5 Reasons to Do Market Research Before Creating a Brand Identity
Discover the key benefits of market research, and how it can help you build a stronger brand.
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Effective market research can help you save a lot of time and money down the road, but in the first instance, it’s the key to building a lasting brand. Learn why it is important to do market research before you start your branding process.
Branding is a process that involves a lot of inward thinking: business owners need to have a well-defined purpose and a unique value proposition for their target customers.
However, creating a brand identity is also reliant on an existing market and finding a way to position your brand on it. Learn why conducting market research is helpful for making informed decisions about your branding strategy.
Market research is a process of gathering information about a target market and customers. There are two main types of market research:
- Primary research: the research you conduct yourself, surveys, focus groups, research of your competition.
- Secondary research: use of existing research, such as white papers, existing surveys or reports on market trends.
Market research is a term used interchangeably with marketing research, however, the two are slightly different. While the former focuses on broader issues such as the state of the market, customers, distribution channels, etc.), marketing research is important as it provides a more in-depth look into marketing: consumer behavior, advertising, promotion and branding.
So, when it comes to branding, it is of course critical to understand the general state of the market (is there even a need for what you’re trying to sell), but it is marketing research that will provide you with the actionable insights to create a strong brand.
Why is it important to do marketing research before branding?
Here are 5 reasons why marketing research can help you improve your branding efforts.
It helps you define your customer base
Most business owners will have some idea of their primary target market, even without thorough research. Say you have a business that sells children’s toys. It’s clear your target audience is children and their parents. But do you know what jobs these parents hold? Or how they can hear about you? Or what makes you different from the competition?
Understanding your customers isn’t just important for marketing purposes, it’s integral to creating a successful brand: no matter how good your idea is, it won’t be profitable unless someone is willing to pay for your product or service.
Knowing who your customers are also means knowing where they are. This is the key to creating a successful marketing strategy so that you don’t waste your time and money on platforms that aren’t relevant to your audience.
Lowers business risks
Starting a small business is scary. Oftentimes, people leave the comfort of their salary-paying jobs and venture into the unknown. And the data is less than comforting. Around 20% of businesses in the US fail after the first year, while 50% quit after 5 years.
Research data helps you identify the right customers, and prevents you from wasting time and money on fruitless opportunities, and instead helps you make informed business decisions.
For example, regular market research can mean focus groups that will help you identify potential issues with new products, whereas surveys and feedback forms can help you figure out areas of improvement in your service, or why customers might want to leave your business.
Improves your messaging
While market research might tell you who they are, marketing research will provide you with information on how to approach your customers.
For example, before launching your product you might want to create a lead magnet landing page and collect contact information of potential customers. Then you create surveys and create segmented email lists based on the data you collected. This will help you send relevant information and content to keep contacts interested in your brand.
Social media is also a powerful tool for conducting marketing research. You can test out different types of ads on different audiences, and also create polls or other engaging content, such as online quizzes to get direct feedback from your prospects.
Finally, this will also help you identify where your customers are most active. Have the majority of them found you through social media or thanks to your SEO efforts? This will help you to focus your marketing efforts better, and once you’re ready to launch your brand you’ll be able to do so on the channels that will give you the most traction.
Helps differentiate yourself from competitors
You might think that the only way to beat competitors is to offer bigger discounts or create more eye-catching marketing materials. However, the first step is understanding your competitors and what they are doing well, or not so great.
If you’ve used market research to identify your customers, then you’ll also have a good understanding of what businesses similar to yours they buy from. This can help you develop your unique value proposition, which is the best way to distinguish yourself from your competition.
This is equally important for brick and mortar as well as online businesses, however in the two cases the process of market research might look a little different. Brick and mortar businesses might use some more traditional research methods such as field trials or focus groups, while online businesses can use social media and other channels to get direct feedback on their offer from potential customers.
Small businesses often need a quick way to boost their sales and get some extra income in their budget. This might mean launching a new product or offering a special promotion or discount for existing customers.
However, doing market research prior to launching your brand will enable you to understand your customers’ needs and make the right offer at the right time. Perhaps your customers don’t want a one-off discount, but a chance to use your product or service long-term for less. Or, you’re failing to attract more clients, because of a missing feature.
Market research will help you identify these needs and make a profit in the least amount of time.
Having lived and studied in London and Berlin, I'm back in native Serbia, working remotely and writing short stories and plays in my free time. With previous experience in the nonprofit sector, I'm currently writing about the universal language of good graphic design. I make mix CDs and my playlists are almost exclusively 1960s.