How Research can be the Key to Successful Branding

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Research can be a key factor of any major project - but how can it help with your branding? And if it can, how do you go about doing it?

We are Occasionally asked to conduct market research as a catalyst for design executions. This is even more important when that project is the branding of your organisation, product, service or charity.

Rush and get this wrong, and you’ve got a whole host of problems to contend with. Do the proper research though, and your branding will resonate with your customers and stand the test of time.

Branding isn’t just about a pretty logo and a memorable slogan. It’s the presentation of a purposefully selected message that should be consistent across every aspect of that product, service or business. Every employee should be able to represent the brand, and your customers, clients or stakeholders should be able to recognise and understand it.
 

Why Bother with Brand Research?

Thorough research is critical to the creation, development and management of any brand. It is impossible to know what your brand should stand for, and who it is targeting, if you haven’t looked into it.

It takes time to do a thorough piece of brand research – and trust us, it’s always worth it. Branding before doing research can sometimes be like jumping from a plane and hoping to collect your parachute 50 feet from the ground – there’s a good chance it’s going to end in tears.

 

Research Your Organisation

Before you can go about designing a brand you need to fully understand your organisation. This should start primarily with your brand’s strategy, but don’t dismiss the emotional side of things. i.e. how your brand makes people feel.

Your branding should be linked to all aspects of your organisation. Consider the wider business strategy, your relative position in the market, and your organisation’s culture and values. If you’re unsure where to start with culture and values, talk to your employees. Not only will they have some great ideas, this will also help to foster a sense of buy-in to any project.

It’s rather cliché, but you need to find the ‘truth’ of your organisation - a simplified statement of who you are, what you do and what you stand for.
 

Research the Market

If you’re planning on releasing your brand into market, you need to know for sure that it stands some chance of success. How would that be possible without conducting some market research?

Very simply, what does the market look like? Think about who the big names are in the current market. What are they doing well, and not so well, and how is your brand different to that? Importantly, how could your brand be better? A thorough piece of research should reveal opportunties in the market that you can exploit.

Before you spend valuable resources developing and deploying a brand you need to understand the right market for it, and how it will fit into that. If you’re the only brand that offers a certain service in a particular market, play on that.
 

Research Your Potential Customers

If the ultimate goal of your brand is to sell or interact with customers in some form, then you need to understand them first. It may seem obvious, but there’s no point targeting your brand at an audience that has no interest in your proposition.

So, who are your target customers? Think about their demographics, their interests and the brands that they currently use or interact with. As a caveat, just because they currently use a certain brand, doesn’t necessarily mean they will feel positive about them – so remember to consider that as well. There will be gaps in this market that your brand could fill as well – what do your customers want that they can’t currently get?
 

How to Get Your Brand Research Started

The likelihood is you already, collectively, know more than you think. You just need to tap into it. Getting as much information from as many sources as possible will help to give you a more complete picture – so try to be as open minded as you can.
Let’s look at how you can do that:
  • Surveys. Great for getting views from current customers, especially on a large scale. Very easy to do online with tools like SurveyMonkey.
  • Workshops and focus groups. Great for qualitative data – you’re looking for opinions and emotional responses here. Remember this can be used with both employees and customers.
  • Social listening. Monitor social media for the conversations people are having. This is not just for well-established or larger brands; smaller brands can use it by looking at broader topics or conversations.
  • Competitor analysis. This will help you position your offering. This goes  hand-in-hand with social listening.
Remember to ask simple, open-ended questions to try and illicit and more detailed responses, and make sure you to gauge both emotional and rational responses.

A Well-Researched Conclusion

The strongest brands are those that are focussed. They understand their strengths, weaknesses and position in the market and play heavily upon it. A ‘jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none’ approach to branding will get you nowhere!

Thorough research will help you to clearly identify your organisation’s characteristics, your target audience and your market position –your brand design should match these.
 
If you’d like to know more about the power of effective branding, head over to our website. Or alternatively, if you’d like to talk someone about unleashing the power of your brand, get in touch with us today.