GutCheck Gets a “Gut Check,” Part 2: 4 Essentials for Effective Brand Messaging

As some of you may already know, GutCheck went through a brand refresh at the end of 2014. In true research fashion, it was important to us that we test and validate our positioning as 2015 began. Within that, we wanted to get a quick consumer read on our (at the time) current logo to ensure it accurately represented who we are, where we’ve been, and where we’re headed — without slowing down our branding and messaging initiative timelines. The research results took our logo in a “clean and modern” direction, and after iterating through several versions, we landed on a winner, backed by customer and employee responses.

The directional feedback we received for our logo refinement was so helpful that when it came time to create our company overview video, we again decided to practice what we preach and reached out to our targeted respondents to get a quick read on our animatic.

The Research

In order to further improve brand messaging and increase outreach, we wanted to develop an educational video to provide an overview of services and products available for our clients. With the main goal of determining opportunities to improve the video before it would be more fully produced, we launched an Instant Research Group to understand initial impressions of the storyboard, as well as evaluate each slide to determine what respondents like and dislike in particular. The detailed consumer feedback we received through our qualitative approach allowed us to identify areas of confusion and helped us uncover 4 important areas to focus on when it comes to effective brand messaging.


“Simplistic,” “informative,” and “interesting” were some of the adjectives respondents used to describe the parts of the video that explain the different scenarios leading up to the solutions the GutCheck team offers its clients. Since we had an objective of clearly and simply conveying how our solutions work, in an educational manner, this particular feedback helped shed some light on internal hypotheses around how our communications would be received by all types of audiences.

IRG Respondent

My saving grace, GutCheck will verify that my decision is the right one or maybe I made a mistake. Consumer feedback will guide the decision making process for me.

Male, 35

It’s important to point out that our audience for this phase of research was not comprised of current customers or employees like our logo-testing phase; it was general population. Being able to receive feedback from those who may not be familiar with our industry was invaluable in gauging the clarity of our messaging. Although most of our customers have been doing market research for years, we also happily work with those who are new to market research and value their opinions highly.

In terms of keeping things simple, of course, there are situations where pulling out all of the bells and whistles may be the most effective way to get your brand’s message across. But in the case of our research, people appreciated the “concise and to the point” delivery.

IRG Respondent

Concise and easy to understand. I don’t dislike anything. It makes very logical points on why you should consider getting a quick consumer read for verification.

Male, 55


IRG Respondent

… I think they realistically portray the roadblocks that researchers commonly run into and can relate to, so they do a good job of selling GutCheck’s services.

Female, 53


Our respondents paid extra attention to the storyboard slides they could relate to, whether that meant they were familiar with the importance of backing business decisions using consumer feedback, or that they simply understood what it feels like to find yourself facing an unexpected developmental issue and in need of help. Even though these respondents were in different industries, they could still relate to changes coming in last minute, ideas being changed, edits being thrown in or thrown away, etc., during the creative thinking process.

For us, telling our full story also meant highlighting the partnership we like to create with each one of our clients. It was important to clearly express our intentions of becoming more than just a vendor to our clients; we aim to become an extension of their team. Being able to read so many responses about how this part of our messaging came through effectively was reassuring.

IRG Respondent

It piqued my interest that GutCheck becomes ‘a part of my team.’ This gave me confidence that I will not lose control by sending my questions over to GutCheck and assured me that they are willing to work with my company.

Female, 21


It may not be easy to hear that one of your concepts didn’t perform well, and sometimes it might feel strange to be grateful your idea was ripped apart. The truth is it’s equally important to face the shortcomings and faults as well as the strengths during innovation and development.

Even though our qualitative research results are meant to be directional and not necessarily prescriptive, it’s important to think about any areas of confusion or red flags that come up in the discussion. In our case, as we analyzed the qualitative feedback for our animatic, we realized there was some confusion around one of the most important pieces of our messaging. The constructive feedback we received also offered up a few suggestions about how to better emphasize what the entire process is like and what the end of the road/results look like.


Once you’ve narrowed down the most crucial changes you and your team would like to implement, it’s time to refine!

We knew there was room to improve the clarity around “quick consumer read.” So we included a section to break out the phrasing, word by word, to better explain the meaning behind such an important part of our messaging. We also knew there was a desire among respondents to be able to see a quick wrap-up to our story. As a result, we added a final, small explanation of the GutCheck process to tie everything up.


Why It Worked

Without the consumer feedback we received on our animatic, we wouldn’t have had the insights into the areas that fell flat and caused confusion—two reactions that are not ideal when it comes to brand messaging. But because we were able to quickly get into and out of field, we were able to assess these red flags without delaying our timeline to launch our video.


Watch our refined company overview video here!

If you’d like to learn more about how your company can leverage our qualitative Instant Research Groups to uncover opportunities for improvement or strengths to highlight for any copy, product, or concept you have questions about, request a demo today!