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A picture is worth 1,000 words. Is that a good thing?

Yesterday, while having lunch with a client, I was asked when or if it was appropriate to include images when testing a brand position or messaging platform.

My answer was that it depends.

It depends on what exactly we are trying to learn from the research and where the client/agency is in the development of the ideas.

We all know that a picture is worth 1,000 words.  In this case, that’s the problem.  Including imagery in your testing all but guarantees that those reacting will ignore the words and respond to the pictures.

Don’t believe me?  Pair two or three significantly different images with the same text and test them monadically.

If you are trying to determine whether the substance of the position or message platform is compelling to the market, don’t use any images.  At best, the images will add noise to the data.  At worst, they will significantly change the results.

If you are trying to understand what imagery best reinforces the message or how different imagery emphasizes different aspects of the position or platform, then use images.

About the Author

Ed Erickson is the President of Erickson Research, a Chicago market research consulting firm. You can find Ed on LinkedIn and .

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