Using small samples to understand brand values

With the Euros, now in full swing I have to admit I find it amusing at how many managers and commentators are talking about their “philosophy”, a few years ago it was the “project” and in the good old days of Bobby Robson and Bryan Clough is was about tactics to beat your opponent on the day.

Nevertheless every now and then it is worth going back to basics and looking at the academic construct behind your discipline.  This is something I have been doing to underpin qualitative brand research for clients.

The fact is that all opinions are not equal and not held to the same level.  This is why Keller in his seminal work back in 1993 proposed that brands needed to be couched in the following associations:

  • Favourability – the extent to which associations are desirable to consumers
  • Uniqueness – the extent to which associations are limited to one market player
  • Strength – the likelihood that information is accessible and can be recalled

The problem is it is difficult to measure how to incorporate these dimensions simultaneously.  My solution is far from ideal but does offer some elements that can help marketers understand their own brand values and how their competitors match up.

  1. Ask the person what are the most important elements in a specific market. Letting them define the aspects is key to this and so an element of gamification tends to be helpful to increase the number of responses.
  2. Ask them how important it is for a company to have these attributes – including whether it is important for the company not to have such aspects
  3. Ask them which companies have such attributes and finally how favourably one company compares to another. Do not know and no supplier are important aspects here.

At this point it is then possible to analyse the aspects in terms of frequency, associations in terms of individual responses and whether the assumptions are functional (hard) or emotional (soft).

The data can then be analysed and give you an idea of how you compare to key competitors (I tend to like the 3 circles approach to competitor analysis as well as the strengths and weaknesses of the brand.

You can also do the same process internally and see how the brand values that your staff see inherent in the business match up to your customers.

If you want any more information and I know I have been deliberately vague about key aspects, give me a call on 07885 888085.

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