Every business is constantly seeking new strategies to achieve a competitive edge, but this doesn’t always result in them introducing an innovative product or service. We often see a lot of competition no matter what industry you are in but very little uniqueness or differentiation. Companies that claim to be unique yet can only show minor differences.
It’s necessary to have great products, personality, as well as messaging, whether you’re starting a new brand or upgrading an existing one. Your brand is the face of your company, but it cannot rely on the design features and aesthetics that you find appealing. Rather, it must be appealing to and relatable to your target audience.
So what’s the best method to balance your opinions with the expectations of the user? The simple answer is Brand research.
How do you distinguish yourself from the competition and avoid falling into the identical messaging trap? Once again, brand research is the answer. This article gives you a comprehensive guide to brand research, what it is, and how it’s done.
What is Brand Research?
Brand research is a process of collecting data on your brand and analyzing the results to explore your reputation and visibility to help understand the marketplace and the business’s role in it.
A brand is more than just the goods and services it provides; it also has a personality, a visual identity, goals, and a reputation in the minds of its consumers. A brand’s reputation, status, and place in the market will depend on the user’s perception of the business.
By conducting brand research, you can learn more about the qualities that actually differentiate you from the competition in the eyes of potential customers. Your competitive edge is a term that is frequently used to describe these traits.
Most brands are more complex than the products they market. They have a group of concepts related to their “personality” and target user. This might be a recognizable symbol, like the golden arches of McDonald’s or perhaps the “swoosh” of Nike. It also relates to the brand’s fonts, colors, and tones.
The fact that brand research is always conducted in comparison to the competition is a significant factor. Through objective, insight-based ideas and suggestions on product, service, or customer service initiatives, brand market research aids in achieving a competitive advantage.
With the use of effective research, marketers, planners, and strategists can make validated decisions on the target audience, price, positioning, designs, and any other business initiative.
The Importance of Brand Research
Research demonstrates that companies that perform brand studies expand faster and are more profitable than those that do not.
Conducting brand research could be a method for you to build on your brand identity and optimize your marketing strategy. Whatever your motivation, the key aspect of brand research is to comprehend the viewpoints of two distinct groups: your exterior consumers, clients, and users, as well as your internal employees, investors, and stakeholders. To ultimately design the future of your brand with the users and internal business in mind.
We all consider ourselves experts regarding our brands, so it’s important to stand back and consider the perspectives of those who aren’t as familiar with them. There are probably some features you adore, but your consumers don’t connect with, as well as some features you’re thinking about eliminating but which your customers really enjoy.
Without considering the perspectives of those who are already aware of your brand and those who are just learning about it, you risk moving forward with projects that hurt the business.
By doing research, you can be positive that you are moving in the right direction, which will save you time and money in the long run. As you might have assumed, brand research can provide you with accurate answers to questions like which aspects of your business your customers value most or which services they would like to see.
There is one more significant advantage that many businesses ignore. Everyone feels free to express an opinion despite the lack of reliable facts. Research can offer unbiased advice and aid in bringing your management team together if there is a disagreement on the course that your company should pursue. Consensus is simpler to reach when data takes the place of opinion.
The Benefits of Brand Research
It is necessary to understand the return on investment when businesses invest millions of dollars in their brands. In order to improve the consumer experience, brand research is the first step to take. As we’ve already mentioned, research inspires analysis, which inspires action. And that should improve the appeal to your intended audience. Customer retention will increase due to better customer and brand experiences, which will positively impact brand recognition and loyalty.
Thus, this type of research is iterative. On a path of continuous improvement, it ultimately helps constantly improve your initiatives and build a brand that you and your customers love. Some of the outstanding advantages of brand research include:
Identify Market Opportunities
Market research is necessary for all businesses, not just those starting out or introducing new assets. Periodically carrying out brand research might aid in identifying fresh chances for development and expansion. For instance, you might learn:
You might discover untapped markets that, like your current clients, could profit from your goods or services. They could not be familiar with your company yet or believe that your products are aimed at someone else. Customers from a different age group, gender, financial bracket, or geographic area, for instance, could make up this segment. You might need to make one small change to your product or marketing plan to gain access to a completely new clientele.
Market research can point out potential flaws in your products or services that, if fixed, might increase customer satisfaction and help you draw in more clients. Additionally, you can come across chances to provide extras, product bundles, or even other upsells that cater to consumer preferences and boost your revenue.
