Brand Review Basics - Part 4

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Posted Jul 27, 2012
Susan Gunelius

External Primary Market Research

So far in the Brand Review Basics series, you've learned what a brand review is and about the secondary research and internal primary market research you should conduct as part of a comprehensive brand review. Now, it's time to learn about the external primary market research that is essential to a successful brand audit. Remember, you can't assume that you understand how consumers perceive your brand and what's important to them. You have to ask them.

Brand Review Basics

External primary market research should include comprehensive quantitative research through surveys that enable you to analyze broad and highly segmented consumer brand sentiment. That's because a brand review might reveal that your brand is performing very well with a specific audience segment who believes in the brand promise and has appropriate expectations for the brand, but other segments might be completely confused and turned off by the brand. Sweeping assumptions based on broad research won't deliver the insights you need for a full brand review.

Quantitative research questions should uncover consumer sentiment, perceptions, emotions, expectations, needs, and wants from the brand. Both current and prospective customers should be surveyed, including consumers who currently purchase competitor brands and consumers who don't purchase brands in the category yet but might do so in the future.

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Ranking, rating, and open-ended questions are particularly helpful to gather the information needed in a brand review. For example, questions could include the following:

  • Rate your awareness of the brand.
  • Rate your likelihood to buy the brand.
  • Rank these brands in order of preference.
  • Rate the most important benefit of the brand.
  • How does the brand make you feel?
  • Which adjectives would you use to describe the brand?
  • How likely are you to recommend the brand?
  • Rate your loyalty to the brand.
  • What does the brand promise to you? What do you expect to get when you buy the brand?
  • Does the company behind the brand live up to the brand promise?
  • Do you feel good about purchasing this brand and buying from this company?
  • What would your ideal brand in this category offer?
  • If the brand were a person, who would it be?
  • Describe the type of person who purchases this brand.
  • Has this brand ever confused you and how?
  • What should be done to improve the brand?
  • Has this brand ever disappointed you?
  • If you couldn't buy this brand what would you do?

Ultimately, your external primary market research should reveal how consumers feel about the brand, areas of confusion, opportunities, threats, and problems. Using this information, you can re-align your brand or undergo a complete rebranding to ensure that your brand is positioned for long-term success.

Remember, consumers change, industries evolve, and brands need to be flexible enough to keep up. A brand review is a valuable tool to ensure that your brand doesn't fall behind and become irrelevant. The data gathered and analysis done during the brand review should be used to develop your brand strategy, identity, messaging, experiences, and personality. It can help you identify a focused brand image that can stay relevant for years.

Your brand is one of your company's most valuable assets. Don't skip or skimp on the brand review process!

If you missed previous parts of the Brand Review Basics series, you can follow the links below to read them now:

Images: doctor-a, Lotus Head

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