Brand defense is an important, and often overlooked, part of growing and maintaining any brand. With the rapid pace at which markets change, competitors rise and fall and customers communicate, implementing effective brand defense strategies is gaining importance. An ideal way to establish proper brand defense strategies is through qualitative market research. These tips and tricks will help you to get started.
Qualitative Research 101
Market research methods are often placed in one of two categories: qualitative and quantitative. While quantitative research helps to determine trends and predict how your market will behave, qualitative research establishes reasons for why a customer or client makes a decision. By understanding the underlying thoughts and perceptions that drive your market, you can create effective defense strategies for your brand and overtake your competition.
In most cases, qualitative research involves in-depth questioning of small groups of participants. With quantitative research, the content of the answer is often most important. Qualitative research dives deeper to analyze the content of the response as well as body language, mood, word choice and other aspects to reveal insights that might be missed with other methods.
The New Face of Qualitative Research
Traditionally, qualitative research was conducted using focus groups, observational studies and other means. This meant that a brand would need to find participants, secure a location and plan their research efforts thoroughly. The final result was a process that involved more time and financial investment than many businesses could afford to invest.
Recent improvements in Internet technology have transformed the way in which many businesses conduct qualitative research. Video chat, forums, discussion groups, mobile apps, social media and other Internet platforms offer ideal ways to reach out to your market, conduct research and obtain accurate results at a fraction of both time and monetary investment.
What was once a tool for major corporations and established businesses is now accessible to small businesses, digital brands and startups. This makes brand defense increasingly important as well.
Three Ways to Use Qualitative Market Research to Defend Your Brand
The potential of qualitative market research for brand defense is endless. Specifics will vary depending on your brand, target market, industry and other factors. However, there are a number of ways that brands of any size or type can take advantage of qualitative research. These are three popular methods of defending your brand proactively.
1. Establish Unique Brand Characteristics
With the global nature of the modern marketplace, your brand has more competition than ever. Regardless of your product or service, it is likely that your customers have multiple choices from which to choose. This makes differentiating your brand from the competition essential to building loyalty and expanding your market influence. Qualitative market research offers ways to discover what your target market finds valuable about a brand or service provider.
2. Define Customer and Brand Values and Voice
It is likely that your brand has a definition for common terms, such as value, quality and integrity. Establishing a set of core values and definitions is a common part of any business plan. However, many brands fail to analyze how their core values and definitions match those of their audience. Through qualitative market research, you can determine how your market determines value, quality and other key terms and align your products and services accordingly.
3. Uncover and Address Brand Weaknesses with Qualitative Research
Quantitative research will help to show brand performance and market trends, however, it does little to address the reasons why your brand might be suffering. Qualitative research can help to highlight brand weaknesses to provide easy ways to improve brand performance and defend your brand from the competition. For example, focus groups can shed light on
issues with visual branding, service quality or other areas of concern.
Conducting Qualitative Research
The in-depth nature of qualitative research might make it seem daunting. These steps can help you to start harnessing the power of qualitative research quickly and effectively.
1. Determine the data that you wish to obtain.
From public opinion about your brand to the best ways to advertise your product and services, there are near endless
options for discovering information through qualitative research. Determining questions in advance will keep your efforts focus.
2. Determine your audience.
Whether you are targeting early adopters and outliers or the core of your business will change the types of questions you might ask in your research. By customizing your questions and practices according to your audience, you will ensure that your results are accurate and concise.
3. Choose your research methods.
Common qualitative research methods include focus groups, in-depth interviews, observational studies, vox-pop interviews and video conferences. Just as your audience will impact questions and accuracy, optimizing your research based on research method will help to further improve results while minimizing costs.
4. Conduct research and analyze.
With everything planned properly, all that is left is to execute your plan. Organize your data as you collect for easy
analysis when research is completed.
Qualitative research is an excellent tool for developing brand defense strategies. These tips and tricks will help your brand make the most of this popular process and achieve results. If you’d like help implementing them, please contact us.