Advertising Research

Nurturing vs. Testing: A Research Approach to Foster Great Creative Ideas

Sarah Johnson

Brand owners are understandably concerned about the success of creative ideas in-market, which has led to a major industry in creative testing, with many companies promising their method will predict which concepts will drive consumer engagement. While creative testing can certainly contribute to marketing success, it should not be the sole determining factor for the viability of a creative idea. In fact, the testing stage often marks the end of many promising concepts, which could have been successful if they had been given the chance to develop their potential. 

In this article, we delve into the importance of using research to help nurture ideas early on in the creative development process, so that truly compelling work does not get lost on the way to green-lighting the“winning idea”.  We call this research approach “The Concept Nursery.”

What is the Concept Nursery?

The fundamental premise of the Concept Nursery is that while some creative concepts may have real potential, they may not always be expressed at their best, so that a compelling germ of an idea may be masked by elements that could easily be changed.  Using the Concept Nursery method helps to identify these imperfect but intriguing ideas and build on them from a collaborative and supportive perspective, rather than an exclusively critical one. This provides a valuable opportunity to cultivate and optimize creative concepts that could really break through with consumers.

Here are some of the core benefits:

●     Provides guidance to the creative teams about how consumers are connecting with their ideas, and also what is getting in the way of these connections

●     Ensures that ideas with real potential don’t get overlooked because of minor issues that could easily be addressed

●     Stronger partnership between brand owners and creative agencies as creative development becomes a process of working together to make things better rather than a potentially adversarial situation where creatives feel tested and judged

Participants with a Creative and Helping Orientation

Advertising research can be hindered by participants’ automatic tendency to adopt a critical stance towards new creative ideas. Our approach utilizes a personality-type recruitment process that finds research participants who are innately creative and positive and won't waste time with cynicis or comments lacking insight.  

Priming Positivity

To minimize cynicism and promote productive conversations, the Concept Nursery method incorporates pre-group exercises as part of its advertising research strategy.These exercises involve individuals identifying ads that have left a positive impression on them, thereby eliminating knee-jerk rejection of advertising in general.  

Appreciative Inquiry

The Concept Nursery is built on the concept of “appreciative inquiry”, which encourages teams to structure their discussions around what is working well in their advertising research and concepts. The aim is to understand the most effective marketing research solutions for launching new creative ideas. By starting with the positives, teams can identify what works and nurture it, before identifying potential faults in their current research services.

Identifying Strengths

At the heart ofThe Concept Nursery is focussing on the strengths of all the creative concepts to ensure even the tiniest sparks of potential don’t get lost.  This is achieved by asking questions such as:

●     What aspects of the creative idea resonate with you?

●     What is the source of energy in this creative idea?

●     How does this idea present the brand in a positive light?

●      How can we enhance what is already working and take it to the next level?

Encouraging Individual Responses

The Concept Nursery approach also encourages personal reflection on each advertising concept. Participants are asked to write down their thoughts for all concepts, both positive and negative, to minimize group-think and prevent a dominant personality from monopolizing the conversation.

Once people have a chance to write down their ideas and unique opinions, they are often more motivated and committed to the process because they can be sure that their views are being captured.  Once everyone has discussed the positive aspects of each idea, they share  potential shortcomings they may have written down after being exposed to the idea.

Maximizing Creative Advertising with theConcept Nursery Method

To sum up, TheConcept Nursery approach provides brand owners and creative teams with the tools they need to identify what works, overcome what doesn't, and launch creative, effective, and impactful ideas that will leave a lasting impression on their target audience. So, why let great ad ideas slip away? Embrace the Concept Nursery method and unleash the full potential of your brand today.