Market Research for Branding: How Insights Help Your Brand-Building

For most consumer products it’s easy to think of a big-name brand: from smartphones, to ice cream, to sneakers. But such brands didn’t become well-known and successful overnight. Each one has put countless hours and dollars into identifying the right message for their audience.

And how did they work out what their audience wanted to see and hear? Through market research

Market research and brand-building go hand in hand. Together, they allow you to tap into the mindset of your target audience and shape your product messaging to fit its needs and desires. So let’s take a closer look at how your brand can be strengthened by effective market research.

Firstly, What is Branding?

Building a brand is about building a reputation and increasing recognition for your company, establishing a set of values and unique identifiers. Many people hear the word “brand” and they think of global conglomerates like Nike, Apple, or Coca-Cola – but smaller businesses can (and should) also develop a strong identity that resonates with their prospects and customers.

Overall, branding goes beyond what you do and pushes you into the realms of why you do it. A brand won’t rely on their features and benefits, but they’ll tap into the purpose behind what they do and connect this purpose with the aspirations of their target audience.

Before You Start Branding: Establish a Product Market Fit

So you’ve just created a new product, you’ve put all your energy and enthusiasm into it, and you’re convinced of its merits – you may be thinking that now is the time to start building your brand. We need an awesome logo, the perfect design for a website, evocative ads, etc.

But hold your horses: you’ve missed out a step.

Before you start pouring money into a branding operation, you need to check if there’s a product-market fit. What do we mean by this? Well, it means making sure that there is an auspicious market for your product or service, that there is a gap it will fill and that consumers will be willing to buy it. 

Branding market research is crucial to establishing a product-market fit, so let’s take a look at how you would go about this.

  • Secondary research: Start your market research with an overview of secondary sources. For example, if you’re launching a family budgeting app – check out industry publications like Fintech Magazine, personal finance blogs like MoneyCrashers, and competitor websites. Get a general feel for the market landscape and existing tools.
  • Primary research: The next stage is to carry out your own primary research, through channels such as focus groups, interviews, and online surveys. This will allow you to dig deeper into the minds of your potential customers and determine whether they would be open to trying your product.

Once you’ve conducted your research, you should have enough data to guide your next move; if you’ve identified a market for your product, you can proceed to generate sales (and then building a brand) with confidence. On the other hand, you may need to go back to the drawing board to tweak your offer because you can’t validate that consumers are looking for it.

Why me? Identifying Your Unique Value Proposition

As the logo is the most obvious visual aspect of a brand, you might think that this is the best place to start your brand-building. Crack the logo and everything else will fall into place, right?

But there’s another component of branding that should underpin all the rest of your branding efforts and help you create a strong, consistent message. That’s your unique value proposition (UVP). This is more than a simple phrase or catchy statement. It usually consists of a headline, a longer subheadline or paragraph, 2-3 benefits/features, and a key visual. 

The UPV captures what makes your brand uniquely desirable, and explains why an audience would choose to spend their hard-earned money on what you have to offer. Once again, market research comes into play here. For example, by using an online survey, you can test different elements of your UPV, seeing which parts resonate with your audience and which don’t. 

With Pollfish, you can design an effective mobile survey to find out just what your target audience thinks of your UVP as you develop it. We provide access to millions of participants in over 160 countries globally, so you can aim your survey at a very specific demographic. 

Branding Market Research and Your Strategy

Whether you’re building a brand from the ground up or trying to rejuvenate an existing brand, market research is your best friend. By regularly checking your audience’s perception of your brand, you’ll be saving money on misguided marketing efforts, while also discovering segments that you never thought would be interested in your product.

Here are three ways that market research can help you achieve a strong, healthy brand:

  1. Test your logo and messaging: Find out what potential customers really think of your design from the logo, to visual website content, to email fonts. No element is too small to run by your audience. Even a slight adjustment to the color of your logo could create a different emotional impact.
  2. Discover brand awareness levels: One measure of your brand’s success is how readily it is recognized by consumers and correctly associated with your product or service. Carrying out regular brand awareness surveys can help you quantify how familiar consumers are with your brand compared with your competitors’.
  3. Uncover weaknesses in your branding: Even the strongest brand has room for improvement, and conducting ongoing market research can help you identify any cracks before they grow bigger and more difficult to fix. For example, a Net Promoter Score survey can give you a heads-up about the satisfaction levels of your all-important existing customers. 


Discover New Opportunities

Are you sure you know who your audience is? Your brand might be a favorite with female gamer college-students or vegan male gym-enthusiasts, but there could be a whole new segment out there waiting to discover you.

Effective market research makes it possible for you to identify these growth areas and take your brand to more consumers who will love you.