Brand Promise - Validation Through Market Research

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Posted Sep 06, 2011
Susan Gunelius

In my recent post titled Brand Promise - How to Make It and Keep It, I discussed what a brand promise is and why it’s so important to your business. One of the final points I made was that you need to listen to consumers, research the marketplace, and make sure your brand promise is always on target. Market research can help you determine if your brand promise is the right one to ensure you reach your business goals.

Brand Promise Research Audience

Your brand promise touches every part of your business -- both internally and externally. That’s why it’s imperative that you research employees, customers, and the broader consumer audience to ensure your brand promise is the right one. If your employees don’t believe in your brand promise, why should consumers? And if your existing customers don’t believe your brand promise, why would new customers buy into it?

Nascar Daytona

Businesses of all sizes need to do brand research. For example, NASCAR validated its brand promise through research recently. The organization worked with five market research companies to gather insights and data from multiple audiences such as fans, media, and sponsors in order to identify why attendance had gone down and how to get those customers back.

One of the major findings from the study told NASCAR that previously loyal customers were confused and unhappy with recent changes NASCAR had made to its branded experiences, including delaying race start times to appease new audiences on the West Coast. At the same time, NASCAR learned that it wasn’t doing the right things to communicate the brand promise to younger audiences that would enable the brand to grow in years to come. The old brand promise and branded experiences needed to be revamped and refreshed to attract a younger demographic.

Brand Promise Research Questions

Next, you need to put together your brand promise research questionnaire for internal and external audiences. The responses you get should be used to help you more effectively position your brand and define your brand promise in the future.

Employees: Following are brand promise research questions you can ask your employees. Make sure you ask for explanations, so you fully understand their thoughts.

  1. What does our brand mean to you?
  3. Do you receive the information you need to understand the brand promise and integrate it into your daily life?
  5. Is our brand promise important to you and does it affect the way you do your job?
  7. When you have questions about the brand, who do you ask or where do you go for help?
  9. Do you believe that we keep our brand promise to consumers? If not, how can we improve?

Current Customers: Following are brand promise research questions you can ask current customers.

  1. What does our brand promise to deliver to you when you buy it? Do we deliver on that promise every time you interact with our brand?
  3. What feelings are evoked when you hear our brand name, see our logo, or use our products or services?
  5. How do you view our brand versus other brands that you could choose to buy instead?
  7. What more do you want from our brand or what different things do you want from our brand?
  9. Would you recommend our brand to other people? Why or why not and how would you describe our brand to them?

Wider Consumer Audience: Following are brand promise research questions you can ask to the wider consumer audience. First, pre-qualify respondents to ensure they don’t already buy your brand but are aware of it. Then ask them questions like the ones listed below.

  1. Which brand do you buy instead of our brand?
  3. What does that brand promise and deliver to you that our brand does not or does not deliver as well?
  5. What feelings does that brand evoke in you?
  7. What feelings does our brand evoke in you?
  9. What would our brand have to do differently to make you consider purchasing it instead of your usual brand?

You can turn these open-ended questions into closed-ended questions by offering choices. As Kathryn Korostoff explains, when asking people what feelings your brand evokes to gauge brand perception, offer a list of feelings and ask them to choose up to three words that describe their feelings. Best case scenario, you should get both qualitative (open-ended) responses as well as quantitative (closed-ended) responses to get a full picture of how your employees and consumers feel about your brand. Put these results together, and you can better position your brand and tweak your brand promise to ensure you reach your goals in the future.

Remember, brand promise research isn’t a one-time thing. You need to continually research and monitor how people perceive your brand and your brand promise to ensure you’re always going in the right direction.

Image: familymwr

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