Brand Marketing Basics – Part 3

Using Market Research for Brand Marketing

Part 3 of the Brand Marketing Basics series on the AYTM blog discusses the use of market research to develop and track a company’s brand marketing efforts. First, be sure to read Part 1 and Part 2 of the series to learn what brand marketing is as well as about the 5 E’s of Brand Marketing success. Both articles will help you to better understand the concepts discussed here in Part 3.

brand marketing basicsBrand marketing without brand research? Sounds counterproductive, doesn’t it? Yet most companies pursue brand marketing initiatives with very little (or no) brand market research data to help them identify the best opportunities and to track performance relative to consumer opinions.

Furthermore, many brands roll out a single brand marketing effort to the broad consumer audience with no thought toward segmentation and targeting. Hang on for Part 4 of the Brand Marketing Basics series to learn more about brand marketing and segmentation. Now, it’s time to talk market research!

Using Market Research for Brand Marketing Success

market research surveyAs you learned in Part 2 of this series, brand marketing should include elements of engagement, experiences, emotions, empowerment, and education, entertainment or enjoyment. It makes sense that you can use market research to identify the types of brand marketing that will elicit engagement, emotions, empowerment, enjoyment, and experiences. Brand marketing research takes your brand research a step further by getting specific.

Go beyond simple yes-no questions and dig deeper into consumer emotions, sentiment, wants, and needs. Remember, often consumers don’t know what they want and need. Research can uncover emotions and desires they might not recognize in themselves. It’s your job to get creative in your qualitative and quantitative research to draw out subjective thoughts from consumers, so you can create brand marketing initiatives that will successfully get their attention and tap into the emotions and topics that matter to them.

Following are several research tricks I recommend in my Brand Research Fundamentals series, which are tweaked for brand marketing surveys and can help you collect the subjective data you need:

  • Use word association and sentence completion questions to encourage respondents to use their own words to describe what your brand means to them and what they want and need from your brand as well as competitor brands.
  • Ranking, sorting, and grouping questions can be used in a multitude of ways to gain insight into consumer brand preferences, wants, and needs. These types of questions are perfect for identifying consumer expectations for your brand.
  • Analogies can be used to learn how consumers feel by asking them to compare your brand to unrelated things. For example, ask respondents, “if the brand were a celebrity, who would it be and why?” This is a great way to analyze consumer perceptions of your brand.
  • Storytelling can be used to gather information about underlying emotions and thoughts about the brand. Ask respondents to tell a story about the brand (it could be based on a real experience or fictitious), and you’ll undoubtedly uncover emotional connections.
  • Role-playing can be used to have consumers act like the brand or try to convince a friend to purchase the brand. This is a great way to determine consumers’ views of the brand persona and brand promise as well as their perceptions of and expectations for the brand.

Brand marketing research isn’t a one time thing. You should conduct research to help create brand marketing programs as well as consumer opinion polls to analyze how people emotionally respond to your brand marketing efforts. Since much of your brand marketing efforts will be indirect (meaning they’ll help to raise brand awareness, recognition, and sentiment but are unlikely to drive immediate sales), tracking their effects using market research related to consumer emotions, perceptions, expectations, and sentiment are critical to tracking the success of your efforts. Using this research data, you can better determine where to invest your brand marketing budget in the future.

Up next in the Brand Marketing Basics series, you’ll learn about using segmentation for improved brand marketing. In the meantime, follow the links to read Part 1 and Part 2 of the series now.

Images: Gabriella Fabbri, Craig Parylo

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Susan Gunelius
Susan Gunelius, MBA is a 25-year marketing and branding expert and President and CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She is the author of 10 books about marketing, branding and social media, and her marketing-related articles appear on top media websites such as Entrepreneur.com and Forbes.com. She is also the Founder and Editor in Chief of WomenOnBusiness.com, an award-winning blog for business women.