Using Brand Research to Identify Brand Engagement Opportunities
It's nearly impossible to build brand engagement if you don't know what added value consumers want and are willing to accept from your brand. That's where market research comes into the picture, because it can help you identify those consumer wants and needs, many of which are rooted in emotions. If you missed earlier parts of the How to Build Brand Engagement series, you can follow the links to learn what brand engagement is and the steps to build brand engagement. Now, let's talk market research and brand engagement!
First, you need to understand that all marketing can create brand engagement. As Thomson Dawson of Branding Strategy Insider explains, "Consumer engagement with a brand must be anchored in experiences people really care about. How meaningful people find your value proposition, and the way in which it serves them emotionally, determines their willingness to buy your goods, and share this value with others. You need to [learn] what is really important to people and what high level needs remain unfulfilled within the context of their larger lives. In other words, your marketing must provide a framework for people to have engaging experiences, richer connections with others, and help them to make a positive impact on the world at large."
Brand engagement includes not just the active interaction between consumers and a brand but also psychological and emotional interaction. Branded communications, content, and experiences should provide information and a value-exchange that fosters a sense of connection with the brand and the larger audience of brand supporters. But what information do people want from your brand? What information are they willing to accept from your brand? What value can you deliver to them? Market research can help you answer those questions so your brand engagement efforts are more successful.
Quantitative research can help you identify a wide variety of topics and emotional triggers that can jump start engagement. Survey both current and prospective customers to gauge what they want to know or learn and how they want to receive that information. However, you need to go a step further and identify why consumers want that information and find value in that information. If you don't understand the interests and motivations of your current and prospective consumers, you won't be able to effectively engage them.
Furthermore, market research can help you segment your audience using demographic and psychographic criteria, so you can create targeted communications, content, and experiences that will appeal to niche audiences. For example, AYTM offers thousands of demographic and psychographic targeting criteria for your quantitative surveys, so you can integrate them easily into your research surveys.
Remember, people like to experience brands differently, and they feel different emotions toward brands. A single brand engagement strategy and tactical plan is too broad of an approach. Segmenting your audience and created targeted messaging is critical to launching and perpetuating the 360-degree experiences--emotions--engagement cycle discussed in Part 2 of this series.
Brand research can also help you identify opportunities for engagement through various marketing channels. For example, research might reveal that consumers are interested in learning more about a specific topic related to your brand and they've been looking for that content in video format. You can fill that gap by producing online video content, which can be highly engaging and share-able. Ask survey respondents what information they're not getting from your brand, competitors, and other sources, and then fill the gaps with your own engaging brand communications and experiences.
Finally, market research should be used to identify how consumers want to engage with and experience the brand on their own. Remember, as you learned in Part 2 of this series, allowing consumers to take control of the brand via user-generated content and experiences can kick brand engagement into high gear.Ask consumers to share their own experiences and content and reveal where and how they talk about the brand, use the brand, think about the brand, and so on. You can use this information to create marketing promotions that encourage consumers to create branded content for you. For example, you could launch a contest asking entrants to upload photos of themselves using your branded products to your Facebook Page. There are many opportunities to turn your research findings directly into real-world brand engagement campaigns.
Image: Ivan Prole