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Brand Research: The Complete Guide

What is Brand Research?

Brand research is a type of marketing Research (or Brand Market Research) conducted to investigate the various aspects of a new or established brand among various stakeholders, such as customers, prospects, consumers of your competitors, employees, investors, partners, or suppliers. It helps understand the characteristics that truly set the Brand apart from the competition in the eyes of its public.

To fully understand the implications of this definition, we first have to nail down the concept of the Brand.

The Brand is how its target audience perceives the expression of its Values, Personality, and Identity. It's a projection of the Brand's expertise and the experience it creates. Brand research is when we examine how each of those two versions compares, either to understand better how a company's long-standing branding is performing or before it launches its Brand.

Brand research will help to find the answers to questions like "Who is aware of my Brand? What source did they use to learn about my Brand? What do they think of and say about my Brand? What is their relationship to my Brand, from a total stranger to an ardent follower?

Why is Brand Research Important?

Brand Research is important because it gives you an in-depth understanding of your Brand and its core elements like values, personality, and identity; it keeps you up with current trends, cultural shifts, or unprecedented events that have had an unexpected impact on the way you run your Brand. In addition, brand research is essential if you want to discover your Brand's health and better understand how your customers perceive it. 

By conducting continuous brand research, you will gain a competitive advantage and can adjust the positioning of your Brand to attract more customers.

The most important aspect of brand research is understanding the perspective of two groups: 1) your external customers, clients, and users, and 2) your employees, investors, and stakeholders. 

Brand Research will give you answers to questions like:

- How is my Brand performing?

- What differentiates my Brand from the competition?

- What are the weaknesses and strengths of my Brand?

- How is my brand meeting customer needs?

If your Brand is already well-known, brand research can help you monitor its development, determine whether your communications are effective, and create more effective strategies (as you can focus more on adequate strategies and spend less time on ineffective ones).

Brand Research Methods

You may do qualitative and quantitative brand research into your Brand in several distinct methods. The most effective research methodology always incorporates data from a variety of sources. Of course, some will be simpler or less expensive to collect than others. Still, making sensible investments may build a complete picture of the situation and lessen the likelihood of bias in any research.

Here are the core brand research methods:

face-to-face Interviews

When the interviewer personally interacts with the respondent using the prepared questionnaire, a face-to-face interview, also known as an in-person interview, is likely the most common and traditional type of data gathering.

This quantitative research technique listens in on respondent conversations to gather factual data, customer evaluations, opinions, preferences, and other information. The best method of collecting data has remained this way since it guarantees the accuracy of the information gathered and raised the response rate.

Telephone Interviews

A telephone interview is a technique for gathering data in which the interviewer speaks to the respondent over the phone following the prepared questionnaire. 

Depending on the goals of the study, there are three primary types of telephone interviews:

Structured telephone interviews

The average length of a structured phone interview is shorter, and only closed-ended questions are asked. They are used to gather quantitative data. - typically contain closed-ended questions and are shorter. They are employed to collect numerical data.

Semi-structured telephone interviews

Semi-structured telephone interviews are used to collect quantitative as well as qualitative data. They are made up of both closed- and open-ended questions.

In-depth telephone interviews

In-depth telephone interviews are mainly composed of open-ended questions to gather qualitative data. These interviews are more extended, and a discussion guide of topics is often used instead of a structured questionnaire.

For this type of questioning, regular questionnaires with closed-ended questions are typically advised. As a result, a telephone interview is less time-consuming and focused on gathering specific information. You can also use telephone interviews to add several open-ended questions to a questionnaire to collect qualitative data.

Online surveys

Online surveys are maybe the most straightforward way to collect data. This method allows fast collection, data processing, and results presentation. Online Surveys avoid interviewers' work and data coding errors. Respondents receive an easy-comprehensible and user-friendly questionnaire, which forwards their answers directly to the electronic database. It is simple and fast and allows you to determine what your customers think of your Brand and products.

By using online surveys, you can understand how your image resonates with your target audience. Using scales in the survey, you will find out the average score for your Brand among different demographic segments.

Hall test and the Central Location Test (CLT)

During the In Hall and Central Location Test (CLT), the respondents are questioned in research company studios instead of their ordinary environment (for example, their homes). 

