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What is ... ?
What is IdeaMap®?
What is the IdeaMap.NET&trade?
When Should You Use IdeaMap.NET™?
IdeaMap.NET™ vs. Other Concept Testing
Getting Started
Creating and Structuring the Element List
What is a Category?
What are Category Types?
What is an Element?
How do you set up the Element List?<
What are Types of Elements?
What are Text Elements?
What are Text Element Requirements?
What are Multimedia Elements?
What are Visual Elements?
What are Visual Element Requirements?
What is Rating Question?
What is Introductory Page (positioning statement)?
What Data Files do I get During Downloading?

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What is IdeaMap®?
As our world becomes increasingly competitive, business people, merchants, social scientists and laboratory scientists want to understand the mind of the consumer. Until now, much of this understanding has been done through questionnaires; probing what the individual likes, what the individual does, etc.

IdeaMap® is a conjoint technology based upon the scientific method of stimulus-response. The assumption is that a person does not necessarily know, nor can they easily articulate what they want, but they will know it when they see it. Consequently, by inspecting the consumer ratings, the researcher can further understand what the person wants, even though the person could not articulate their desires at the beginning of the interview. Furthermore, if the researcher presents systematically varied stimuli to the person, it becomes possible to discover which particular features of the varied stimuli the person likes and which the person dislikes (again, even if the person could not himself or herself articulate what they liked).

IdeaMap® is a means of testing the persuasiveness, uniqueness, etc. of a large variety of positioning "elements" which may include benefits, product features, product attributes such as taste, texture, etc., names claims, visuals, etc.

IdeaMap® determines the performance of each element individually, even though respondents are rating the elements in combinations which appear as concepts.

This individual measure is possible because any given element appears as a "free agent" within many concepts. We can evaluate the contribution - whether positive, negative, or neutral -- of each element independently. In this way, we can help the client develop a concept that is optimized to be the best it can be. We help clients "Get it right the first time". The eventual concept is "waste free" and each component is expressed in the best possible way.

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What is the IdeaMap.NET™?
The IdeaMap.NET is ASP (Application Service Provider) technology designed to let anyone, anywhere in the world use the power of IdeaMap®. IdeaMap.NET&trade does this by a series of straightforward steps using the investigator's creativity (that's YOU), consumers (or anyone participating in the study), and computers.

The IdeaMap.NET&trade methodology uses interactive statistical properties of experimental design. Its design is limited to a set of fixed layouts. Among its unique features are:
  1. Up to 36 different elements can be tested (at this moment).
  2. No restrictions to how elements can appear together in presented concepts.
  3. No dimensions for forecasting which would be required for a regular Ideamap® .
  4. A variety of preset designs for different category and element combinations.
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When Should You Use IdeaMap.NET&trade?
The first design question is:

Is IdeaMap.NET&trade right for the project?"

There are three possible answers:


In most situations, IdeaMap.NET&trade is likely to be an excellent part of a concept development program! If you have answers to all the points in the initial background discussion, virtually all study design issues are likely to fall into place. Without the answers, much back-and-forth indecision is likely.
"Not yet"
If the project team has no preliminary research, knows nothing about the category, and their marketing possibilities are "all over the place", you are not ready to use IdeaMap.NET&trade. IdeaMap.NET&trade is best used as an optimization tool--making a concept the best it can be. This cannot happen if the basic premise is too broad or if the range of elements tested encompasses too large a range of product options (it's not one product or line anymore; it represents several categories or distribution systems or target users or purchase behaviors). In this case, the client may need to make some basic decisions about:

  1. most immediate action versus later action
  2. most viable from a financial-risk standpoint
  3. most-likely future buyers
  4. greatest volume opportunity
On the other hand, the project team may also need to do some preliminary qualitative research to help narrow down the options, to deepen the understanding of purchase dynamics, or to broaden the vocabulary about the category.


If the project team only has time or funds for one piece of research and they must have a purchase interest score to assess the size of the business opportunity, don't use IdeaMap.NET&trade. IdeaMap.NET&trade cannot provide a hard, quantitative measure of inherent consumer interest in the basic premise.

IdeaMap.NET&trade also cannot measure the degree of interest in integrated concepts, i.e., the strongest study elements in combination. It cannot measure synergy except in so far as a pair of ideas are combined and tested as one element.
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IdeaMap.NET&trade vs. Other Concept Testing
Mode of stimulus presentation and on line data analysis

  • IdeaMap.NET&trade is an interactive technology, in which the respondents are presented with multi-media stimuli (text, graphics), and their ratings are acquired. Furthermore, IdeaMap.NET&trade is a technology which, on an individual basis, analyzes the data and creates an individual model for each attribute, as well as for speed of response.
  • Other procedures are either PC based or present a set of static HTML pages which is not sufficient for a high level conjoint project.
  • Other procedures do not immediately create a model, but rather, just acquire data.
  • If we were to describe the advantages of IdeaMap.NET&trade over current procedures, we would talk about presentation, modeling, and instant optimization capabilities.
  • Most other conjoint methods work at the intellectual level, where the consumer is asked to trade off between two options, after a carefully considered opinion.
  • IdeaMap.NET&trade works at the more emotional, immediate level, where the respondent is presented with a stimulus, and quickly responds.
Speed of Analysis is a Key Technological Advantage

