We have developed a creative & emotive System 1 based technique to scope with consumers where a brand or innovation could go.

We use this approach to:

  • Creatively explore & precisely define communications briefs
  • Re-position brands for growth
  • Identify the most compelling brand positioning for an innovation (transforming a product idea into a motivating brand idea)
  • Scope and build multiple innovation / NPD ideas

B7 Innovation, the adcept specialists

B7 Innovation, the adcept specialistsB7 Innovation, the adcept specialistsB7 Innovation, the adcept specialists
B7 Innovation, the adcept specialists


B7 Innovation, the adcept specialists
B7 Innovation, the adcept specialists


B7 Innovation, the adcept specialists
B7 Innovation, the adcept specialists
B7 Innovation, the adcept specialists
B7 Innovation, the adcept specialists
B7 Innovation, the adcept specialists


B7 Innovation, the adcept specialists
B7 Innovation, the adcept specialists


B7 Innovation, the adcept specialists
B7 Innovation, the adcept specialists
B7 Innovation, the adcept specialists
B7 Innovation, the adcept specialists


B7 Innovation, the adcept specialists
B7 Innovation, the adcept specialists
B7 Innovation, the adcept specialists
B7 Innovation, the adcept specialists
B7 Innovation, the adcept specialists
B7 Innovation, the adcept specialists
B7 Innovation, the adcept specialists



The problem with concept statements

It all started with a frustration with writing & researching concept statements:

  • they are unrealistic – no one has seen a concept statement before
  • they are unemotional – however hard you try they are essentially a rational argument
  • we can only show people a limited number (around 6): that means we have just one chance per theme of enticing & persuading consumers – this means when a theme doesn’t capture consumers’ hearts we never know if the theme is fundamentally wrong, or if we have just failed to find the right angle


We need to represent the brand or innovation with stimulus that:

  • talks to consumers in a way they find familiar, so it’s realistic
  • can appeal to consumers just like brands do: by shocking, provoking, seducing, charming, informing… so it’s emotionally engaging
  • covers a multitude of angles with real precision

Research stimulus that truly stimulates

How the B7 Adcept methodology works…

Brands communicate rather like people through their advertising, packaging and the product itself:

  • what they say & in what style Advertising
  • what they look like & the clothes they wear Packaging
  • what job they do The Product
We create multiple expressions (Brandcepts) of how a brand could communicate. Brandcepts consist of three types of stimulus: Adcepts, Packcepts & Productcepts that mimic how a brand would normally communicate.

B7 Innovation, the adcept specialists

B7 Innovation, the adcept specialists



The Adcepts are the key

We use the Adcepts to explore what a brand or innovation could say and in what style. Adcepts are deliberately rough looking pieces of potential press-style advertising. We have seen Adcepts that are made to look more finished, each one looking different and as attractive as possible. This is a real mistake. We want consumers to react and talk about the ideas, the benefits, the message – not the format, art direction & font etc.

It also means that some are inevitably more superficially attractive than others – the last thing we want.

giving each idea its best chance

The key is the number of Adcepts we show. In the qualitative research groups we put 80 Adcepts on the wall. This amount of stimulus is certainly highly unusual! No one works with this quantity of stimulus – and it is counter intuitive as normally, the fewer pieces of research stimulus the better. However, if used correctly, it is the key to getting more precise, deeper consumer insight.

We need that quantity because each execution is so precise that we use them like pin-points in the positioning / communication strategy map.

The real advantage of the methodology is that we can show consumers multiple ways of communicating a theme. So we give each theme or NPD idea its best chance of working with consumers.

B7 Innovation, the adcept specialists



Transcending execution

We have seen examples where a few Adcepts are created for each area (so about 20 in total) – this might be a little better than concept statements but it is still not good enough.

The vagaries of the execution will be too dominant. It might be that one Adcept has a better execution than another and that is why a theme is preferred. We need multiple executions for each theme so we can transcend executional details.

We need to ensure that if an area has any potential, at least a few of the Adcepts will represent it in the right way. Developing just a few executions might be less work, but it is too risky.

Another advantage of showing consumers so many executions is that each one remains pure and simple. The fewer executions you have, the longer and more unfocused each becomes.

getting precise consumer insight
(not the ‘creative idea’)

It’s important to note, we are not using the research stimulus to test creative work; the Adcepts are just a means to an end, to get precise deep consumer insight that leads to a precise and compelling direction for the brand / innovation.

Showing consumers real creative research stimulus and finding out why the strongest executions touch their hearts, makes the process of completing a brand positioning statement or communications brief for a brand or innovation so much easier. It is almost as if the brand has made the successful change in direction and we are simply finding out the root of its appeal.

For confidentiality we can’t show examples on our website. More importantly, to get a real feel for what we do, you need to see the full scope of what we create for each project i.e. 80 Adcepts which just isn’t possible on a website – so get in touch and we can take you through some projects

B7 Innovation, the adcept specialists




Benefits of the B7 Adcept methodology Vs. using concept statements

Facilitates large / international teams – multiple individual pieces of research stimulus mean it is easy to include different points of view – by contrast trying to agree on 6 concept statements can be a painful / impossible task!

Gets Agency & client buy in – by scoping and defining the Advertising Brief so thoroughly, both the Advertising Agency and client can be confident and united in the direction before creative work begins.

