Ward to the Wise

Reasons Brands Fail: #4 Brand Not Based On Research

number-4-brand-not-based-on-researchSometimes a brand redesign takes the company in an entirely new direction – or so it seems. While branding can differentiate your business from your competitors, if it’s not done properly, it could result in some unexpected – and undesired – effects.

The problem occurs when the brand change is not based on research or is not validated as relevant and meaningful to the marketplace. In other words, the brand house is built on a foundation of sand – usually constructed with the filtered viewpoint of the salesforce who are given license to be the experts without testing their accuracy or bias.

The Trouble with Anecdotal Data

Brand promises that are not based on sound research may be considered by buyers to be irrelevant, of little value, unattainable or even blatantly untrue. If any of these is the case, customers start to lose faith in the brand. These situations usually arise when anecdotal data, based on past experiences, is used to develop the new brand promise rather than solid research that provides insight into future opportunities in a dynamic marketplace.

While this field data may give you a good idea of what your customers currently think of you and your product, it doesn’t necessarily help you develop a long-term position or direction for the business. Nor does such input remove the bias of salespeople or customer relationships with individuals in your company. Remember, creating a useable brand is about having a long-term goal for success, not a short-sighted reaction to current feedback.

While it’s tough to bite the bullet on the cost of third-party validation, there is inherent value in doing your research before committing to far more significant budgets for new logos, marketing materials, websites, signage and apparel. It is not enough to listen to salespeople. They are concerned with the here and now and how to make sales today, not the future direction and growth of the business, and rarely are they the company’s most strategic thinkers.

Obtaining Validation

Obtaining the validation you need to improve your chances of realizing the most return on your brand investment means asking questions and doing market research. Ask employees, current customers and potential customers what concerns them about the future and how they hope their suppliers will help them prepare. You need to do this to make sure that your brand promise is the one they need as well as the one you need to reach your business’s gap-creating brand goals.

Find out if customers believe that your current and/or proposed brand promise is delivered with every purchase or interaction. Ask what feelings the brand name evokes when they hear it or see the logo or products. Discuss how they view your brand versus your competitors. Find out what, if anything, more they would like to see from your brand and if they’d recommend it to others.

For a more comprehensive review of your current brand situation and for help in developing suitable market research questions, contact Ward today. We love to get conversations started.

Facebook comments: