How to Build A Successful Long-Term Brand Strategy with Market Research
A market research informed brand will always lead to more profitable results, hands-down. Why? Because well-crafted brands that mean something to their target audiences create loyal customers. These in turn, generate higher revenue and a greater return on your marketing investment. This helps marketers spend more cost-effectively on the right marketing programs, rather than wasting money chasing the wrong prospects down a rabbit hole.
Rapidly changing technology and immediate connectivity have dramatically changed customer expectations and how they engage with brands and the companies behind them. People are now able to interact with brands in ways that suit them, when it suits them and market research can help you understand clearly just want kind of impressions and opinions of your brand, your business and your competitors, so you can be on top of the conversation.
What is a Brand Strategy?
A brand strategy is a plan that includes the overall business approach for your brand. It outlines your short, medium- and long-term goals brand goals; identifies your target market; clarifies your brand positioning, brand character and values, your messaging strategy, vision, brand assets and anything else that you need to power up your brand for growth and success.
In order to be successful, a brand strategy should be well informed and well defined. This means you need to understand your customer needs, emotions and unmet needs better than your competitor. You need to understand customer perceptions of your brand and the competitive environment so that you can develop a brand that stands out from the crowd, gets noticed and wins.
Building a brand-led, market research-informed business is crucial in safeguarding your business’ future against constant change, increasing complexity and market turbulence. It will help you sharpen your brand core, your brand target and your brand message. It will help you flex your brand muscles in ways that drive success and differentiation, separating your brand from the mediocrity of many market environments, but without market research you are flying blind. You cannot just rely on the gut instinct of your team inside the marketing bubble – you need an independent and unbiased view of the market. That’s where great market research can really help you.
How can Market Research help build a successful Brand Strategy?
Market research is an essential tool to help marketers achieve success. It can help you understand if your consumers know your brand, or if they even care about it? If your brand is communicating with customers, is it reaching its target audience and is it talking to them in a way that makes them want to listen and, more importantly buy your brand? Good market research can improve brand delivery, sharpen brand image and perception and help create a stronger brand-consumer connection that will sustain your brand against market forces, and deliver results in the long term. That’s why all the big companies rely on market research. It just makes sense.
There are 4 big areas that market research can help with in terms of building a successful long term brand strategy.
1. Understand your brand health – strengths and weaknesses
How is your brand operating right now? What are its key strengths, weaknesses and opportunities for growth? Does your brand have enough elasticity to shift across markets or is it tied to a niche? Market research can provide an audit of your brand it market and identify growth pathways and frameworks, useful for developing a clear brand plan.
Market research can also help assess the health of your brand on key brand metrics such as brand awareness, conversion, brand image and perception. It can establish how your brand measures up against your competitive set and what can you do about it. Brand health is an essential brand metric to have for strategic brand planning.
2. Understand your customer.
Who is your customer? Are you trying to reach everybody, and in fact reaching nobody? How do they behave, where do they go, what do they read, where do they shop? Market research is the lifeblood of brand strategy because knowing your consumers inside out and how to serve your customers better is the backbone of a winning brand strategy.
Market research can help you understand your customer (and prospect) emotional, social and functional needs. How do they feel about your brand, what do they want, and how do you need to deliver it? Understanding the needs, wants and desires of a marketplace and the consumers within will help you craft marketing strategies that will improve your brand perception, your brand positioning and how you win in market. It will also help you with better decision making that will save you money in the long run.
3. Messaging strategy and delivery
Great market research can help you nail the correct language to ensure your appeal and resonance is working with your consumer. Validation of core messaging elements such as claims, reasons to believe and your core message and delivery is critical to brand success. Market research can help you optimise your messaging, tone, language and all elements of a brand or product launch strategy. Does your message cut through? Can your consumer comprehend your message? Is your message ‘on-brand’? Market research can help you both optimise and drive a successful brand messaging strategy.
- Use market research to understand your brand today – strengths, weaknesses and opportunities to help you put together a clear minded strategy. Blind belief can be costly.
- Targeting everyone “just in case” (FOMO) is a waste of effort and money. Research the market and ensure you are targeting the right audience for greater success.
- Don’t guess who your customers are or what they want. The single best investment you can make in terms of time and money is understanding needs, emotions, and desires of your customers.
- You also need to know how your customers think and behave to understand how and where to target them. Your brand strategy needs to articulate who your target is, how they feel and bring them to life and research can outline the key drivers of customer behaviour.
5. Not uniquely claiming what sets your brand apart from the competition is a losing choice. As is using the wrong language, tone and messaging. Research can help you craft your messaging delivery and keep it on brand.
Good brand strategy reflects sound strategic thinking that is well informed with market research. Your brand strategy should succinctly express the way you want customers to think and feel about your brand and what your customers need and how you can deliver. It’s a dangerous move to rely on assumptions and the marketing bubble. If you want a brand strategy that has long term success at its core, with a brand that is recognizable, desired and resonant, you need to invest in market research to ensure you are delivering to the needs of the market