback and assess appeal from your potential buyer.  What senior management thinks, what the agency wants, or what R&D would like to push into the market doesn’t matter if your target doesn’t like it.
    • Develop a concept.  Don’t “test” it.  Developing a concept requires refining, amplifying, enhancing and eliminating to get it right.  Give yourself the time and the structure to embrace these areas.
    • Create concepts iteratively.  Qualitative is the perfect place to do just this.  Sharing a concept and making adjustments in real-time ensures that you communicate effectively as well as have a motivating idea and believability.
    • Provide ample time.  A seed does not mature over night, so a concept should not either.  I can’t underestimate the necessity to plan.  Throwing more money at a flawed concept will never make it more successful in the market.
    • Know how to write an effective positioning concept.  My experience shows that four out of five clients don’t know how to write one.  There is both a science and an art to concept writing.  I always say remember the “Bottle of RUM” (BRUM), which stands for Believable, Relatable, Understandable and Motivational.  If you can’t write concepts in this manner, take some training.  The Rite Concept has a book, a teleseminar, plus other information to help you out!
    • Hire an outside expert.  It is extremely important to be objective when creating concepts.  Generally, an ad agency is not the expert.  They are generally not objective and are not gifted at writing concepts.  The agency can develop copy from a winning concept but not the concept itself.  Any expert you hire should have the chops to really get you to a better place.  Understanding of structure, language, and how to get the feedback you need from your target audience is crucial.

So the next time you embark on concept development, keep these tips in mind and don’t let a potentially great idea die too early at the mercy of a concept test.  You just might fall in love with your concept and the results it brings your business!

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