Research is fundamental to the development of an effective brand strategy. It illuminates the way forward with marketplace and stakeholder insights that inform decisions about your organization’s mission, vision, and values, and how it brings these convictions to life through marketing and communications.
Without research, you’re driving in the dark, prone to unexpected bumps and unnecessary crashes.
Here are a few of the research tools we use to develop brand strategies that connect with internal and external audiences, guide organizations forward, and motivate action.
Brand Federation starts with a thorough review of secondary research. What’s available in the marketplace already that can help us understand how our client perceives itself and how the marketplace perceives it? Insights from the Discovery phase inform the quantitative and qualitative work to come. Discovery sources and tools include:
Diving deep into the client’s website and marketing materials, press clippings and brand guidelines, existing research, internal communications, anchors the effort.
Conducting a 4Cs scan, exploring cultural influences, customer behavior, category trends, and company operations, reveals a rich landscape of brand opportunities and cautions that inform strategy development. Pew Research, HBR, and Statista are great resources for a 4Cs scan.
Monitoring social media chatter across Facebook, Instagram, Reddit, Twitter, and others about our client’s brand adds additional insight to stakeholder feelings and attitudes.
Brand Federation conducts quantitative research to uncover objective, measurable stakeholder insights. The numbers-based data generated by quantitative research allows us to describe characteristics, detect correlations, test hypotheses, and have confidence in our conclusions.
Online survey tools offer a rich feature set, questionnaire development support, and often the ability to integrate with client databases. Tools like Alchemer, Pollfish, SurveyMonkey, and Qualtrics are fast and flexible, and also provide data analysis capabilities.
Delivering basic data collection functionality, Google Forms is free and works great for smaller-scale data collection needs.
Qualitative research fleshes out the emotions and perceptions stakeholders have. It provides incredible color commentary, helping researchers round out their understanding of exactly what a brand means to stakeholders and where it has permission to go. Our primary qualitative methods include:
Sitting down one-on-one with executive leaders, board members, partners, customers, community officials, and other stakeholders allows us to understand the why of perceptions, not just the what.
Convening focus groups yields a deeper dive into specific research questions and the group setting delivers a more robust conversation about ideas, experiences, and opinions.
Taking the power of focus groups online, the virtual community platforms (such as Recollective and dScout) enable researchers to add digital versatility to qualitative data gathering. Moderators can ask virtual community participants to answer questions, record videos, share drawings, and more, adding new depth to research results.
There’s more in our research toolbox, much more, but the instruments and techniques shared here help light the way forward for strategy development, implementation, and brand success.