Brand image and positioning are two key aspects of marketing that influence how consumers perceive and relate to a brand. Brand image is the set of associations, feelings, and impressions that consumers have about a brand, while brand positioning is the way a brand differentiates itself from competitors and communicates its unique value proposition to the target market.
Market research is a valuable tool for understanding and improving brand image and positioning. By conducting market research, marketers can gain insights into the needs, preferences, expectations, and perceptions of their potential and existing customers, as well as the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of their competitors.
Market research can help marketers answer questions such as:
- Who are our target customers and what are their characteristics, behaviors, and motivations?
- How do our target customers perceive our brand and its products or services?
- What are the benefits and attributes that our target customers value most in our product or service category?
- How do our target customers compare our brand to our competitors’ brands?
- What are the gaps or opportunities for improving our brand image and positioning in the market?
- How can we communicate our brand image and positioning effectively to our target customers?
Types of Market Research for Brand Image and Positioning
There are different types of market research methods that can be used to understand and improve brand image and positioning, depending on the objectives, scope, budget, and time frame of the research project. Some of the most common types are:
- Surveys: Surveys are quantitative research methods that involve collecting data from a large sample of respondents using standardized questionnaires. Surveys can be conducted online, by phone, by mail, or in person. Surveys can help measure customer satisfaction, loyalty, awareness, recall, preference, and perception of a brand and its products or services. Surveys can also help segment the market based on customer characteristics and preferences.
- Focus groups: Focus groups are qualitative research methods that involve gathering a small group of participants who share similar characteristics or interests and engaging them in a moderated discussion about a specific topic related to a brand or product. Focus groups can help explore customer needs, wants, expectations, emotions, attitudes, opinions, and experiences with a brand or product. Focus groups can also help generate new ideas or concepts for improving or developing a brand or product.
- Interviews: Interviews are qualitative research methods that involve conducting one-on-one conversations with selected individuals who have relevant knowledge or experience with a brand or product. Interviews can be conducted face-to-face, by phone, or online. Interviews can help gain in-depth insights into customer motivations, preferences, perceptions, behaviors, and feedback regarding a brand or product. Interviews can also help identify customer pain points or problems that a brand or product can solve.
- Observation: Observation is a qualitative research method that involves watching and recording how customers interact with a brand or product in a natural setting. Observation can be conducted in person or using video cameras or other devices. Observation can help understand customer behavior, usage patterns, preferences, needs, and satisfaction with a brand or product. Observation can also help identify customer challenges or difficulties that a brand or product can address.
- Experiments: Experiments are quantitative research methods that involve manipulating one or more variables related to a brand or product and measuring their effects on another variable of interest. Experiments can be conducted in a controlled laboratory setting or in a real-world setting. Experiments can help test hypotheses, measure causal relationships, evaluate outcomes, and compare alternatives related to a brand or product.
How to Conduct Market Research for Brand Image and Positioning
The process of conducting market research for brand image and positioning typically involves the following steps:
1. Define the research objectives: The first step is to clearly state what you want to achieve from the market research project. What are the specific questions you want to answer? What are the expected outcomes or benefits of the research? How will you use the research results to improve your brand image and positioning?
2. Choose the research method: The next step is to select the most appropriate research method for your objectives. You may use one or more methods depending on your needs and resources. You should consider factors such as the type of data you need (quantitative or qualitative), the size and representativeness of your sample (large or small), the cost and time involved (high or low), and the validity and reliability of your results (high or low).
3. Design the research instrument: The third step is to create the research instrument that you will use to collect data from your respondents. This may be a questionnaire for surveys, a discussion guide for focus groups, an interview script for interviews, an observation checklist for observation, or an experimental protocol for experiments. You should ensure that your instrument is clear, concise, relevant, unbiased, and easy to use.
4. Collect the data: The fourth step is to execute the research method and collect the data from your respondents. You should ensure that you follow ethical and legal guidelines, obtain informed consent, protect confidentiality, and maintain quality control. You should also monitor and document the data collection process and address any issues or challenges that may arise.
5. Analyze the data: The fifth step is to process and analyze the data that you have collected. You should use appropriate statistical or thematic techniques to summarize, organize, interpret, and present the data. You should also look for patterns, trends, relationships, differences, and insights that answer your research questions and objectives.
6. Report the findings: The final step is to communicate the findings and implications of your market research project to your stakeholders. You should prepare a clear, concise, and compelling report that highlights the key results, conclusions, and recommendations of your research. You should also include supporting evidence, such as charts, graphs, tables, quotes, or examples. You should also discuss the limitations and suggestions for future research.
Brand image and positioning are essential elements of marketing that can influence customer perception, preference, and loyalty. Market research is a powerful tool for understanding and improving brand image and positioning. By conducting market research, marketers can gain valuable insights into their target market, their competitors, and their own brand performance. Market research can help marketers create a strong brand identity that sets them apart from the rest and delivers value to their customers.