Test that your marketing is communicating the right messages

1. Print out a large copy of the content that you want to analyze, such as an advertisement, a logo, or a landing page.

2. Based on the content of the marketing asset, brainstorm a list of the messages and feelings you hope consumers will take away.

For example the Old Spice commercials are designed to play with the perceptions of masculinity in a tone-in-cheek manner. They are designed to elicit fun, sexuality, and playfulness.

3. Determine which elements lead to a specific impression.

For example, in the Old Spice example above: The horse pokes fun at classic Mills & Boons novels. The facial expression of the model is obviously tongue in cheek. The setting is over the top idyllic. The pose of the model is a caricature of power poses. The headline shouts the word ‘Man.’

4. Create a spreadsheet with columns for Element, Message, Question, and Answers.

Enter information from your brainstorming sessions into the first two columns of the spreadsheet.

5. For each element, enter questions that you can ask your customers to find out how they perceive it.

Ensure that you ask open-ended questions for a better insight into what your customer thinks about your message. 

6. Survey a selection of customers with the questions you've prepared, using a survey tool like Qualaroo or Hotjar.

7. Enter answers into your spreadsheet, highlighting the most common responses.

8. Collate the highlighted responses and talk them over with your team, using the print-out you created earlier.

9. If your findings don’t align with what you want to communicate, brainstorm ways to improve your messaging and repeat the process.