Branding – The Power of Feedback

Decades ago, free samples were handed out at retailers by ad agencies who armed a salesforce with clipboards ready to record consumer feedback. The questions concerned everything from the color and design of the packaging to the product. The questions asked the consumers:

  • Did they like the product
  • Was it useful, or tasty, or beneficial?
  • Was it appealing?
  • Was it durable?
  • What is its perceived value?
  • How much would you pay for it?


The list went on sometimes for two-three pages while the consumer stood face-to-face with the person asking the questions in a store, or parking lot or on a street. After assembling the answers and sifting through the responses, the company began the process of branding based on the power of feedback.

At the time it was the best there was in terms of customer interaction. What it didn’t account for was the bias that was inherent with in-person feedback. Was the respondent reacting to the product or the personality of the marketing person asking the questions? This became a question of balance for the ad agencies and marketing department.

Test Marketing In Test Markets

Another approach was the test market. Companies and brands relied on ad agencies to point them to the best test markets to introduce their products. These test markets were selected based on demographics that when extrapolated, mirrored the country or region as a whole where the product was to be introduced.

Mid-sized cities were the most often selected test markets. Again these test markets had an inherent bias that shaded the results of the test. Life in a midsize American city was dissimilar from its larger counterparts. Big city commuters had naturally different interests and the free time to peruse them than those in mid-sized cities. Family size, household chores, and expenditures were all drastically different between the test market cities and the centers of populations.

These disparities skewed the results and when the brands or products were rolled out nationwide or regionally, sales were not as predicted. Those that tested well in mid-sized cities sold well in similar cities but not in rural or large population centers.

This led marketing mavens back to the idea of direct response test marketing only re-imagined.

The Blind Test Taste

Next up for brand marketers were the blind taste tests and comparison model. A representative would be strategically placed at shopping centers, community events as well as going door to door. The test was two or more unmarked products; the consumer would try them all and answer prescribed questions.

Ad agencies were hoping that they would receive honest data that would let one product become a clear favorite. Again the question of bias was an influence on the answers. Testers and marketers were often paid by the completed sample questionnaires turned in, which meant the quicker people answered, even if the answers were suggested, the more money the sampler made that day.

2022 Feedback for Brands

Gathr has developed precision feedback methods for companies and brands. They have gathered a diverse Membership of opt-in consumers who are willing to test free samples and provide feedback from the comfort of their homes. Companies and brands that participate in the curated boxes of free samples sent by Gathr can request feedback in many ways.

Gathr can provide consumer feedback through digital or live surveys, seminars, post social media reviews, questioners, and webinars. Using the precision demographics gathered from opt-in members, Gathr can provide the detailed metrics that companies and brands need for new product launches, makeovers, and rebranding.