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Five Signs It’s Time to Conduct Brand Research

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Stephanie Douglass

Sr. Director, Marketing and Operations

Disruption is the new normal for businesses as technological advances across industries occur quicker than ever. As start-ups enter the market and former industry stalwarts begin to lose market share, it’s critical that companies keep pace with the market and their brands’ position. It can be hard to recognize the signs that it’s time to re-evaluate your company’s position in the market when you have your head down in the day-to-day activity of running a business. Nonetheless, it’s critical to keep a finger on the pulse of consumer reactions to your brand.

So, what are a few things that might signify a closer look at your category and brand?

  • Market share is growing or declining at a new rate

If you’ve noticed that your growth rate for market share has started to wane, there may be some new factors at play in your market. Before it’s too late to tackle the issue, leverage market research to uncover what’s changed and how you can get ahead of it. On the flip side, if your market share is growing rapidly, it’s critical to understand what is driving consumer interest and make sure you continue to meet their changing needs.

  • You or your competitors are beginning to offer new products and services

Evolution in business is natural and expected. As your business evolves and you begin offering additional products and services, make sure that your new initiatives are aligned with what the market needs. Leverage market research to understand how your new product offering might affect consumer perception of your brand and ensure that you are in fact enhancing your product offerings and capitalizing on an unmet need.

  • A new competitor has entered the market

New competitors often bring a new perspective. They may be tackling a common problem differently, or have a compelling positioning and point of difference that warrants a second look. But don’t worry, if you find yourself scrambling to address new competition, market research can be leveraged to better understand your own position in the market relative to those new competitors and what attributes you should stress for maximum consumer interest. As they say, competition is healthy – but only if your company is prepared to meet any new competitors head-on.

  • Your target audience is changing

As GenX’ers become grandparents (and yes, 10% of you are grandparents) and the number of Millennials that are parents is greater than those who aren’t (a whopping 53%), brands often find themselves with similar target demographics but vastly different consumer mindsets. Even within generational categories, there are variances and nuances in how consumers perceive your brand. And your target doesn’t just change, but as the world changes so does your consumers’ reaction to it. Fundamental to any good marketing strategy is understanding the target. If at any time it seems this group changes, it’s time to understand what exactly is different.

  • Current brand materials and messaging are beginning to feel stale and old or lack effectiveness

Sometimes you just don’t think your logo resonates with your company anymore. That’s okay. Brands evolve. But before you go re-branding, leverage market research to validate your feelings. The worst scenario would be re-branding only to find out your customers have a nostalgic love and cult-like attachment to your current brand.

Is it time to conduct brand research?

If your company or category is experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s definitely time to take a look at some brand research. Not only will you get insight into overall brand awareness and perception, but you can also understand your customer’s experience and ultimately emotional engagement with your product. Data that you can use to inform future marketing, product development and overall business strategy.

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