Develop a Unique Brand Identity
Making a logo alone won’t help develop a brand identity. A logo can represent a company, but a brand is more than just a logo. In reality, designing a logo is only a minor first step toward establishing a distinctive brand identity. People who support what your business has to offer are drawn to it by a strong brand identity that has a face, can be trusted, and has a mission. However, once they start using the product, that same brand identity makes them feel a sense of belonging. You can establish the brand identity with the aid of thorough and well-executed brand research. Conducting market research is the initial stage in developing a brand identity, just like it is with any other part of launching a business.
You must be clear and comprehend these five aspects:
It goes without saying that different people have different desires. Generally speaking, you can’t market to a college student the same way you would market to an executive with 10-plus years of experience. To build a brand that people adore, it is essential to understand what your consumer wants from a company in your market. Conducting research to understand your target audience is important for your brand identity.
2. Value Proposition & Competition
What distinguishes your company in your field? What do you have to offer that the other businesses don’t? Building a great brand requires understanding what sets you apart from your competition. Observing your competition can also help you learn which branding strategies are effective and which ones are not.
You are aware of your company’s services, but make sure your mission statement is concise and explains your vision and objectives. In other words, be aware of your company’s goal; without this knowledge, it will be difficult to give it a personality. Be willing to stand up for what you believe in. Customers are drawn to brands that share their beliefs now more than ever. Infuse your goal and vision into all you do, and seek connections with individuals and groups with similar beliefs.
Even if you might not be branding a particular individual, you can still be approachable while creating a brand image. Use your typeface, colors, and graphics to convey the brand’s personality. Then use your words to amplify that visual representation: Are you a sassy, self-assured company like Adidas? Or are you as sophisticated and refined as Haute couture? In either case, make sure to create your brand as a strategy to advance your company.
Even while research can be tedious, the better your brand identity will be, the more you will understand about your industry.
5. SWOT Analysis
Lastly, conducting a SWOT Analysis will help you comprehend your brand better. You can uncover traits you wish to represent in the brand by taking into account the brand’s attributes.
SWOT refers to:
Strengths: Elements of your company’s operation that provide it an advantage over its competitors.
Weaknesses: Qualities that prove to be damaging to your company.
Opportunities: Developments and trends in your industry that can benefit your company.
Threats: Aspects of your company or surroundings that could harm your business.
Understand Consumer Perceptions
Brand perception in marketing refers to how customers think and feel about a business or item. It refers to how the target audience interprets and responds to brand encounters, experiences, and messages. Your brand’s perception is influenced by obvious factors like advertising, word-of-mouth, as well as customer service, in addition to less evident ones like colors.
Brand popularity and brand penetration are synonymous. It is determined by dividing the number of users who make at least one purchase of a particular brand or category of goods by a specified time period by the amount of the relevant market population. You can calculate the percentage of brand penetration by multiplying that value by 100. These percentages are then contrasted with industry norms to see whether your charges are on the level with or higher than those of your competitors.
A brand penetration strategy is a useful tool for accelerating brand equity and perception growth. Brand research is conducted to determine the percentage of your target market that really uses your brand. Fortunately, measuring brand image is simpler than you would imagine. Here are some of the simplest methods for learning how clients and prospects see you.
1. Customer Outreach
Reaching out to your customers is now simpler than ever, thanks to email lists, online review sites, and social media. Would you like to discover what customers think of your goods or services? Or how can they be improved? Send them a survey and ask for their feedback on how you can do better.
2. Brand Perception Surveys
Think about conducting a brand survey with a tool like Poll the People, you can ask users open-ended questions or ask them to give an A or B answer. You can ask your customers the following questions to get more general feedback on what they value:
- What importance do you attach to a brand’s alignment with your personal values?
- How much will a company’s reputation influence your choice to use its goods or services?
- How much does our brand’s customer service affect how you view it?
These questions can help you better understand what clients want from a company and offer insightful advice. For instance, you can implement efforts to speed up response times if you think you offer excellent customer service, but your clients feel you could be more responsive.
3. Social Media
Yes, you can spend time perusing your Twitter feeds and pertinent tags, but you could find that automating the process with social listening tools is more effective.
Through social media channels, brand perception can be tracked and measured by social listening tools. By examining online interactions, businesses can learn how customers feel about your brand, what they are saying, and what needs to be improved.
There are numerous options for social listening software, each with special features and advantages. The most well-known ones are Talkwalker, Brandwatch, and Hootsuite Insights.
4. Brand Audits
An in-depth audit of how consumers and other stakeholders view a company’s brand, known as a brand audit, enables firms to pinpoint key areas for growth and change.
An audit often entails the following:
- Surveying customers and other stakeholders and holding focus groups.
- The examination of news coverage, social media activity, and other data sources.
After that, you can utilize this data to produce a thorough report explaining your brand’s strengths and weaknesses.
