MARKET RESEARCH BRAND IMPORTANCE1

The importance that market research holds for brands

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Market research involves getting a know-how of your market . This knowhow is then used to fuel informed decision making. The information provided by market research reflects current trends and so are more effective in guiding companies to take the right steps. It is a prudential mechanism that furnishes companies with the right knowledge and without it , companies would just be taking a shot in the dark. So let’s understand what exactly is market research and how important it is for a brand .

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What is market research ?

Market research is the process of gathering relevant data from a target group of people who are suitable and eligible as a source of information for a particular topic using various market research tools. There are a number of methods that organizations consider appropriate for collection of accurate data that best serves their motive. 

This kind of research gives a layout of the market conditions and consumer mindset. It helps the brands in deciphering what customers like and what are the aspects that they don’t prefer. This research includes a variety of sub types that differ on the  basis of the nature of the study:

Brand related research :

Whether you’re a newly launched brand or a big industrial name , understanding how your customers view and perceive your brand image is very important to plan marketing and messaging tactics. Brand related research breaks down the customer perspective of the brand and studies it for each individual market segment. It asks questions that help get insights into the brand characteristics such as image , personality , recall and resonance. This helps the brands to modify the brand positioning in a way that makes it appealing for the target audience.

Competitive analysis :

As a brand , it is imperative for you to keep a check on your performance as against your competitors. Competitive research provides brands with the information about the efficacy of their current practices, strategies and methodologies adopted by other brands, benchmarking , market share distribution amongst other valuable knowledge. This helps the brand to maintain a stronger competitive footing by defying major and upcoming industry rivals.

Customer research :

Keeping customer experience as a priority is a must. Customer related research helps brands become customer centric by understanding needs , wants , expectation, motivations and more . This knowledge is then used to bifurcate the customers into small groups based on their similarities and differences and allows brands to serve individual needs. It can be implemented using various online survey tools. This research inquires about the customer preferences and how close the brand comes to meeting these. Based on this , brands alter their offerings and services to suit the customer , thus , developing loyalty.

Product research:

Product related research mainly entails the understanding of customer perception of brand products. Through this mechanism , brands are able to understand if a particular product is market ready or not. The brand measures the product on usability, price , packaging and a set of other relevant characteristics that assist in identifying the plus points and drawbacks of a product.

Why exactly should a brand carry out market research?

The idea behind any market research is simple: The better you know and understand your customers, the better you’ll be able to serve them. But many organizations ignore the role that nuanced market research plays in the success of the business. So here’s a list of reasons that should be enough to push an organization to invest and practice conducting regular market research:

Customer focus:

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In any industry, the customer is king. Customers expect brands to indulge in a two way interaction with them. This way customers are able to communicate their ideas and suggestions in a way that is openly accepted and implemented by the brand. The fact that brands engage in the extra effort of enquiring customer need , perceptions, ideas and motivations make the customer feel that the brands are interested in something more than just their own revenue. Garner feedback from customers on multiple channels using omnichannel survey software. All this helps generate a loyal customer base as customers feel respected and valued. 

There is no better way to understand your target customers better to help build a seamless customer experience. The more easy it is for your customers to achieve their end objective the more likely they are to stick and promote your brand.

Maintaining competitive edge :

The examples of Papa John’s in the USA or Dunkin Donuts in India must be enough to necessitate the need to understand the whereabouts of your local or high level market. Brands need to keep an eye out for competitors who are willing to snatch market share by stepping up their business practices in a way that makes them more appealing and viable for the customer. The idea behind a competitive analysis is to highlight the methods and best practices as the industry benchmark and adapt accordingly to prevent losing out customers. Moreover , there is no shortage of competition in today’s markets.

Each of these brands has their own USP to attract customers from relevant target groups. Brands need to strike a balance between the values that they offer to their customers in order to offer a comprehensive customer experience that is based purely out of thorough market research.

Marketing assessment:

Your marketing and promotional efforts need to suit your brand personality along with ensuring that customers resonate with the content. For this, brands can conduct market research to find out exactly where the audience traffic is maximum and likely to be more effective. Marketing campaigns can be tested to find out audience sentiment and modify the messaging to maximize efficacy. It is also not necessary that your customers have an equal amount of presence on all the available channels of communication. Market research helps to figure out exactly the medium and channel that customers find preferable so that the marketing can be directed in a way that helps in reaching the target customers.

Concept testing :

Developing ideas, products and services based on the market knowledge of brand personnel is a great way to start but not a foolproof process that guarantees market success. Once a brand has any concept to put out, it is always a refined approach to test if the market is really ready or excited for the brand’s launch. 

During the development or even when the final product is ready , it is better to test out the concept by evaluating market reaction based on the response of a sample group of people. This sample group is accurately picked in order that they resemble that target group of customers that the brand has designed the concept for. This way the brand gets to assess and make improvements in a precise manner.

Adapt to changing market circumstances:

Market conditions and customer preferences don’t remain stagnant. If a customer preferred your product 5 years ago , there is a higher chance that they may be looking for something different if your brand fails to change in line with market dynamics. It is only through regular market research that a brand stays up to date and adapts to suit the changing circumstances.

This way brands do not go obsolete in the way they function and are able to serve current customer needs. Analyzing trends even points out the earlier trends and practices that are no longer worth investing in. Thus , resources are utilized in an optimized manner while making sure that customers remain satisfied with their brand choice.

Identify threats and opportunities :

Surveying your market to point out threats and opportunities is another important benefit that market research offers. Tools such as SWOT analysis serve to identify and take advantage of opportunities before the competition as well as realize threats through early warning signals. Brands can optimally strategize to take advantage of opportunities and make changes to tackle  threats. Capitalizing on opportunities can help the brand in expansion and growth beyond their current presence.They can also prevent losing out on market share by avoiding the uncertain challenges through regular market research.

Increased awareness :

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Customers sometimes miss out on certain features of a product , service or any other offering that the brand puts across. It is while conducting market research that not only customers get to increase their foray of knowledge about the brand and its products, but even the brands get to grasp the customer’s point of view in a holistic manner.

The customer is able to express themselves completely keeping in mind the entire information about the concept being tested. The increased amount of customer awareness also makes them trust the brand due to increased transparency. This makes the information collected reliable and actionable. The brand walks away after gaining insights into customer psychology while the customer becomes more aware about what they engage with. Win-Win

The underlying idea behind market research is to better understand the industry and the people which the brand deals with on a regular basis. This understanding keeps on changing as times change and new technologies and practices evolve , making it necessary for market research to become a habit for every brand irrespective of the nature of their business.

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Hindol Basu 
GM, Voxco Intelligence

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