Branding Research is not like other studies
Top branding research, nothing as you’ve seen before
Branding research is what you conduct after you study the problem and hypothesize the solutions.
Most research is hardly worth the paper it is printed on because it is generally devoid of any real insight and illuminates all that is already known.
Socrates taught us that the questions we ask are more important than the answers we proffer.
Nowhere is this more important than in the field of branding research and brand analysis. Asking the right questions reveals the telling answers.
At Resultant Research, we don’t start the questionnaire until well into the branding process because we need to ensure we are testing our hypotheses rather than approaching the market with prejudice.
We find open-ended questions less valuable than questions where the respondents are asked to evaluate pre-set ideas.
Actionable branding research
We make purchase decisions without cognitive understanding. We don’t know why we choose what we choose.
As a result, if you ask why someone chose a particular brand, they will parrot back to you “price,” “convenience,” or “effectiveness.” Those, however, are just the rational reasons we use to justify our decisions, which are almost always emotional.
Do consumers really compare products? In fact, within most categories, prices are similar. Efficacy is the entry price into the category, and convenience is a table stake. What you discover beyond these vanilla issues separates excellent research from the more mediocre. Most branding research simply explores the rational reasons why people decide.
It asks about needs and wants, and usage. It’s OK to ask that, but don’t confuse it with the real reasons we choose. What are the emotional drivers?
The balance between quantitative and qualitative branding research
There are two types of branding research. We conduct both. But our qualitative research is used to help us better develop our quantitative questions. Stealing Share never embarks on a branding project without a research component.
Don’t conduct focus groups
We never use focus groups. Rather than providing clarity to your mission, focus groups cloud the results.
The data is neither valuable nor projectable, and, in our judgment, focus groups waste money. To answer the questions that focus groups typically answer, we conduct one-on-one research that allows us to delve into issues that focus groups stifle. This eliminates the prejudice that exists in peer pressure and group mentality. Because we choose based on emotional reasons, many participants in a focus group are hesitant to say it. Like anything else, asking for an opinion means you’ll get one.
Deciding if that opinion affects behavior, is another matter. Generally speaking, focus groups provide a forum for removing any emotional language from your offering. Yet, it is precisely those emotionally charged issues that are most memorable.
Remove them, and you have vanilla ice cream — few will eat it, and it is rarely the object of compulsion. Focus groups never recommend chocolate. As a result, Resultant Research also does not recommend focus groups as a part of branding research.
Both participants and moderators easily manipulate focus groups. It is not a scientific approach but rather an anecdotal one most companies use to reaffirm what they already want to believe.
In the end, focus groups mean nothing. Your brand is far too important for that. Support the brand with objective, projectable, and scientific research.
Creative testing and name testing
Simply put, name and creative testing cannot be done to satisfaction. Anyone who tells you differently places too much faith in the process. As John Wooden, the fabled coach at UCLA, said, “Do not confuse activity with accomplishment.” Most companies use focus groups to test names – and you already know the truth about focus groups.
When deciding on a name, choose one that reflects your strategy already tested in the quantitative research. If the strategy is based on sound branding research, using precepts to reflect your target audiences, then you only judge the creative work by how effectively it communicates that strategy.
Picture this: An entrepreneur comes to a brand firm with an idea for a new business that allows travelers to rent a car worldwide. He suggests a name.
That brand firm tests it in a focus group. What would you bet the response would be when they asked for opinions on the name — HERTZ? Creative testing is not art. It is a scam.
Strategic branding research
Excellent branding research and brand analysis ask more than a traditional usage and attitude study does. Supplemental research, like focus groups and name testing, is misleading and a waste of money. Click here for more information.
You must ask the right questions to understand your market and to get them to switch to your product or service. To do this, you must uncover brand belief systems.
Quantitative research is the only valid scientific reflection of the market you wish to influence. How you do it is as important as what you do. Click here for more information on methodology.
The Vital Role of Branding Research: Exploring Customer Belief Systems and Values
Building a strong brand identity has become crucial for success in today’s fiercely competitive business landscape. A brand is more than just a logo or a catchy slogan; it represents customers’ perceptions and emotions with a company, product, or service.
