We discuss the ins and outs of Brand and Advertising research and why it should be the first point of call in your brands market research program.
The Importance Of Checking The Health Of Your Brand
What is a “brand”?
A brand is the sum total of your product’s, service’s, or company’s reputation and visibility in the marketplace. A reputation is the feeling evoked by your brand when consumers think of it. Visibility is the level of recognition your brand has in comparison to your competitors.
What is brand research?
Brand research provides a clear-eyed view of a company’s position in the market, the condition of their competitors, and the brand’s effectiveness in the eyes of consumers. The market research reveals where the brand is weak and highlights its strength. It can also identify inconsistencies, branding failures and successes, and much more.
Insights from brand research will give you ideas and guidance on how to change your branding to make it stronger and to claim more market share.
In this article, we’ll look at what brand research is and what it can do for your business.
Strong brands make more money.
Conducting regular brand research allows you to keep a finger on the pulse of both your brand, and competitors operating in your industry. Market research can help your brand identify opportunities in the market and weaknesses that you can address.
Many firms will wait until there’s a problem before they do brand research. They find themselves playing catch-up with their competitors rather than being out ahead of their industry. While brand research can help when the chips are down, it’s much more powerful when done early.
What should you expect from brand research?
Brand research is meticulous data collection and unbiased analysis that looks at your brand’s reputation and visibility. This will show your brand’s place in the market. This analysis will also show you what consumers perceive are your brand’s unique offering compared to competitors. This differentiation is your competitive advantage.
Brand research provides a well-planned, thorough review of your brand. At its core, brand research allows you to understand how consumers see your brand and your position in the marketplace versus your competitors.
By surveying a sample of consumers in your target market, brand research can provide insight into:
- Competitive analysis – A competitive analysis is a study of your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses, their place in the market, and their visibility. This should be conducted across every possible market and demographic.
- Brand awareness – A look at how readily your brand is recognized by consumers. Your competitors brands will also be include to compare and contrast your relative recognizability.
- Brand perception – Knowing your brand is not the same as having an opinion about it. Brand perception studies will reveal what people think when the see your brand and your competitors’.
- Brand associations – Every brand is associated with certain terms, descriptives, and emotions. This will look at what terms your brand is associated with like bargain, luxury, affordable, and chic.
- Customer satisfaction – How satisfied are customers with your brand? Even if they’re repeat customers, they may not have a feeling of satisfaction about your brand or products.
Why do you need brand research?
As with any planning tool, brand research helps guide your brand in the future. It starts with an assessment of your current situation then looks forward. It allows you to maximize opportunities and minimize threats by being able to see them in the context of your brand identity and consumer perception. It’s also a lateral assessment that tells you where your competitors stand and are going.
A great brand creates loyalty, drives sales, and is part of a long-term engagement with customers. Brand research assesses if your customers are aligned with your brand’s voice and message. This can all determine your brand’s place in the market.
The advantage to a strong brand is that new customer acquisition is less expensive than a brand that’s either unknown or has a negative reputation. Your customers not only will remain loyal but will refer others to you.
A complete study of the environment your brand operates in can help create a launch strategy for start ups. It will help you to see the brand’s assets and weaknesses in the context of creating a new offering. For brands that have a history, it can provide a longitudinal look at consumer perception and experience. It will allow management and ownership to see trends before they become problems.
In the 21st century, much of a brand’s strengths are online. The story of your brand is told on social media, review sites, and more. Given the power of the internet and the millions of websites where people communicate, your brand’s message will travel faster than ever before. This is both positive and negative. A strong brand will grow stronger through the power of social media. If your brand is weak, disorganized, or burdened with a negative image, it can cripple your profits and strangle your business.
How will insights be delivered from Brand Health research?
Once brand research is complete, insights are provided in a comprehensive, highly visual and intuitive report.
A Brand Health study provides insights into:
- Brand Awareness – How well do people recognize your brand?
- Brand Communication – How, where, and how well is your brand’s message getting out?
- Brand Attributes – What are the attributes that consumers associate with your brand?
- Brand Familiarity – How well do consumers know your brand?
- Brand Perception – Do consumers see your brand in a favorable or unfavorable light?
- Brands Purchased – Are consumers purchasing your and/or your competitor’s brands?
- Purchase Frequency – How often are they buying from your or competitors?
- Category Purchased – What category of your offerings did consumers buy in?
- Category Frequency – How often a re they buying a in specific category?
- Brand Intent – Will they buy from you again?
- Affinity – How do they feel about your brand? Loyal? Rejecting?
- Loyalty Analysis -Why are they loyal?
- Competitor Comparison – How does all of this stack up against your competitors?
- Net Promoter Score – How likely are consumers to promote your brand?
Do you need to do brand research?
In the lifecycle of a business there are a number of times when you should consider a brand research:
- A stall in growth
- After a merger or acquisition
- Launching a new service or product
- When your target audience changes
- When your brand feels outdated and stale
- When you’re struggling to attract top talent
- When there is downward pricing pressure
- When new competitors enter the marketplace
Many of these are pivotal moments in a firm’s lifecycle.
These are not the only moments to do brand research. It can be important to do one periodically to avoid things like becoming stale or being forced out by a new, powerful competitor.
Waiting for a large event can create a situation of too little-too late. It’s better to know now than to wait for market pressures to force your hand.
Brand research keeps your firm’s messaging and direction founded on data and facts, not gut-feeling and wishes.
This market research will be able to prove that you’re on the right track; it won’t be a meter of hoping. Getting straight answers will keep everyone in the firm on the same path because you’re able to show that it’s the right path.
Brand research also keeps opinions at bay. Since there are facts and studies to work from, opinions are no longer relevant. This can avoid the types of conflicts that can bring down companies. Using facts will create one message and company-wide consensus.
Beware the echo chamber
One of the ways that businesses lose touch with their brand strengths is that they get into an echo chamber. The only voices they hear are those that are fans or are sympathetic.
A brand audit delivers the unvarnished truth of what your brand stands for and what its weaknesses are. Without that, every advertising dollar and much of your time is wasted.
Start your brand research today
If you’ve never done brand research or you haven’t done any in the past two or three years, now is the perfect time. Get a sense of your brand.
In the first quarter of 2020, the entire world economy changed. With it, the number and consumer view of brands. That makes now the perfect time to do brand research.