When people think of your company, what image comes to their mind? Many people think of branding as simply a logo or the company name, but the fundamental nature of a brand is to create an identity for your company – that people can identify with. This includes the image you create for all aspects of your business – such as your products, services, employees, reputation, etc. (the culture of your organization as a whole).
Building a strong and positive brand will result in an endless amount of benefits for your company: increased revenues; less price sensitivity from customers; increased customer loyalty; and improved trust in your product/service. The process of developing a brand strategy should be heavily research-oriented. However, many companies do little to no brand research before, during, or even after they introduce their brand strategies.
The point behind developing a brand equity strategy is to make sure that your business is identified by consumers for its positive traits, things you want to be known for. An effective brand strategy will utilize your current strengths, modify your weaknesses to mitigate impact or spin them into benefits. Developing a brand strategy without research can be devastatingly ineffective, especially when you aren’t sure of the current state of your brand. By basing your strategy off of research, you are going to make the transition into developing a brand that much more effective. You can work off your current identity rather than completely fabricating a new one.
Preliminary brand research will help with your company to develop an effective brand strategy, a strategy that’s custom-tailored to your company. There are many ways in which brand equity studies go hand-in-hand with strategy development. Here are some of the things brand research will enable you to do:
- Understand and benchmark your current brand equity. By having a good understanding of what the consumer’s opinion of your business is, you will be able to pinpoint not only the areas that require change and reworking, but also the strengths (as viewed by the consumer) of the business that can be focused on during brand development. Also, by understanding weaknesses you can find ways to mitigate them, or modify them to become benefits. Creating a benchmark can be used as a way to measure the ROI of your brand equity work, the impact of the strategies carried out, and the aspects of business most affected by the brand changes.
- Know where your competition stands. The competitive analysis will give you an understanding of your business standpoint in the market, in relation to the competitors. Everyone knows the importance of competitive advantage – by knowing where your competition’s brand stands, you can gain the upper hand. For example, your competition is known among consumers as having poor quality service while consumers don’t associate that belief to your brand. Promoting your service and developing that aspect of your business can present a potential market opportunity.
- Explore changes in brand stance. Conducting brand research enables you to pinpoint an approach that will be appropriate and well received. Receiving consumer feedback on possible changes and images you are looking to develop will give you a feeling for which direction to head. Along with that comes the pre-testing of strategies for their effectiveness and impact. By testing concepts with your consumers on a smaller scale, you could potentially save tons of money.
Brand impacts everything. If there are problems with your brand, it will directly impact all facets of your organization, all the way down the line. Developing a brand strategy with research is an excellent way of creating that positive image in the consumer’s mind and to lead your business to a successful future where you are viewed among competition as the business with “up-to-date offerings,” “quality service,” “quality products,” or any other image that is determined sits well with your customer-base.
Poor brand strategy in combination with lack of research leads to products such as these…
If you are looking to learn more about how Research & Marketing Strategies, Inc. can help you with your brand strategy or you are interested in conducting a brand equity study, please feel free to contact Sandy Baker, at 315-635-9802.