The respondents' sample is formed following the target criteria. The number of respondents depends on research specifics and may vary from 15 to 200 respondents. 

During the test, the moderator demonstrates the research materials (for example, products, packaging, video, audio commercials, or printed advertisements) and coordinates the self-completion of questionnaires. The average test duration is 45 minutes.

In-hall and Central Location tests provide the potential to present the maximum material to be assessed by participants to gather sufficient information for the statistical analysis.


Focus groups

Focus group discussions are among the most common qualitative research techniques that, like in-person interviews, provide brand insights.

Interviewees feel more at ease to speak freely: bringing a group of people together helps to spark more ideas and inspires broader conversation than one person might have alone.

The survey is conducted in multiple groups of 6 to 10 people chosen in accordance with the study aims, with the moderator directing the groups under the predefined interview instructions.

When using a focus group, you can have participants representing all genders, ages, and interests. Quantitative parameters are not applied for focus group discussion results, i.e., representativeness is not required, and the error of the results is not estimated. The depth of the content, particularity, and interpretation, but not a statistical analysis, are most important.

Focus group discussions are carried out in a unique laboratory with recording and observing equipment. Thus, the discussion is recorded; simultaneously, the run of the discussion may be observed through the one-way mirror.

In-depth interviews

An in-depth interview is the data collection method when the moderator directly communicates with the respondent according to a specific plan on a particular topic. It is an extensive and deep conversation that takes approximately 1-2 hours.

During the in-depth interview, the moderator discovers the respondent's attitude, evaluations, beliefs, preferences, enjoyments, associations, etc. 

This interview allows one to dig deeper into the mentation, stream of consciousness, and hidden needs or find new solutions for the problems. 

The in-depth interview can be conducted at the respondent's home and in a specialized studio equipped with recording and observation equipment. The interview is being recorded, and at the same time, it is possible to watch the emotions and reactions of the respondent through the one-sided mirror.

Unstructured interviews

Unstructured interviews are a data collection method by interviewing consumers without performing any formal scoring or analysis. Internal team members or outside Research Firms often carry out these interviews. While well-meaning, this informal approach is rarely helpful. Respondents are frequently very cautious, leading to either false or misleading findings. The evidence is anecdotal at best.

Questionnaire Surveys

This is a data collection method when the respondent fills in a self-completion questionnaire. It helps to keep the confidentiality of the information and to avoid interviewer bias. Also, it allows the respondent to choose a convenient time and place to complete the questionnaire.

Mail Surveys

E-mail or postal Surveys are a data collection methods where survey questionnaires are sent by mail (or e-mail). The questionnaire is completed by the respondent and then sent back to the research company. It helps to keep the confidentiality of the information and to avoid interviewer bias. Also, it allows the respondent to choose a convenient time and place to complete the questionnaire.

Content Analysis

A research technique called content analysis is used to find specific words, ideas, or concepts in a set of qualitative data (i.e., text). Using content analysis, researchers can count and analyze the occurrence of particular words, topics, or concepts as well as their meanings and relationships.

For example, Brandergate uses content analysis tools to analyze the Personalities and Values of Brands by analyzing millions of texts (news articles, Blog posts, etc.) throughout the web.


Types of Brand Research

Depending on the objectives, i.e., information and insights you want to obtain, there are different types of Brand research that will help you gain in-depth knowledge about and understanding of your Brand:

Brand awareness

Brand awareness research helps companies understand how well consumers know their Brand—whether or not they are direct customers. It serves as a gauge for how well-known your Brand is among consumers, both when asked and when not, i.e., can they recall it on the spur of the moment? It gives you information about the following: 

- How widespread is your Brand's awareness?

- What percentage of the general population versus your target market is aware of the Brand? 

- Which brands come to mind in a specific category, and is yours one of them?

When people think of your product category, Brand awareness research can help you answer all these questions.

Brand awareness research can be carried out using quantitative techniques like internet surveys or as part of qualitative studies employing focus groups.

Brand perception

Research on brand perceptions enables you to comprehend how consumers perceive both tangible and intangible brand components. While assessing brand perception will reveal what those consumers think of the Brand, measuring brand awareness will reveal whether people are aware of your Brand. Simply put, brand perceptions are consumers' overall impressions of your company. Customers form minor judgments about your Brand every time they connect with it, whether they do so actively through a purchase, customer service inquiry, or passively by viewing an advertisement.

