What is
Blind Testing?

Blind testing aims to assess a product on the its intrinsic merits by hiding any reference to the wider brand. This avoids results being influenced by any halo effect/negative associations set up by previous experiences.

What are the aims of Blind Testing?

This approach is effective in giving market researchers a clear picture of the test product's absolute appeal relative to those of competitors/previous versions of that item. For brands struggling for appeal, this can be useful in establishing whether issues are rooted in a brand’s image or the products themselves. For brands with high appeal, it’s helpful to understand whether its products are actually ‘good’ or whether ratings are flattered by brand halo.

How is Blind Testing undertaken?

In conducting this type of research some respondents are shown items in a blind context and other respondents see them in a branded context. This means the two sets of results can be compared and the ‘brand effect’ established. It’s important to keep things as ‘real’ as possible, but this is much easier said than done! Here are a few tips:

  • keep decisions quick – agonised assessments will generate a false read by forcing respondents into an over-rationalised space

  • rotate the order in which products are seen – otherwise responses will be anchored against the first item shown

  • if you’re researching a particular aspect (e.g. quality or fashionability) always ask ‘how much something is liked’ ahead of asking about that aspect – we project positive qualities onto things we like so we need to adjust results for this bias

What’s an example of a Blind Test?

The Pepsi Challenge is a famous example of a blind test and demonstrates the point that products which ‘win’ in blind tests may not win in terms of long-term usage. Pepsi knew via its own research that its sweeter product tended to win in ‘sip tests’ so was confident of the outcome of the Pepsi Challenge. It took a long time for Coke to realise that if people had been asked to drink Pepsi for a week, Coke (a less sweet product) would have come out on top! Failure to recognise this difference led Coke to the disastrous launch of New Coke.

What is Blind Testing?