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5 ways research helps you build a more powerful brand

Honing your brand strategy is fundamental to your business and marketing efforts. Maybe you’re suffering from one of the common symptoms of bad positioning. Or you’re working to expand your brand into new markets and reach new customers. No matter what, research that focuses on uncovering what your current brand community believes about you is a great place to start.

When your goal is to grow your brand or expand into a new market, it might seem counterintuitive to focus your research inward. But we’ve found that forming a clear understanding of your current brand community gives you a strong foundation for growth.

First, what is a brand community?

Your organization’s brand community is made up of the people who already know and care about your brand. We typically divide brand communities into two groups of stakeholders: internal and external.

  • Internal groups include company leaders, employees, board members, and investors.
  • External community members are customers, clients, and users.

These people are full of knowledge that can form the building blocks of a strong brand framework.

Here are five benefits of leveraging insights from your brand community to help you grow your brand:

1. You’ll better understand your strengths, weaknesses, and market position from the perspective of those who know and care about you

The questions you ask during your research can help you discover the strengths and weaknesses of your current brand, in your customers’ and employees’ own words. You can see who they believe your competitors are, and how they would categorize your services. You may think you’ve done a good job of explaining who you are and what you do. When you ask your community, does what they say align with what you think you’ve communicated?

2. You’ll collect stories, insights, and language that articulate how you’re different in a human way

Shaping your brand message from the stories of customers can help humanize your communications. Knowing the specific words and phrases your community uses to describe you can give you clues for language that will resonate with future customers. Drawing from your research, you can avoid tech cliches that plague so many organizations. You might discover your future homepage statement or next campaign idea around a specific pain point you hear over and over.

3. You’ll gather information to create personas, or build upon your current personas

Oftentimes when we do this type of research for our clients, we ask questions to better understand the people taking the survey in addition to their perceptions of the brand. We want to know what keeps them up at night, what their career aspirations are, and where they consume their information. Combined with demographic information that you collect, you can build a set of personas based on data instead of assumption and intuition.

4. You’ll give your brand community the opportunity to help shape your future direction (aka. build bridges instead of island hopping)

The growth of your brand and evolution of your strategy must include your current customers along on the journey, otherwise you risk losing them at the destination. The way you conduct research among your brand community helps you to build a bridge from where you currently stand to your ideal future. If your brand abruptly changes without input from the people who care about it (we call this “island hopping”), the people who got you where you are today may not make it across the ocean with you.

“When you bring people along on the journey, they’re more likely to accept the destination.” -A New Kind proverb

5. It’s way cheaper than other types of research

Conducting research among these groups is a relatively simple, inexpensive way to gain real insight into a lasting brand strategy. While it can cost thousands of dollars to reach a qualified sample for traditional market research, sending a quick survey to your current lists is easy and costs virtually nothing. Don’t miss the opportunity to better understand what your brand means to this community and discover where they’d like to see you go.

In the next post, I’ll cover specific tools and techniques to get your brand research project started. Subscribe to our blog digest to get our newest insights delivered to your inbox.

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