How to Identify Winning Ideas and Claims

Friday, September 29, 2023

Towards the end of most projects that we run, we use our Zip-Zap Ideas® platform to screen between 20-40 "refined ideas or claims" with target consumers or key stakeholders, to help identify the top 3-4 ideas to progress for further development and testing.  This blogs provides an update on six “top-tips” to consider, to help quickly identify the winning ideas and claims that have greatest potential.

1. Use a Consistent Format

First, when screening a wide range of ideas or claims, use a standard and consistent format.  Ultimately, we want a response to the core benefit or claim, and not to whether the respondent prefers one writing style versus another.  And keep the ideas short, to no more than 300-400 characters including a headline, the main benefit and claim, and some additional "reason to believe". Consumers simply don't have time to read a longer concept in a test, in the same way that they don't have time to compare one product versus another when shopping online or in a store.  Keep the ideas tight and be quick to hit the reader with the main benefit. 

2. Be Insightful But Remove the Insight 

We use insights to inspire the development of new ideas and claims.  However, when screening multiple ideas, we recommend that you only test the core idea and not to include the original insight.  This not only keeps the ideas shorter and tighter (as described above), but it ensures the target audience are voting for the principle idea and not the insight. This approach is used by BASES Snapshot® and it is how we test ideas with our Zip-Zap Ideas® platform. And if you are truly looking to assess the relative merits of multiple ideas, it may also make sense to remove any branding associated with the idea.

3. Include a Known Benchmark

When testing multiple ideas, including a “known benchmark” provides a smart way to better understand the results of a given test. When screening 20+ concepts, we recommend including at least one benchmark based on an idea that has tested well in past studies. Alternatively, include a concept based on a successful product that is already in the market, including an idea that might have been launched by a competitor. The benchmarks should be written in the same style and format as all the other ideas. 

4. Small Panels Might Be Enough

The number of respondents required for each test really depends on the objective of the study, and the level of risk involved in the project. For example, when screening 20-40 mini-concepts, the objective is generally to identify the top 6-8 ideas that are most appealing. With this objective, a panel of just 100 can still help highlight “winning ideas”, based on a 90% level of confidence, that are +/-5% points versus the average idea tested, or against a known benchmark. For greater levels of accuracy, a panel of 400 can help identify “winning ideas” that are closer to +/-2.5% points versus the average / known benchmark. 

5. Look for Significant Winners

When looking at the results of a typical study, we look for “winning ideas” that are significantly more appealing versus the average of all ideas tested, or against a known benchmark. We generally look at results based on a confidence interval of 90%, although this can be increased based on the objectives of the project. We also look to “sense check” final results by comparing results between different profiles or between two markets with similar attributes.  For more details, take a look how we screen ideas with our Zip-Zap platform.

6. Keep Trying or Call it a Day

If your panel doesn't highlight an outright winner, be prepared to refine and retest leading ideas based on comments captured during the test.  If that doesn't work, look to start again in your search for stronger ideas and claims linked to deeper insights. Alternatively, if you keep failing to find a winning idea or claim, especially against a known competitor, the project might be telling you something… explore other categories where there are unmet needs that you can more easily exploit.

Get in touch if you have any questions or comments - we'd love to hear from you.