Branding Research – Building Your Brand

During Super Bowl XLIX, aka the “battle of the brands”, a 30-second ad cost about $4.5 million! Companies have historically paid such astronomical prices to reach an enormous audience with a message about their brands. Similar expenditures may be seen during the World Cup finals or the Olympics where signage and logos are also used extensively to promote a brand.




The goal is always to break through clutter, gain awareness of a brand name and establish its value proposition. It can easily be argued that marketing dollars could be better spent over the course of a year, but the money spent on these events highlights how important branding can be.

To gain loyal repeat customers and to gain a premium price, the market must be aware of and have a positive perception of your brand.

When should Branding Research be conducted?

Once a brand has been launched, there are many ongoing marketing issues that deserve attention. Whether you call it brand research, branding research or brand equity research, following are some examples, all of which may be addressed and answered with a solid market research program.

Is your target market aware of your brand/your logo?

  • Aided or unaided questions can be posed to determine the answer
  • If aware, what are their perceptions of it? What words do they choose to describe how they feel about your product?
  • Over time, how much do your marketing efforts change awareness and/or perception?

What competitive products or services are in the consideration set of your customers and prospects?

  • What are their relative strengths and weaknesses?
  • How do they compare to yours?
  • What actions should be taken as a result of knowing this?
  • Is anyone else trying to sell a product that infringes on your brand?
  • Have you protected your brand against potential copyright violations?
  • Do you know if the marketplace confuses your brand name with others?

Here is just one instance where a foreign manufacturer of power storage products (that does not offer a search engine) has copied the look, colors and even the sound of a well-known U.S. company.

Branding Research – Post launch/ongoing is notbranding-google

How to do Branding Research

A mix of qualitative and quantitative methods can be used to conduct a post-launch study of a brand.

  • At an early stage, i.e. when initially introduced, personal interviews and/or focus groups can be used to establish baseline levels of awareness and the terms that express perceived values of the product compared to competition.
  • Using this as input, larger scale surveys can be created to elicit responses from a broader audience of users. Questions can be posed either by phone, email or web intercept to your own customers and/or to recruited panel members.
  • If repeated on a regular basis, results from an ongoing (tracking) research program can be used to evaluate the impact of any changes that have been made to your marketing and advertising messages, or to the product itself.

What is the impact of Social Media?

For branding to succeed, there are many ways to expose the product’s name and benefits. Social media can no longer be ignored or considered a communications stepchild. Facebook and twitter in particular have gained staggeringly high daily usage around the world. Though not necessarily representative of offline discussions and actions, online word of mouth or buzz can nevertheless have a significant impact on the success or failure of a brand.

  • Do your customers talk about your brand?
    • Where do these conversations mostly take place?
    • How frequently?
  • Do they, or would they, recommend your product to friends, colleagues or family members?
    • Knowing the Net Promoter Score (NPS) for your brand provides a quick snapshot of how it is performing.

Online mentions of your product, as well as significant market trends that may be correlated with sales of your products, should be monitored, captured and analyzed along with other market research findings.

Whether positive or negative in nature, comments about your brand (and competitors) may be tracked over time to determine the impact of your marketing efforts.

Next Steps

To be a global winner:

  • The market must be aware of your brand
  • Perceptions of your brand must be positive, and ideally higher than for competitive offerings
  • Market research can help to determine which communication channels provide the best return on investment (ROI) for attaining these key goals