Brand audits can be crucial for companies trying to enhance consumer impressions of their brands. Businesses can change their image by knowing how consumers and others view the organization.
5. Evaluate Potential Names and Logos
A company’s brand name and logo are crucial in shaping its image and can set it apart from competitors. Your brand will be successful if its name and logo convey good values and draw in the target market.
For brand identification and awareness, your company’s name and logo are crucial because they can serve as the catalyst for word-of-mouth advertising. These elements have the ability to make or break a business.
The best name for a business can be found with a simple brand name test. Asking your target users to choose between two potential names or giving feedback on the one you like the most can set your business up for success. The same can be done with a logo test for your visual identity and logo.
A good logo and name convey your company’s morals, principles, and goals. When naming is done properly, whether it be for a business, brand, product, or anything else, it produces a favorable first impression and captures the consumer’s interest. However, if done incorrectly, it might lead to several recognition issues and problems in the future. The following are factors to take into account while testing a brand name and logo:
1. Likability & Fit
It is essential that your company name explains what you do to your customers. If you have to regularly remind people of your brand, the name isn’t doing its job. The name needs to appeal to the majority of the audience and reflect the principles of your company.
The name you choose for your company is crucial because it will influence how others will perceive it. Decide on the brand identity and how you want people to perceive your business before choosing a name for your company that is consistent with the goods and services you provide.
3. Pronunciation & Sound
Think about whether the brand name is simple to pronounce or if it is simple to mispronounce. Brand identification and awareness are greatly influenced by the name’s pronunciation and sound. A company or product name has to sound excellent when spoken and be easy to understand and pronounce.
4. Unique Design
Making an emotional connection is a crucial logo design element. An emotion or sensation that is connected to the brand should be evoked by the logo. Use fonts that are simple to read and recognize and colors and forms that communicate the brand’s message.
5. Scalable Design
Make sure the logo is always scalable. A logo should appear fantastic on a variety of mediums, including business cards and billboards. Pick a design that can be applied to a range of surfaces, sizes, and resolutions.
6. Timeless Design
Making sure the logo is timeless is another design principle. Trends should not be used because they are quickly outdated. Instead, concentrate on a classic style that will remain current for a long time.
Improve customer satisfaction
Through brand research, it is possible to develop a powerful and enduring brand identity that will boost consumer satisfaction and loyalty. Understanding your customer base better is the foundation of brand research and developing a consistent brand identity, which is a crucial step in developing a customer-centric organization. Customer experience is always put first in customer-centric businesses. According to research, customer-focused brands generate 60% more revenue. It is clear why putting the needs and wants of the client first will lead to success.
Brand research lets you learn about your target clients’ requirements, desires, and other critical factors. You cannot successfully establish a customer-centric firm without understanding your customers. By conducting brand research, you can target the preferences and problems of your clients more precisely. Both your customers and your company benefit from it.
Emotion recognition in social intelligence platforms can give a brief summary of the general consensus on any subject. The data can reveal more complex emotions through human analysis, such as happiness, laughter, frustration, wrath, and so forth. By analyzing the data, you can determine whether clients are satisfied or frustrated and why which will help you resolve any problems.
Common methods and techniques for conducting brand research
As with any research, the most reliable approach will use data gathered from a variety of sources. Some will be simpler or less expensive to acquire than others, but making good investments means you’ll get a more complete view of the situation and lessen the chance of bias, which is a given in all studies.
Surveys are still a wonderful way to learn what consumers think about particular products and brands regardless of where a brand is in its growth. A fast and (relatively) simple approach to acquiring a lot of data quickly is through surveys. It’s an excellent place to start your brand research because you can directly ask your audience what they enjoy, don’t like, and think can be improved about your brand. Then, you can strive to put those suggestions into practice. Surveys can offer the quantitative data needed for brand research and a more comprehensive understanding of consumer insights.
You can conduct online surveys over the phone, online, or in person. Researchers must be conscious of the biases that each has to provide. This information can also be used to inform other aspects of brand research, such as brand awareness and how you stack up against competitors. Just keep in mind that you need more information than a simple yes or no and that your customer will probably want to complete the survey quickly—the sweet spot is around three minutes. Ask a variety of questions that focus on the aspects of your brand you are most interested in learning about and be sure to distribute the survey to a wide audience, not just your regulars. The more viewpoints you can incorporate, the better.
User groups, also called “focus groups” or “focus group discussions,” are structured interviews that can be used to quickly and inexpensively learn about a target audience’s preferences, experiences, and attitudes. Focus groups are a helpful user experience brand research strategy when a company needs a lot of information rapidly.
