Brand Research Tips

Research. It’s a polarising topic. Rarely do we see research apathy: you either love or hate it. If you love it, chances are you’ve seen the value – it’s given your brand clarity or strengthened your marketing strategy. But if you hate it...

You’ve probably been burned by information overload or disappointingly obvious insights. We understand that, but we have some advice on how to fall in love with research, or at the very least, how to make the most of it.

There are endless ways to tackle research, no matter your objective – whether that’s to gauge brand awareness or perception, to test a concept or product, to measure campaign effectiveness, or to understand your customer journey and competitive standing. That’s the beauty of it, there are so many options. 

It’s also where brands struggle. So, we’ve put together some tips to focus your approach to research:

  1. Be realistic.

What is your timeline? And your budget? These are the two most important criteria when setting realistic expectations for your research. These are inextricably tied to your objective. 

You have to first ask yourself: 

  • What is it I want to know?
  • How quickly do I want to find out?
  • How statistically relevant of a response am I willing to base my strategic decisions on?

You wouldn’t base your organization’s financial decisions on a bunch of guesswork, and the same is true when it comes to making strategic decisions based on research.  

If you’re going to take on research, make sure you have the time, dedication and budget to nurture it. Equally as important is setting expectations both with internal teams and with your research partners to ensure alignment every step of the way. 

  1. Be open-minded.

You never really know what you’re going to find out once you open the research can of worms. It’s important that you’re at peace with that before you get started. 

As is the case with any research, you may have the most educated of hypotheses raring to go, but you can’t underestimate the power of research to unearth facts and insights you never knew existed. As an organization, is it exciting? Of course. Is it also a little bit terrifying? Absolutely. 

If you go into a research exercise trying to reverse engineer a solution, you will likely find yourself disappointed. And perhaps even asking the question, what was the point of that? Maybe you just need the proof to show the Board, but it’s a heck of a risk to take on the wild west of research in hopes your strategy is validated in retrospect. 

And while we’re on the subject… 

  1. Most research is better invested at the beginning, not the end.

Most brand-aware businesses now understand the importance of research. Odds are you aren’t the person you’re trying to talk to, and empathy only takes you so far. Sometimes you just have to pay the money and ask them. And it could be the wisest investment you make.

Yet why do most creative teams deflate at the mere mention of consumer research? The answer: it happens too late.

If you test your brand extensively at the end, you’ll doubtless unearth gems of insight you’d kill to have known months (and tens thousands of pounds) earlier. But you might have done, if you’d asked before you started.

When it’s all said and done, we think research done right is hugely beneficial to a brand. We’ve seen the tiniest of insights drive strong brand strategies and we’ve witnessed some brilliant ‘a-ha’ moments. That’s the power of good research. It’s the a-ha moments that await you if you’re willing to commit to the process. And if you do commit to the process, you may even find yourself falling in love with it.