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When it comes to branding – research should come first
February 27, 2019 | Sarah Larson

If you’ve spent any time with MindFire Co-Founder and President Lynn Manternach, you’ve no doubt picked up on her passion for research. In fact, when you interact with anyone on the MindFire team, you’ve probably heard us talk about the importance of research ad nauseum. Well – we’re not apologizing for it. 😊

At MindFire, we believe in using insights from research to drive strategy and recommendations. It takes the guesswork out of your decisions and provides you with the information you need to fine-tune your message and figure out how to truly connect with your audience. At no point is that research phase more important than when you’re building or refining your brand.

Most organizations, regardless of size, can’t afford to waste resources on branding and marketing that don’t work. The best way to make sure what you’re selling and what you’re saying resonates with your targeted customers is to find out their version of the truth. Because when it comes right down to it, that’s the reality that really matters.

Rigorous brand research can help you uncover significant competitive opportunities and threats, including brand positioning opportunities that you may have not previously considered. That added insight has the potential to make all the difference for your brand and your bottom line.

Talking to stakeholders

You know what your brand is, but do you know what other people think of your brand? What do your customers think? How about the vendors you work with? What are your employees’ thoughts about your brand?

To understand your brand and accurately position it, you have to evaluate how it is currently perceived. At MindFire, we start on the inside, with a Discovery Workshop. This focus-group-like session digs into how people within the organization perceive the brand’s strengths, differentiators and even the brand personality.

We use what we learn in the Discovery Session as the foundation for the next step – brand research with customers, clients and other external stakeholders. The data is gathered through online surveys, paper surveys, phone interviews, focus groups and more.

This primary research with your brand’s external stakeholders helps us understand perceptions of the brand experience, brand attributes and the emotional connections your brand has built with consumers. Plus, it helps us understand where there may be gaps between internal brand perceptions and external perceptions.

It’s important to remember that your brand isn’t what you say it is. It’s what your customers say it is. Check out this article to see some of the questions we ask during our research, and use this article if you’re considering whether you should conduct your own research or hire a company.

Stakeholder surveys help gather valuable data

Analyzing the data

After the data has been collected, the most important step in the process occurs – analysis. This is where the rubber hits the road. Wading through the raw data can be very time-consuming, but it also provides great insight into how your customers think and feel, which can be hard to duplicate in any other way.

The most important part of the research process is translating data into strategy. The right research company will help you understand what the data means and how it can be used to develop strategies that connect to business objectives and outcomes.

Understanding the true essence of your brand is essential to any strong marketing program. Companies are more successful when they take the time to ask their customers what they want and what they think. That’s because these companies understand what makes them relevant to their customers, how they add value and what brings their customers back again and again.

Case studies

Don’t just hear it from us.

When the town of Geneseo reached out to MindFire to help promote their community, we conducted an online survey of more than 2,000 qualified respondents to identify what they loved about the town. Based off the results noting Geneseo as a great place to raise a family with excellent schools, we knew where to shine a light.

Likewise, MindFire was able to help Quad Cities MetroLink determine different segments to focus on and service areas to highlight in order to increase brand awareness and ridership. Using research, MindFire identified a group of occasional riders that would likely increase their use of Metro if they better understood its convenience, routes and schedule information.

MindFire also helped the Quad Cities Convention & Visitors Bureau (QCCVB) utilize research to determine what visitors and residents saw as the best reasons to visit the Quad Cities. The findings led to a new brand position focused on the variety of area events and the Mississippi River.

Your organization could be next. If you’re interested in amplifying your brand or conducting research to see where there are opportunities for your company, reach out to us. We’re ready to ignite your brand.

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