  • Most conventional procedures in conjoint measurement are laborious. The interview requires the panelist to rate full profiles or concepts. [In other cases the consumer selects which element from a pair of elements they prefer--thus giving rise to the appreciation of tradeoff analysis]. The interview is tedious, and the analysis is conducted off-line.
  • In order to secure a competitive advantage, i-Novation Inc. recognized the need to make the data analysis rapid.
  • IdeaMap.NET&trade technology allows for fast turnaround in two steps:
    Step 1: Create the individual additive model showing (for that consumer) the part-worth contribution of every element to the consumer attribute rating.
    Step 2: Optimize a concept based upon the utilities.
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Getting Started
Articulate your problem

What do you want to discover? (This may take some thinking.)

Define research objective

  • Background or current business situation
  • Current advertising and marketing strategy
  • Current user background
  • Future strategic objectives
  • Likely support levels
  • The part this study plays in the overall research program
Define sample requirements

Some examples of samples used in research studies:

  • If you want to re-interest lapsed users while retaining the current franchise, you should interview both current and lapsed users.
  • If you have a new product and can invest heavily to build a user base you may want to interview a broad range of category users.
  • If you have a limited budget you may want to focus your interview on heavy users.
Structure the project

IdeaMap.NET&trade consists of stimuli, and attribute ratings. Think about what you want to present to consumers. When using IdeaMap.NET™ the stimuli (concepts) are made of elements divided into categories to accommodate the experimental design. Each concept represents elements from several categories.

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Creating and Structuring the Element List
Before you create the element list for your study, here are some things you'll need to know...

The category layout of IdeaMap.NET &trade match exactly with one of the templates in the following table. (Note: all categories, for any design, must be the same size):

However, you may have sub-categories that are of different sizes as long as they combine into the overall category layout. Each of the templates allows either for all text categories or for one picture category (the rest is text).

Scenario # Total number of elements Number of categories Elements in each category Elements in each concept (up to) Design Name Concepts tested by a person Each element tested
1 12 4 3 4 PB4L4V 20 5
2 20 5 4 5 PB5L5V 25 5
3 24 4 6 4 PB4L4V 40 5
4 36 4 9 4 PB4L4V 60 5
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What is a Category?
A category is a set of related elements - such as end benefits to the consumer, pictures/videos of the product or that convey a mood, ways that the service can be used, pricing, etc.

  • If a study has more than four (or five depending on the design) categories, not every category will be represented in any one concept.
Note:Non-text categories will always appear at the top of the concept. All elements within a category must be of the same media type.
Category Types
Creating and Structuring the Element List


What is an Element?

·         Words and pictures that convey inherent selling points or characteristics of a product or service can be considered an element. Examples:

"Works from the inside out"
"Gets you where you want to go"
"$4.99 for a package of 12"

How do you set up the Element List?

·         First, you need to know the objectives of your study.

·         Next, you develop elements that present several different ways of communicating each idea.

Elements come from past concept tests, old creatives, the advertising agency, qualitative research, and competitive materials.

·         Then, group the elements together into categories based on similar characteristics.

·         Finally, you will name each category and assign it a two letter code.
Each element within a category is identified by the two letter code and an automatically assigned number.


An element set should present several different ways of communicating each idea.

·         Elements should be grouped together into categories based on their similar characteristics.

·         Elements that target the emotional benefits of a product are especially useful, as are elements that incorporate user imagery.

·         Allow yourself enough time for the edit/approval process of the element list. Once a first draft of an element list is completed it will probably need to be edited not only for grammar and spelling but also for client approval.

·         Make sure there are no typos (use Spellchecker where available) and no duplications.

·         Elements should be typed in the native language of the study.


Types of Elements

Within each category there are elements which support the theme of that category name. There are two (at the moment) types of elements: text and visual. They should range from the single-minded in focus to highly romanced and imagery oriented ideas. Using a wide range of elements lets the sample group help you identify the features, which truly get them interested in trying these products.

Text Elements

Text elements are written phrases, statements, claims, slogans, brand names, prices, etc. They are used to convey a message or a feeling about the subject of your study. Anything that is an inherent selling point or characteristic of a product or service can be considered an element. Elements should be complete thoughts that stand on their own (not parts of a sentence).

Text Element Requirements

·         Maximum element length - 512 bytes (in certain Far East languages one character may occupy 2 or more bytes), including spaces

·         Optimal element length is about 70 characters, including spaces

·         Elements should begin with a capital letter.