Gives each idea its best chance – by using multiple Adcepts to communicate an idea, it means we can test every angle possible for each idea and so increase the chance of ‘touching’ consumers with something compelling. This is relevant for positioning themes and of course when scoping multiple innovation ideas.

Precision – The methodology forces us to go and create actual executions rather than merely describing them. By their very nature Adcepts have to have a precise message, style & tone.

Realistic – consumers can contextualise the Adcepts because they are in a familiar format – they can easily compare them to the competition and so assess the relative appeal / uniqueness. The ideas have to compete against each other & win to be noticed and to be picked. Just like real life.

Brings to life – most brand models and communication briefs are based on descriptive words. Words are essential but interpretation can be different – plus many people (especially creatives) respond better to visual stimulus. A collage of generic images is just not good enough. Instead, at the end of a project there is a visual summary of the key Adcepts that define the idea / most compelling positioning precisely.

Breadth – the B7 methodology allows much wider investigation than normally possible which means there is a real confidence that everything has been investigated – no stone left unturned. It allows us to look at the less obvious – which in turn may provide a more original solution.

Speed – although the B7 methodology is more comprehensive, it actually saves time. Instead of spending team time deciding which areas to include and how to merge areas together to get to a manageable amount of stimulus – we simply include all areas.

The ‘killer’ communication brief – provides the confidence to really focus and be single minded. Plus the strategy chosen will have been proven to be inspirational creatively (not just great academically).

Define / create compelling brand positioning – regular brand positioning methodologies just focus on the key questions in a particular proforma – not how to answer them. It is easy to write the positioning of a successful well established brand – that’s because one has the hindsight of great consistent communication. Analyse that communication and the brand models are relatively easy to complete. However, it is a different story if it is a new brand or a brand that needs to re-focus. The B7 methodology gives one ‘hindsight’ now by identifying the most compelling way for the brand to behave; and so we can work back to defining the brand.

Turning an innovation product idea into a brand idea – the B7 methodology can create a distinct personality, character, style and tone for new brands, and so move a rational product idea to a fully fledged brand idea.

B7 Innovation, the adcept specialists



Working with qualitative research agencies

We work regularly with many qualitative research agencies & we have particularly close relationships with:

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We made the decision years ago to work with qualitative research agencies rather than do the research ourselves.

We did this for several reasons:

  • many of our clients have qualitative researchers they know, trust and who know the brand well …and so it makes sense to work with them
  • qualitative research would always be a secondary part of our business – the best researchers are well known and have set up on their own (or are directors at the best qualitative research agencies) and we want to work with the best
  • using a 3rd party ensures the research is completely unbiased

working with advertising agencies

Most clients want to involve their advertising agencies in our projects (which we recommend if it is possible). We’ve worked with many agencies including:

B7 Innovation, the adcept specialistsB7 Innovation, the adcept specialistsB7 Innovation, the adcept specialists
B7 Innovation, the adcept specialists
B7 Innovation, the adcept specialists
B7 Innovation, the adcept specialists
B7 Innovation, the adcept specialists
B7 Innovation, the adcept specialists
B7 Innovation, the adcept specialists
B7 Innovation, the adcept specialists
B7 Innovation, the adcept specialists


Advertising agencies find the B7 methodology useful as:

  • it saves the pain & time agonising over the brief where everybody has different opinions
  • we get buy-in for the communications brief from all the client stake-holders
  • the Advertising Agency does not waste precious creative time testing strategy
  • most importantly, it results in an unusually precise, focused client advertising brief that is completely imbued with consumer insight – the best possible start to the advertising process
  • the communications brief isn’t just consumer insight focused – it has actually been creatively ‘road-tested’ rather than being an academic route that is not creatively fertile

B7 Innovation, the adcept specialists



About B7

B7 is the only agency that specialises in creating Adcepts to scope & define brand positionings, communication strategy and innovation development. B7 was set up to offer a more creative and rigorous way to define brand positionings and communication strategy than provided by the traditional marketing consultancies, brand strategy agencies and NPD agencies.

B7 was founded 10 years ago by Paul Tidmarsh. Previously, Paul was a marketing manager at Unilever and then a director at brand strategy agency New Solutions. There are now three partners and a team of 16 creatives who work in pairs. B7 is based in London but virtually all our projects are global.

Our creatives are from top 20 advertising agencies but they have all gone on to work creatively in other areas too, as this helps give a wider perspective: film directors, novelists, artists…etc. who are then trained in the B7 generative technique that is so different from writing regular advertising.

How we work: creating adcepts is different from creating advertising or concept statements

It may sound counter intuitive but… the quantity of Adcepts created is key to the quality. Unlike traditional advertising where usually just one execution is created, here we are trying to expand out each theme into multiple angles so we can investigate everything that might appeal to consumers.

Creating traditional advertising is based around a ‘challenge methodology’. The creative and then the agency is continually challenging and knocking back ideas – the philosophy is that the weak creative ideas get rejected with only the strongest surviving, being strengthened by the challenges.

The way we work is the opposite. We want breadth to represent each area with multiple angles – not just the ones we feel are most creatively interesting. That means our creative teams work using a generative technique so we can constantly expand the creative angles to represent each idea or theme.

B7 Innovation, the adcept specialists