Approach or Avoid: Implicit Testing
Research to help companies make faster, more informed clean label decisions requires accurate prediction of behavior reactions—approach or avoid—to branded products with given claims and ingredient labels. Asking a research participant to directly predict their behaviors in response to a brand, claim or ingredient is known to be a poor predictor of actual behavior.
Implicit testing avoids the inaccuracy of direct Q&A responses to yield a more accurate predictor of behavior. Through our simple context-based implicit questions, we capture native emotional (system 1) reactions as well as rational (system 2) thinking. As emotional choices are faster, measuring time to make a choice adds a valuable, new dimension for more informed product and brand decision making.
Therefore, it is an excellent technique to help researchers determine:
- What ingredients to display to achieve a cleaner label?
- What claims will result in the greatest approach reaction for an anticipated moment of use?
- What contexts of use are associated with brand use among various segments of consumers?
- How to screen consumers based on brand attitudes and/or behavioral predictions of “approach or avoid” reactions?
Implicit Testing Rationale
Implicit testing leverages context to measure emotional and rational reactions which motivate decisions. For example, within a breakfast occasion the behavioral reactions of participants may differ if the context for choosing a food item is a “convenient grab-and-go moment” or a “normal sit-down breakfast moment.”
Implicit testing measures not only approach or avoid, but the speed of response. This measure of response time quantifies whether an “approach or avoid” reaction is based on emotional (fast) or rational (slow) thinking.
Slow responses represent attitudes about brands, claims or ingredients which are poorly formed, or where the presented context is new to a participant. This forces the participant into a slower more rational thinking process about how to behave.
Fast responses represent well developed attitudes and strong memories within the presented context. This results in quick reactions based on pre-formed memories and emotions.