·         It is not necessary to insert a period at the end of the element.

Note: Only one element from any category will appear in each concept.

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What are Multimedia Elements?

Visual Elements

In addition to written statements, elements may also be visuals. You can create your own library of visuals. It is important that you know just what is needed in order for the visuals to be scanned (e.g. size and resolution).

There are various kinds of visuals that may be used depending on your needs. For example:

1.        Product or packaging examples or prototypes.

2.        Examples of likely users or usage situations.

3.        Imagery visuals such as those that portray a mood or feeling the product might suggest although not necessarily showing the product.

Visual Element Requirements:

·         May be either color or black and white.

·         Visuals should not be dark - lighter is better, but with good contrast.

·         Size of visuals:  up to 20K

·        File type - JPEG, JPG, GIF.

Reminder Note: There can only be ONE non-text category.

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What is Rating Question?

It is important to clarify what you want to learn about the elements you will be testing. Do you want to know consumer interest or the uniqueness of these elements/concepts, or something else?

The combination of elements – text and graphics -- will create the concepts to be tested. To find out how consumers will react to these concepts you need to create questions on which the concepts will be rated. The learning you want will dictate the questions you ask. You may ask only one question (at this time).

The rating scale for questions in the IdeaMap.NET™ fixed to 1 to 9.

Some examples of possible questions are:

How interested are you in this concept? (1=Not at all interested ... 9=Very interested)
How unique is this concept? (1=Not at all unique ... 9=Very unique)
Is this concept more appropriate for men or women? (1=Only Appropriate for Men... 9=Only Appropriate for Women)

Sample Rating Questions:

How interested are you in this product?

(1 = Not at all interested . . . 9 = Very interested)


How interested are you in this concept?

(1 = Not at all interested . . . 9 = Very interested)


How well does this concept fit the ACME brand?

(1 = Does not fit at all . . . 9 = Fits very well)


How interested would you be in buying this product?

(1 = Not at all interested . . . 9 = Very interested)


How would you expect this product to be priced?

(1 = At a value price . . . 9 = At a premium price)


How interested are you in trying this <product>?

(1 = Not at all interested . . . 9 = Extremely interested)


How new and different is this <product> from those currently on the market?

(1 = Not at all new and different . . . 9 = Extremely new and different)


How believable is it that this product will do what it says?

(1 = Not at all believable … 9 = Very believable)


How UNIQUE is this product?

1 = Not at all unique . . . 9 = Very unique 


How interested are you in this offer?

(1 = Not at all interested . . . 9 = Very interested)


How INTERESTED are you in visiting this website?

(1 = Not at all interested . . . 9 = Very interested)


How FREQUENTLY would you visit this website?

(1 = Very rarely . . . 9 = Very frequently)


How does this ACME concept compare to what is currently available?

(1 = Much worse . . . 9 = Much better)


How well do you think this concept fits the image you have of ACME?

(1 = Doesn't fit at all . . . 9 = Fits very well)


How would you rate this packaging overall?



How similar or different is this coffee package from other coffee packages?

1=Very similar...9=Very different


How much do you like this package?

(1 = Not at all. . .  9 = Very much)


How likely would you be to purchase your favorite coffee in this package?

(1 = Not at all likely. . . 9 = Very likely )


How effective would this package be at keeping cereal fresh after opening?



How easy do you think this package would be to use?



How different is product from those that you currently know?

1 = Not at all different ... 9 = Very different


Compared to current hot cereals, does this product provide...

(1 = Fewer Advantages . . . 9 = More Advantages)


How does this product compare to other <product type> products currently available?  OFFERS...

1 = Less Advantages . . . 5 = Same As Others. . . 9 = More Advantages


How closely does this vignette apply to you?

(1 = Definitely does not apply . . . 9 = Definitely does apply)


How interested are you in trying this product?

(1 = Not at all interested . . . 9 = Very interested)


How believable are the claims for this product?

(1 = Not at all believable … 9 = Very believable)


How likely are you to request more information?



How likely are you to sign-up for this service immediately?


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What is Introductory Page (positioning statement)?

Because the elements for each concept are drawn randomly, there is no means of assuring that the concepts will identify the product category or flavor variant being studied, e.g., elements for a French Dressing study may also sound descriptive of spaghetti sauce or ketchup. The respondent must understand the product context. Therefore, a simple - usually one line - "positioning statement" should be placed on the introductory page, to "name the game they will be playing".

The choice of generic positioning at the beginning of the study could greatly affect respondent evaluations. This should be the simplest statement possible in order to allow the elements to work freely in the test. Exclude any information, which would be an inherent selling proposition. Any benefits or salient features of the product or service would be included in the elements set for testing.

Examples of generic concepts are:

"The concepts you will see refer to ..."

·         ... Cream of Chicken Broccoli Soup

·         ... A line of flavored, instant coffees

·         ... A hard snack for dogs

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