SPLIT SECOND RESEARCH provides implicit research services for understanding all customer touchpoints, from new product development, to advertising, to the product experience itself. We identify the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats to your brand using implicit and explicit research methods.

Brand Equity

This is a concept which relates to brand values. The emphasis here is on the consumer’s perception of a brand’s values and the image the brand conveys. Very often a brand team will try to promote certain values in their products and services. The marketing tries to convey the brand values. For example, Coca Cola might try to promote values such as ‘fun’, ‘refreshing’ or ‘cool’. The question is whether the consumer recognises those values in the brand or not and an implicit test will tell you whether they indeed do, or if in fact, they associate different values with the brand or even associate those values with a competitor brand.

So implicit testing helps the brand team know whether the brand messaging is being perceived appropriately by consumers. It gives insights into how a brand is being perceived and the values associated with it. Armed with this knowledge, the brand team can therefore increase the positive perception of the brand.

Brand Positioning

This is why brand equity is important, because a brand doesn’t just promote its values in isolation of other brands and products, it is promoting them in competition. You need to know how your brand is positioned against its competitors in the eyes of consumers.

We’ll ask you to think of 20 or so attributes relevant to your product.

Through implicit testing, we will be able to find out which attributes consumers have most associated with your product, versus what they have associated with a competitor. This will give strong insights into how your brand is positioned between competitors as well as a profile of your brand and your competitor brands.

Interestingly, in traditional research, such as questionnaires and focus groups, consumers who are consciously fans of your brand might over-generalise their feelings and agree with all positive attributes to justify why they like your brand. This isn’t especially useful when trying to accurately determine attributes. With implicit tests, consumers are actually more discriminating than they are when you invite them to give verbal responses. This results in a more interesting and useful read from consumers which gives much more information to work with (especially for your creative team) in order to improve brand positioning.

Brand Tracking

Brand tracking is useful for businesses or products that are slightly more volatile in terms of competition or events that can happen within the market (although there aren;t many brands who don;t qualify here). Split Second’s Implicit tests, unlike sales figures, don’t just tell you whether people are buying or not; they tell you exactly why. By continuously tracking your brand positioning or values, a brand can gain insight as to how certain events have changed perception of the brand.

An example would be the effect on supermarkets of the horse meat scandal way back in 2015. By tracking their brand through implicit tests, a supermarket could evaluate how consumers feel about their products before and after the scandal and work out the exact attributes they need to work on in their campaigns.

Depending on the type of brand and the volatility of the market, implicit tests can be done fortnightly, monthly, or after every new campaign. The tests would use brand attributes and put them against your brand and your competitor brands to provide a comparison. Providing a regular read is particularly useful in highly competitive industries or if something changes in your brand, for example, a new sponser, negative publicity, or a production mistake.


Our advertising tests are slightly different to our brand equity tests. We do a before and after test. We want to know how consumers feel about the brand before the advert and then again after having seen the it.

Done implicitly we can show significant changes on an array of 20 or 30 attributes.

A typical usage could be comparing two or more creatives to understand which creative is most successful in delivering brand values and attracting consumers.

To whom is your advert targeted? With advertising material, we recommend applying tests on a range of demographics, for example, young or old, male or female, loyal customers or lapse customers. This gives a study the effects of the advertising material on each demographic to enable a business to better target its advert.

It doesn’t just tell you which creative is better, it tells you why and how. It gets below the superficial.


When considering the design of your packaging, it is very useful to figure out which asset of your design is doing the heavy lifting. Is it your logo which stands out the most? Or do people strongly associate your brand with a certain colour?

Do you own a feature? Do they really associate your brand with a specific colour? How strongly is a particular feature associated with your brand?

With Implicit testing, we can compare several package designs against several positive and negative attributes in order to determine which is most successful and why. We can also determine exactly which features of the packaging, such as the colour, the material, the font, or the claim, is working the most at attracting and keeping customers. This will enable a company to hone in on these iconographic features whilst also giving insight into how to improve them.


Claims made on marketing materials and packaging can shape how consumers feel about the brand. Split Second Research can test new and existing claims, as well as those of competitors, to determine their effects on consumer perception and intent to purchase. These tests can establish how plausible the claims are in the eyes of the consumer, what they associate with them, and whether the brand owns the claim. Fans of your products are your biggest critics. So it is incredibly valuable to know what they think – implicitly of course. Brands cannot afford to ignore perception of potential customers too as claims offer a great route into penetration. We find that certain types of claims can work extremely well with certain types of products. Useful to research claims on packaging and adverts. We also test taglines and brand propositions.

