Clear Thinking - The Business Experience



The Business Experience
Ideas Consultancy in Improving Organisation
and Team Performance

AdQA – Communications Pre-Testing & Improvement

What is AdQA? ... Advertising Quality Assurance

AdQA simulates the  Customers' Viewpoint
on your communications

... from "What's that about?" to "How do I buy it?"


AdQA is both creative and analytical

AdQA spots message problems and stimulates ideas for improvements

AdQA replicates how your target audience/customers are likely to react when they encounter your communications.

AdQA is an objective, dispassionate, rigorous system of Customers' Buying Questions, Communications Quality Assurance Questions, Effective-Communication Tests, and Ideas Prompts ... developed by Buyers. 

AdQA can be used to create ideas for, or test and improve the effectiveness of, any form of communications, ideally before issue (pre-testing). From adverts, exhibition stands, and websites, to brochures and selling.

Desperation...Pacification... Expectation...Acclamation...Realisation
Key stages in communications towards satisfying customers' needs/wants

 "Let's look at this from your potential customers' perspective"

See below for:

Applying AdQA to any form of communications, even a single sign or slogan
AdQA Buying Questions (questions all customers ask, mostly unconsciously)
AdQA Message-Delivery QA Questions (how your message is seen or heard)
AdQA Effective-Communication Tests (eg any possible confusion?)
AdQA Ideas Prompts (prompting good 'answers' to those Buying Questions)
How AdQA was created - from experience in purchasing (the buyer's viewpoint)

There’s only one expert judge of your communications

... and it isn't you!

There is only one ‘expert’ judge of your communications … Your Target. They are the only people who can decide if it is effective or not. The problem is getting his/her honest, detailed, analytical, and creative opinion and feedback.

AdQA is the detailed, critical, and constructive articulation of the customer’s viewpoint on your communications that no real potential customer would be able, or willing, to provide.

 You can use AdQA to test or improve any individual communications

... or stimulate ideas for new campaigns or products and services

... or solve campaign problems

You can apply AdQA to any comms need or specific item of communications (eg an advertisement, website, exhibition stand, brochure, sales pitch, presentation, signage ...) to:

♦ create ideas for new communications campaigns. Even for new products and services that customers would want to buy.

pinpoint potential barriers to effectiveness (and therefore sales) eg any mistakes, potential confusion or ambiguity, difficulties finding information, credibility issues, incoherence, distracting design issues, readability or visibility problems, etc 

stimulate ideas for improvements to communications, or solutions to 'barriers'.

solve problems with underperforming campaigns. AdQA will help you identify the causes and stimulate ideas for solutions.

AdQA Buying Questions


Many communications we encounter fail right at the first stages, especially exhibition stands and selling.

These are up to 20 Key Buying Questions all customers ask (mainly unconsciously) when they encounter any new communications.

Beginning with the customers' initial awareness stages, when they first become consciously aware of your communication 
... through the influencing stages where your communication attempts to explain what you are selling (or telling) and why customers' should buy it from you (or take action) 
... to the final buying action stages eg "How do I buy it?".

AdQA Message-Delivery Quality Assurance Questions

AdQA also poses message-delivery Quality Assurance Questions - the clarity, ease or difficulty in seeing or hearing your message.

Many communications we see risk losing 50% of their target audiences simply because of the way they have been designed. Basic neuroscience.

 AdQA Effective-Communication Tests

One Presidential nomination speech was ruined due to a Verbal Tic: "You know"

Over 75 Effective-Communication tests can be applied to every word, phrase, sentence, paragraph, or image in the communication. For example: “Meaning?”, or "Alternative Meanings".

A six-word TV advertising slogan famously killed off an FT100 company brand. One AdQA Test would have spotted the 'obvious' 'How it comes across' error within 10 minutes.

 AdQA Ideas Prompts


AdQA Prompts are generic suggestions that stimulate effective ‘answers’ to the Customers' Buying Questions.

Prompts are used to generate ideas for new comms or resolve problems unearthed by the Buying Questions and/or to create ideas for solutions or improvements. Each Prompt is an ideas-generator.

How was AdQA created?


From combining our experience in Marketing & Selling, Purchasing, and
Quality Assurance

AdQA developed from our founder Michael Barrett's experience of switching careers from Sales & Marketing to Purchasing. He realised that the customer's perspective was the polar opposite of the marketer's - and that it was very difficult for any seller to see or hear their communications from the customers' viewpoint.

This was confirmed by attending trade exhibitions as Buyers. Up to 20% of stands displays failed to answer the customers' first (key) Buying Question in the time it takes to walk by, as little as 5 seconds. Similar message problems were found with advertising, selling, brochures, websites, presentations, lengthy reports, signs, and slogans - even by experts in communications. 

  Why should I need AdQA?  10 reasons why communications go wrong. 
Four ways to apply AdQA 
Like more information?

Email us at for details and (minimal) fees to get AdQA protection and ideas-stimuli for any of your communications messages.