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Beware of Focus Groups

Igor International, a well-known naming and branding agency, has a new Business Week appearance with a detailed discussion of what focus groups do to the naming process, including this:

Many well-known and very successful names would not have survived focus-group testing, Manning says, because, viewed in isolation, they yield more negative connotations than positive ones. Yet they work fine in the real world. Why? “A target audience never engages in this type of literal deconstruction, only focus groups do,” he explains. “When a name is rolled out, the public’s perceptions are based on the entire experience of the brand. Consumers don’t separate the name from its context.”

The lesson? When they’re under a microscope people will always want to give you the “right” answer – which is not the same as the TRUE answer.

Watch out for what Igor creatively calls “Focus Pocus.”

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