“The question was simple, if this wasn’t Toyota, would anybody even care?“David J. Bland, Co-Author of Testing Business Ideas

Although Off-Brand Testing or Off-Brand Experiments are a type of A/B test, I think they’re worth looking at independently.

While A/B tests generally use your company’s branding and official channels, off-brand experiments are run in anonymity.

Mature organizations usually have more to lose by running experiments than startups. Off-brand tests allow them to run experiments while minimizing the risk to their brand equity. It’s also a way to avoid skewing perception due to brand association. Toyota, Dell, and NatWest are examples of large companies that have run off-brand experiments to gauge market demand.

With off-brand testing, the product is presented using a no-name brand or without any branding.

As with A/B tests, off-brand experiments need homogeneous segments, an experiment, and success or failure criteria.

Because of the complexity of creating no-brand versions of products, off-brand experiments are mostly used to gauge market demand, for example evaluating conversions on landing pages.

This type of test can be used to reveal if there is merit in an idea independent from an established brand, whether there might be an opportunity for a breakout product, whether a different value proposition could work best, or if other segments could be of interest to the organization.

Setting up Off-Brand Experiments

To run an off-brand test, first determine what you are testing:

  • a product;
  • a segment;
  • a value proposition; or
  • branding elements.

You should create a landing page, and confirm interest through sales or sign-ups. If you’re trying to compare performance against your current product, use your existing benchmarks as comparison points.

You can capture traffic with your current ad targeting if you are running ads, or by creating new ad targeting to reach the desired audience. If you intend to do that, consider first testing the quality of sign-ups.

By segmenting results and breaking them down by sub-segments, you may be able to find early adopters who feel the pain more acutely than others.

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This post in an excerpt from Solving Product. If you enjoyed the content, you'll love the new book. You can download the first 3 chapters here →.

Categories: Customer Research Technique