Focus groups, whether in a physical or online setting, enable more thorough responses to typical brand research queries. These groups can be used to go a little deeper into qualitative findings, such as brand associations and brand impressions.
Focus groups can be set up in person by locating willing local participants (for instance, by reaching out to current clients or running social media ads), or they can be held online. For instance, Twitter Insiders serves as a means of gathering opinions and ideas from numerous online people. Traditionally, these organizations reward members with cash, gift cards, or some company swag.
Remote User Testing
If you want to improve an existing product rather than create a brand-new one, remote user testing can be a helpful research tool because it can point out any problems users are having. Usability testing makes it possible to find problems early. Often, development issues can be solved for less money if they are discovered early. Usability testing also reveals user satisfaction levels and what changes are required to improve user output and satisfaction.
Remote user testing allows you to test with your target audience from our user panel and ask them to either answer open-ended questions or compare assets before launch. You will be able to understand consumer behavior and their opinions of your brand in minutes, for less than surveys and focus groups.
Poll the People gives you the highest-quality feedback in an easy-to-understand results dashboard with quantitative and qualitative insights. User testing is an important step in designing and developing any product or service, and Poll the People is a great tool for user testing. With Poll the People, you can easily gather feedback from your target user on any aspect of your brand without worrying about response bias or inaccurate feedback.
When conducting user testing with Poll the People, it’s important to clearly understand what you want to learn from your users. This will help you create effective test questions that will gather the information you need. Additionally, it’s important to consider the demographic of your target audience, as this will help you select the appropriate users to participate in your test.
Once you have collected the feedback from your users, it’s important to analyze the results and use this information to make improvements to your product or service. Poll the People provides a variety of tools and features to help you analyze your results, such as data visualization and statistical analysis. With this information, you can make data-driven decisions that will improve the overall user experience of your product or service.
How to Conduct Brand Research
Defining the Research Objectives
The process of identifying the purpose of brand research is the most vital step. You must clearly understand the research’s purpose before gathering data and conducting any research. When conducting brand research, identifying the goal of the study will help you decide what data you’ll need and how to collect it. This will assist your business in identifying the main issue or opportunity, such as the best way to deal with market share loss or how to introduce a new product to a certain market segment.
Selecting a Research Method
It’s time to create the research strategy after you’ve looked at all possible aims to achieve and have written down the questions to clarify the problem you’re trying to address. Because it can incorporate any strategy that can assist you in resolving the research problem or exploring a potential avenue for reaching your research goal, creating a research plan can be intimidating.
Collecting and Analyzing Data
In brand research, quantitative (numbers or statistics) data will predominate over qualitative (descriptive and observational) data. In an ideal situation, you would collect both kinds of information. Make sure the data you gather is reliable and objective. Never say to a participant, “You think we should provide a higher pricing tier with extra services, right?” It is obvious that the purpose of this kind of question is to persuade the subject’s response. Try posing both closed-ended and open-ended questions.
Using the Results to Inform Business Decisions
Once you’ve obtained all the data you require, it’s time for the exciting part: data analysis. Even while one fact or piece of data could immediately stand out to you, it’s vital to seek trends rather than particular facts. Avoid attempting to identify patterns in your data during analysis based on preconceived notions.
Was your presumption disproven? Great! that’s why you do testing and avoid making educated guesses when making choices that could significantly affect your company. It is always preferable to accept the results as they are rather than manipulate the facts to support your position.
Analyzing and Using the Results of Brand Research
Once you’ve conducted a detailed brand research project, you’ll move on to the analysis stage. Here, you will turn the raw information you have gathered into valuable knowledge. Brand research analysis aims to examine the data and establish what it indicates about the product you’re developing and the target market. How can you use the knowledge you’ve gained to direct brand development?
Create categories and subcategories for your data while focusing on user difficulty concerns after acquiring a lot of research findings. After identifying significant trends and recurring issues, ask users any additional questions you think are appropriate.
It’s necessary to reassess your audience once you’ve put your brand research and survey recommendations into practice. One efficient approach to do this is to conduct fewer but more in-depth user interviews to find out what they think of your changes, how well you implemented them, and whether there was anything you missed.
After your brand research is finished, remember that your customers’ perceptions will continue to shift. Customers’ purchase decisions will always be influenced by how they perceive your brand and its competitors. Therefore, it’s important to regularly undertake a thorough as well as strategic evaluation of your brand environment.
You’ll stay on top of your game if you make sure you’re always aware of your audience’s needs and expectations and are less likely to fall behind your competitors. In today’s digital age, the needs of your audience will change faster than ever it’s your responsibility to ensure that your brand will compete in the market through the help of brand research.
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