Tearing up the rule book on concept testing with O2.

Case Studies

10th November 2023

Walnut Unlimited


Identifying winning concepts for O2

Developing concepts that truly resonate with people is hard enough, let alone in the saturated UK mobile network market. In partnership with O2, we tore up the rule book on traditional concept testing, integrating emotional measures to find the hidden gems. An approach that would help O2 develop propositions that would attract new customers and drive growth.

First, qualitative co-creation focus groups deconstructed and then re-built 4 new propositions. Through collaboration with the client these were refined with our input – these final concepts were then tested with quantitative online Reaction Time testing (RT) to understand the strength of emotional connection beneath what people say.

On the face of it the concepts achieved similar explicit (declared) scores, but the implicit RT approach was able to demonstrate which concepts generated a greater strength of emotional engagement – something that is difficult when testing de-branded concepts – and thus provided clear direction on which to progress.

The client team have repeated the study with us across other areas and become strong advocates, promoting Walnut’s reaction time-based concept testing approach to the wider business.

The reaction time testing approach really added another layer to the insight that we were able to gain from this piece of research. With little explicit difference between two different ideas, having the implicit reaction results enabled us to confidently choose which direction to recommend to the business. After a few further iterations and developments we were able to launch our O2 Family Plan proposition over the summer of 2018, all built on that initial research conducted by Walnut. As a result of the positive impact of the reaction time testing and working with Walnut, we would later revisit this methodology in another study, evaluating a large number of different concepts. The implicit, emotional response once again proved a deciding factor when explicit appeal scores showed little differentiation, and as such a number of these concepts tested with Walnut are likely to launch in the near future.


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