icon

BRANDE : blog archives for December 2016

December 9, 2016

Employer Branding Resources

December 2, 2016

What Is Brand Research? (And Why Should You Do It?)

So you’ve read my post “Four Signs You’re Ready to Rebrand” and answered “yes” to one or more of the questions. Time to design a new logo, right?

 

Wrong. The first step in the process, and the most important, is conducting brand research. 

What Is Brand Research (And Why Should You Do It?)

Before you can embark on the exciting and sometimes painful process of re-branding, you need to go beyond theory and acquire actionable knowledge- game-changing insights that can steal market share and drive sustainable business results. That requires brand research. 

It’s safe to assume that in your personal or professional life, you don’t make important decisions without doing  due diligence, so why should your brand deserve anything less?

Don’t drink your own Kool-Aid. Don’t rely on a one-rat lab study. Put together a solid plan incorporating some of these tried and true techniques:

 

1. Qualitative Research (aka “Qual”)

Bring in a small sampling of the “right” types of people and do a focus group, or in-depth interview, online or as a telephone campaign. The questions are open-ended and the answers are subjective. A trained moderator (like me) will probe for deeper perceptions, opinions, and feelings about your topic. Emotional drivers, not rational ones, are what we’re zeroing in on since branding is all about creating emotional connections. We recommend 360 branding that involves both external (consumer) and internal (employee) elements, so you’ll want groups of consumers, vendors, employees, and senior leadership in the mix.
 

2. Quantitative Research (aka “Quant”)

This is most effective when used to validate the findings of your qualitative study. It’s much more objective because well-crafted questions deliver unbiased answers. You can conduct some quantitative research surveys through online tools like SurveyMonkey or Zoomerang. But the trick is getting the right analysis from the data. Make sure that you get a good sample pool by surveying across geography, age, incomes, and skill sets (for employee research).

3. Ideation Workshops

These are useful in creating corporate mission and purpose statements, launching new products or product extensions, or simply taking research findings to the next stage of development. It provides a structured forum for collective brainstorming (where there are no bad ideas!) and can be augmented with trend-panels and outside thought-leaders. Invite 10-20 of your closest multidisciplinary stakeholders for an off-site retreat and let the brand games begin. 

Don’t Try This Yourself

I recommend bringing in an outside party to conduct any type of research. For qualitative, it helps to have an outsider who isn’t afraid of the truth, and who can turn negative discussions into positive opportunities without feeling personally attacked. For quantitative, it helps reassure both internal and external participants that the results are anonymous. Conducting the research off-site also helps persuade subjects to be completely honest instead of just reciting the party line.


Evaluating It All

Since it’s more art than science, analysis is where real branding experts really shine. (There are three sides to every story.) Agencies like Brandemix use the latest tools and technology to analyze the data to create unique messaging and marketing plans that resonate with fragmented groups. It takes experience, insight, and creativity to turn research into tangible business results.
 

Goals

• The first goal is to simply get to truth. How do people really feel about your brand?

• The next goal is align the findings with your company’s mission, vision, and values. If it’s an employer brand, you want to align it with your consumer brand.

 • The third goal is to find your niche, your “white space,” where you can deliver something that no one else can. Again, this applies to both internal and external branding.

 • Another goal is to look at your “As-Is,” your current situation, and to find what opportunities are available to you. Also, what can you learn from your “wannabe’s”? If you “wannabe” like Starbucks, in what ways can you emulate their successes?

In Conclusion

Brand research professionals have more tools available now than ever before. There is no best way to craft the perfect research plan. It’s through careful consideration of objectives, timeline, and budget that a sensible plan emerges. The answers can be painful, and every answer can lead to two more questions, but every question can lead to new opportunities to capture market share in ways never before considered. 

That’s why we do it! Let us do it for you.