Humans are surrounded by corporate imagery - from logos and packaging to ads and websites. This imagery can have real power (just think of the iconic Nike swoosh or the golden arches of Mcdonald's). It can lure a customer in, entice them to explore a product, and ultimately, convince them to buy. After all, humans are 90% visual beings. Most prefer to obtain information through images, which can convey far more than text (in mere milliseconds). Images also have the capacity to evoke emotion and trigger memory. And, unlike text, almost everyone can process images, regardless of reading level or language.
So it’s no surprise that businesses invest heavily in research on their “look,” the most valuable component in their marketing arsenal. A favorite research method is concept testing, which allows companies to garner feedback from their target audience(s) on concepts or ideas for a product/service before launching it. This includes feedback on any images associated with the new product or service, such as advertisements or logos. This method of research can save companies from product images that are doomed to fail, often at a high cost (like this chilling ad from Sherwin-Williams and inscrutable logo from the London Olympics). Moreover, it guides companies towards better visuals and helps them perfect every detail.
But concept testing of images isn't foolproof. At times, images in research studies are too small, have a low resolution, or the color balance appears off. Imagine seeing a photo of a sleek sports car, but the name and brand in the corner are blurry, or an ad for apples that look dull and unappetizing. Without a graphic design team, a company may not be able to correct these issues. In such cases, the well-intended concept test can end up being completely counterproductive.
This calls for… image enhancement! Image enhancement is the process of digitally optimizing an image to make it easier to identify key features. It is achieved by manipulating certain properties like size, resolution, contrast, or color. In the context of market research, image enhancement enables participants to see an image as they would in the real world (like a cereal box on a grocery store shelf). This mimics a genuine shopping experience and ensures that the participant will provide more accurate, unbiased feedback.
But that’s not all - image enhancement can also take another, more complex form. Sometimes, businesses wish to present several images in a market research study (either to compare their product with competitors or to showcase potential variations of a product). But they only have one image—or none—already prepared. Thus, graphic designers must create brand new images. They may have to design ideas provided by the business or harness their own creativity to generate images from scratch.
At Op4G, we proudly offer both services. Our in-house design specialist is professionally trained in Adobe Photoshop, with experience creating and optimizing product images for some of the largest brands including General Mills and Unilever. We have capabilities to make text, size, resolution, or other cosmetic adjustments, greatly improving an existing image. Additionally, we can create new, high-quality images (such as by blending features from other options, adding logos, etc.). The turnaround time is much faster than going through a design firm (less than a week depending on the scope) and the process is streamlined, saving both time and money for clients!
Is your company planning a logo revamp, toying with packaging design, struggling with an ad, or approaching a website launch? Are you questioning whether your visuals attract attention and appeal to your target audience? Consider investing in concept testing research. But do it right! Ensure that the images are large and crisp and, ideally, presented alongside viable alternatives. Remember that just a few concept tests could steer you onto the right course, potentially saving you considerable money (and a PR nightmare). Finally, to maximize the success of your concept testing, complement powerful visuals with well-designed questions (check out this article for tips).
If you're interested in learning more about concept testing and image enhancement, please contact us here. Our in-house design specialist has the skills and creativity to meet your needs – no matter the product.