June 24, 2015

Brand research: A walk in your consumers’ shoes

It’s easy for companies to say, “Let’s put ourselves in the shoes of our consumers.” It certainly makes sense when trying to figure out what they see in your brand, why they buy your products, and what attributes are most important to them. The problem is, most people within the company have a predisposition to lean towards what they believe is important for the brand. So in reality, the whole “in their shoes” idea goes right out the window.

That’s where research comes in. Brand research captures customer brand perceptions through surveys, interviews, focus groups, database analytics and other methods, which often reveal hidden gems about what consumers actually value. It may confirm what you believe is important, but, more likely than not, you will see that consumers value a completely different product attribute.

After you have completed the research, the next step begins — using what you learned about your consumers to tailor a message to them.

Here’s a little context. One of our clients always thought their product being domestically produced was one of the most important factors in the eye of the consumer. (Who wouldn’t, with all the hype you see about “Made in the USA” and the strong opinions that surface when companies outsource overseas?)

But, the results of a survey we conducted told a completely different story. According to consumers, “American Made” ranked 5th in most appealing statements about the company, while “No pre-drilling” ranked 1st. 

Now that you have the results, what comes next? Integration. Having the information is great, but the real value of research is integrating those consumer-validated messages into a campaign. 

In this case, we tested the messages on social media (Facebook). The demographic, targeting, and budget were all the same. The only variable was the message: we used both “American Made Value” and “No Pre-Drilling” messages. That way, we’d have a direct comparison of how these two messages stacked up against one another.

The results were nothing short of impressive.

As you can see, our “No Pre-Drilling” message blew “American Made Value” out of the water. From “Likes” and comments to shares and engagement — it’s clear which message prompted the stronger reaction and it wasn’t what our client originally expected. Now that we know what their consumers like, future campaigns are a breeze and more effective than ever.

Taking the research we conducted into account, we were able to create ads that realized a 263% increase in engagement. That’s a huge number that makes all the difference between a mediocre message and one that brings you success.

It just goes to show that without the right research, you may THINK you know what message is important to your consumers. But, are you willing to risk your entire brand on it? Sometimes, consumers surprise you. As long as you’re willing to put in the effort, a little bit of research can go a long way to get you the results you’re looking for.

So, don’t just talk about putting yourself in your customers’ shoes — wear them and walk around a bit.

We can get these kinds of results for you, too! Just give us a shout at Digital@b-y.net to learn more about how we can strategically use research to grow your brand.

Gavin Saxer's Profile Image

Gavin Saxer

A permanent resident in the world of digital, Gavin is a social media and web maven. His unrelenting energy gives him the fuel to dive head first into every task he’s tackling. From small social media jobs to website overhauls to fully integrated campaigns, Gavin not only manages the project, but is also an integral part of the planning, strategy and execution. He’s constantly expanding his knowledge base to stay ahead of digital trends and help clients see just how far their digital efforts can take them.

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