Semiotics can also be an advantageous technique for figuring out how people feel about brands, and it's frequently used in conjunction with quantitative approaches like content analysis of internet data or online qualitative methods like focus groups or online communities. Semiotics examines the signs and signals that make up a brand's image as well as the cultural context in which the Brand functions.

Another valuable method for monitoring consumer attitudes toward the Brand and rival brands is social listening. Listening to what your target market has to say about you and your rivals in online reviews and social media is an excellent technique to gauge perceptions.

Building brand loyalty requires a positive perception, among other things. By conducting brand perception research, you may find out what consumers think of your Brand's identity and what makes you distinguishable from your competitors.

Brand associations

In addition to brand perception, you can also identify and quantify customers' brand associations while considering your company. For instance, if you are an upper-class brand, you must be sure that you are upholding that exclusivity and respect. If you target the other end of the market, do customers link your Brand with low prices, savings, and economy?

Brand equity

The value of an existing or projected product or service driven by the Brand is influenced by many assets and liabilities like brand visibility, brand associations, and customer loyalty. For example, even though the ingredients in Coca-Cola and off-brand colas are almost the same, the equity of Coca-Cola is significantly higher.

Brand Equity research can be done through combined assessment of high awareness, positive perceptions, effective position, high NPS scores, Brand Advocacy, and so on.

Brand loyalty

When a customer resumes buying from your Brand rather than one of your rivals, it means they have faith in you. It occurs when customers think you provide superior customer service or better-quality goods than anyone else. Even if a product is slightly more expensive than alternatives, loyal customers are likelier to try it.

Brand loyalty naturally leads to brand advocacy, where your customers ultimately spread the word about your Brand. People who like your Brand will recommend it to others and continue to support you. 

Brand Advocacy

Advocacy for your Brand refers to how ardent fans spread the word about your goods and services to prospective clients and customers. Employees, business partners, influencers, and customers can all be brand advocates.

Brand advocacy is essential to your marketing plan since word-of-mouth recommendations are the sort of marketing that consumers trust the most over all others.

Brand preference

Brand preference reveals the proportion of consumers who would pick your goods over those of a rival. Brand preference is more inclusive than brand loyalty, providing insight into what even those who have never purchased from you have to say. Brand loyalty focuses on consumers who know and love your Brand. It is comparable to brand equity in that regard, as a preference for your Brand demonstrates the success of your marketing and branding efforts.

Competitive analysis

Understanding the current brand landscape is essential if you are starting a new brand or are an established player. In addition, conducting a competition study can provide information that will assist your position and enhance your offering.

You can find potential possibilities to outperform your competitors by doing a competitive analysis to understand better how your company operates.

Additionally, it enables you to keep up with market developments and ensure your product constantly complies with and surpasses industry requirements.

Brand positioning

Brand positioning is designing the company's product and image to occupy a particular space in customers' minds. It explains how a brand distinguishes from rivals and where and how it ranks in the minds of consumers.

Linked to brand perception research, brand positioning research looks at the attributes and associations that people have with your Brand relative to other brands. It assists you in choosing the most effective ways to distinguish your Brand and how to communicate it effectively.

Brand Penetration

Knowing how much your target market uses your Brand through brand research to assess penetration might help you estimate this percentage. It is determined by dividing the number of persons who make at least one purchase of a specific brand or category of goods over a specified period by the size of the relevant market population. For example, you may calculate the percentage of brand penetration by multiplying that value by 100. These percentages are then contrasted with industry norms to see whether your charges are on par with or higher than those of your rivals.

Brand Value

Brand value is the monetary value of your Brand. It also describes the extra cost individuals are willing to pay or the frequency with which they favor one Brand over another. In addition, visibility, positioning, message, client loyalty/perception, equity, and effective leadership contribute to a brand's value.

Research on brand value reveals how much consumers are ready to pay to experience your Brand as opposed to your competitors.

Brand research is a valuable technique for identifying the characteristics and advantages that set your Brand apart from those of its competitors.

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