As such, branding research plays a vital role in understanding customers’ belief systems and values, allowing businesses to create meaningful connections with their target audience.
Understanding the Power of Branding Research
Branding research is a comprehensive process that gathers, analyzes, and interprets data related to a brand and its target market. It encompasses various methodologies, including surveys (but not focus groups), interviews, and data analysis.
Branding research aims to gain insights into customers’ perceptions, attitudes, and preferences toward a brand.
By understanding consumer behavior’s emotional and psychological drivers, businesses can create branding strategies that resonate deeply with their target audience.
Building Authenticity and Trust
Customers today are more discerning than ever before. They seek authenticity and are quick to detect insincerity or misleading marketing tactics.
Branding research helps businesses align their brand values with customers, fostering trust and loyalty.
By exploring customer belief systems, companies can identify shared values and principles, creating a genuine connection that transcends the mere exchange of goods and services.
Tailoring Brand Messaging
Every successful brand has a unique story; effective branding research helps businesses uncover this narrative.
Companies can tailor their brand messaging to resonate with specific customer segments by understanding customers’ beliefs and values.
This targeted approach ensures that the brand’s communication is relevant and meaningful, capturing the attention and interest of the intended audience.
Identifying Market Opportunities
Branding research goes beyond understanding existing customers and delves into potential markets and untapped opportunities.
By exploring different customer belief systems and values, businesses can identify niche markets or emerging trends that align with their brand’s vision.
This proactive approach allows companies to adapt and evolve their branding strategies to cater to new demographics and capitalize on emerging trends.
Cultivating Brand Loyalty
Loyal customers are the lifeblood of any successful business. Branding research helps companies nurture and retain their customer base by creating emotional connections with their brand.
By understanding what customers truly value, companies can offer tailored experiences, personalized interactions, and exclusive rewards, fostering a sense of loyalty and advocacy among customers.
Informed Decision Making
Branding research provides businesses with data-driven insights that guide decision-making processes. From product development to marketing campaigns, understanding customer belief systems and values helps ensure that all aspects of the brand resonate with the intended audience.
By basing their decisions on research and customer feedback, companies reduce the risk of investing resources in initiatives that might not align with their customers’ preferences.
Differentiation in a Saturated Market
Many industries are saturated with competitors offering similar products or services in today’s globalized marketplace. In such an environment, branding becomes a critical differentiator.
Through branding research, companies can uncover unique aspects of their brand that set them apart from the competition.
Understanding customers’ belief systems allows businesses to highlight their distinctive value propositions and establish a competitive edge.
Creating Emotional Connections
Emotions play a significant role in consumer decision-making. Brands that can evoke positive emotions and resonate with customers’ values create strong emotional connections.
Branding research helps companies understand which emotions are most relevant to their target audience and how to leverage them in their branding efforts.
Emotional connections foster brand loyalty and turn customers into brand advocates, leading to organic word-of-mouth marketing.
Cultural Sensitivity and Global Branding
In an interconnected world, brands often operate in diverse cultural landscapes.
Effective branding research considers the cultural nuances of different markets.
By exploring customer belief systems and values within different cultures, businesses can adapt their branding strategies to be culturally sensitive and relevant.
This approach helps brands avoid cultural misunderstandings or insensitivity, building a positive brand image worldwide.
Branding research is not a one-time activity but an ongoing process that ensures a brand’s long-term sustainability. Customer beliefs and values can evolve, as can market dynamics and trends.
Regularly updating branding research allows businesses to stay attuned to changing customer preferences and adapt their branding strategies to remain relevant and appealing.
Branding Research is Indispensable
Branding research is an indispensable tool for building successful brands. Businesses can create authentic and meaningful connections with their target audience by exploring customer belief systems and values.
Understanding what customers genuinely care about enables companies to tailor their messaging, identify market opportunities, cultivate brand loyalty, and differentiate themselves in a saturated market.
Moreover, it facilitates informed decision-making, cultural sensitivity, and long-term sustainability.
In today’s customer-centric world, investing in branding research is not just an option but a necessity for any company seeking to thrive and flourish in a fiercely competitive business environment.