Split Second Research recommends their implicit reaction time tests to identify product claims. Neuro-cognitive research has shown that much of our behaviour is driven by processes that operate below our conscious awareness, which implicit reaction time tests can tap. We also recommend using our forced-choice claim assignment test so that we obtain implicit and explicit consumer evaluations, which can lead to deeper insights than either alone. We can develop a formula for determining what types of claims your brand should be using and which ones it should avoid.

Product Extensions

So you might have a master brand and on the back of its success develop a new range or extension. The key question is how will your new range be perceived? Will it ride on the success of the master brand or could it potentially damage the master brand? Dove’s master brand might be its lotions for skin care, but how would a new range of cosmetics (lipsticks, foundations, mascara, and so on) be perceived by consumers? Would the Dove brand values be transferred onto your their new cosmetic producst? What would the risks be? What would the opportunities be?

With new brand concepts, new adverts, new claims, new packaging comes a sceptical consumer.

They may often tell you they don’t like your ideas, yet since they can’t fake an implicit test, they may reveal the many different ways in which they actually like your product and feel very warm towards it.

Implicit & Pricing: Price Promotions, Setting a Price, and In-Store Marketing

We know that shoppers can only pay attention to a small fraction of the items in a store and that consequently the factors that affect their purchasing decisions operate subconsciously and habitually. One way of increasing consumers’ attention to a brand and hence influence their purchasing decisions is to offer a sales promotion, such as a price reduction, volume discount, special display, contest, and coupons, to name a few.

Some recent research has suggested that such promotions can negatively affect a brand’s values, such as its image and its perceived quality, authenticity, popularity, and so on. This is important, since the initial gains made from a promotion may adversely affect future sales.

Our own research clearly shows that consumers do make strong discriminations at the subconscious level when perceiving a range of price promotions. Our findings suggest that some pricing offers work well in some retail contexts but less well in others. While some brands can be strongly negatively impacted by a sales promotion, other brands can benefit considerably, raising their existing brand values. More research is needed to broaden our understanding of sales promotions and their impact on the brand to guide marketing strategies.

Implicit testing in pricing is shown to be an effective approach for understanding more objectively, subconscious ways of perceiving brands, sales promotions, and pricing strategies. To view shoppers as rational consumers who actively compare and contrast the pros and cons of different brands of the same product type may be inaccurate. Instead, shoppers appear to develop short-cuts and intuitive ways of selecting products.

Biometric Testing

Split Second Research offers a suite of biometric tests for measuring responses to fragrances, flavours, and other brand stimuli. These physiological measures include heart-rate, electrodermal response (galvanic skin response), breathing rate to record emotional responses to brand stimuli. We can also measure bio-markers such as cortisol through salivary cortisol response test kits.

Testing can be done at a variety of locations in the UK. Working with our partners, we can set-up labs in many parts of the world. We’ve run these in the UK, US, Singapore, Vietnam, Russia, to name a few.

A full list of our services

  • Brand Equity
  • Brand Positioning
  • Brand Tracking
  • Advertising Evaluation
    • TV adverts
    • Radio adverts
    • Print adverts
    • Political speeches
    • Marketing videos
    • Websites
    • Other marketing materials (e.g., out of home)
  • Packaging
    • New pack designs
    • Comparing packaging with competitors
    • Front of pack compared with back of pack designs
  • New Product Development
    • Comparing new products with nearest competitors
    • Benefits of new product features
    • Risks of removing product features
    • Understanding how consumers perceive the existing product vertical
  • Product Claims
    • The perceived value of a product’s claims
    • Real-time Monitoring of Media Content
    • Moment-to-moment implicit perception of a video clip, advert or speech
    • Frame by frame analysis
  • Implicit testing and pricing
    • The implicit effect of a price promotion on a brand’s image
    • Using implicit data to set the price of a product
    • In-store marketing and ways of grabbing attention
  • Eye-tracking
  • Biometric recording
    • Electrodermal response (emotional arousal)
    • Heart rate (positivity/negativity)
    • Breathing rate (emotional engagement)

Assessment through implicit reaction time tests, traditional survey techniques, and time-constrained forced-choice tests.

Our analytic tools help to identify the opportunities for new prospects and the risks to existing customers of your marketing plans.

Our analytic tools also apply economic algorithms to determine the return of investment of your marketing materials and campaigns.

Our service is international and our tests can be translated into any language.

Our online tests can be taken on most computing devices (desktop, laptop, tablet, smart phone) and any platform (Windows 7 and above, Apple IOS, android, Windows mobile).

We respond quickly to our clients’ needs – surveys can be run from start to finish as quickly as one week, and projects with broader scopes can be up to six weeks in duration.

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