In a word, your branding decisions drive branding research. As a well established branding research agency, we deliver customized brand studies that provide direction, insight,and uncover opportunities to strengthen competitive position. We view brand development as a mix of creativity and marketing information to uncover brand positioning opportunities in market spaces often cluttered with brand noise.Here's the flow for a brand development engagement showing the integration of creative and branding research.
We manage the creative process recognizing the vastly different mindsets -- creative and analytical -- required for brand positioning success. Branding research studies often begin with Brand Base research, followed by Brand Qualitative research and targeted quantitative Brand Screening Survey studies.
Just great chefs, or potters at the wheel both evaluate and create at the same time, a successful brand development and branding research process requires the same blended intuitive and analytical mindset. Success comes with creative branding ideas and astute market understanding. Often, branding research can present a dilemma for marketing decision-makers and a tug-of-war among the pros they rely upon. Creative and advertising people -- whether inside or agencies -- who conceive exciting concepts may voice that brand ideas come from creative insight and genius, not research. Research and analytical types might espouse a "customer-driven" approach to branding and brand opportunity discovery. Our view is to design a process that draws on both: creative power, and marketing information. Further, we view branding research as useful primarily to feed, rather than judge, the process. This is especially true with brand concept creation and brand naming assignments.
Our tact is a process we call "creative branding research." Powerful positioning and the branding to execute the positioning strategy, first, requires understanding the marketplace. The Strategy Newsletter talks about the notion of finding and owning a market space as the basis of successful brand positioning. The issue is "How do we find and own a market space and build or rebuild a brand?"
We believe sound qualitative research is a vital component in decision-oriented marketing research. It is especially useful in developing hypotheses about consumer motivations. These help us understand from the consumer's perspective and in the consumer's own language. Qualitative research, which is characterized by free-ranging, open-ended interviews among a limited number of respondents, is primarily an exploratory motivational technique. We use it here to identify important marketing variables and to suggest the relationships among those variables, to focus the creative process and lay the design groundwork for the later quantitative screening research stage.
The main point here is the value of getting in-depth insight into the buyer belief and attitude structure, and use this insight for business strategy development. For example, when scanning for strategic opportunities they can uncover important consumer and business buyer attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors that may precede an emerging trend. Non-directive techniques and projective research techniques are especially useful in defining buyer motivations .
Customer discussion groups -- another term for "marketing research focus groups" -- can be useful in the early stages of strategy decision-making. For Creative Branding Research, however, we tend to prefer in-person or online time-extended depth interviews, and their online research counterpart, Qualitative Online Forums, or "bulletin board discussions," a 3-day online qualitative discussion which offer equally rich, often better, marketing information at an overall lower cost.
We will recommend focus groups when the following conditions are important...
While live focus group discussions are very popular among qualitative techniques, there are many important "do's and don'ts". It is critical that the researcher knows how, when and where they can be used, and where they should be avoided.
Aside from market research focus group discussions, online forums, and depth interviews, we might use other methods to understand customer brand perceptions and screen your branding options.
Our branding exploration research may involve special observational qualitative methods such as ethnographic studies. Photo or video ethnography, uses various methods, such as self-directed-video to watch what people do in and around the brand category. We watch and engage as customers and prospects engage in store shopping, using products in their home, and their interactions with other people when the product category or brand is involved. A pet food company may employ a video ethnography study and ask pet owners to video tape their pet.
Contact us for more information about our Creative Branding Research capabilities.