No offense, but what you want doesn't really count.

Imagine a chef who creates a restaurant menu around his own tastes, not what his customers like.  You wouldn't be surprised if he went out of business. And the same is true for you. 

The people who matter are the ones who buy your products or services. 

All too often, brand consultants pander to client demands because it's the softer, easier road. But the outcome can be disastrous. Gap famously wasted $100 million with a company-wide rebrand that was out of sync with customer preferences.

To have a robust brand, you need market research.

Without data you're just another person with an opinion. – W. Edwards Deming

Types of brand research

Keyword research
Your keywords and those of your competitors can optimize your website.  Social hashtag searches can uncover intent.
Third-party research
Third-party studies reveal market size, trends, and potential. Third-party research enriches and broadens your target customer profile.
Custom research
Custom surveys of stakeholders including ex-clients reveal where the current brand is succeeding or missing the mark.
Content analysis
Your website's content reveals patterns that encourage or discourage trust. Trust is the main element of profitable brands.

Insights

Your market

You need to understand your competition and emerging trends in order to grow your market share. I help you measure where you stand, how competitors can outrank you, and how much growth you can hope for.

Your buyers

I look at the keywords customers use and, more importantly, at the intent behind their searches. I combine this with custom surveys and third-party research to build a 360º view of your ideal customer segments.

Your competitors

A competitive brand audit will tell you if you are differentiated from your direct and indirect competitors. Brand value accounts for up to 40% of a company's value and determines whether it can command top prices.

Your brand

Trust in a brand drives loyalty, more purchases, and premium pricing – but less than half of Americans trust business. Brand insights include measuring your brand's credibility, online presence, and relevance.

Areas of brand research

Your brand

What are your mission and core values?
What are the vision and mission statements that guide your business growth and provide the benchmarks for decisions?
What's your unique selling proposition?
What is the brand promise that sets you apart from your competitors and provides a reason for. customers to choose you?
What's your brand personality?
What is the brand personality archetype that comes closest to your brand's authentic history and identity?

Your brand message

What is your current brand message?
What does a review of your marketing materials reveal about your brand positioning and brand message?
Is your brand message cohesive and consistent?
Are the brand message and creative execution congruent? Is the brand message cohesive and consistent across platforms?
Is it aligned with your current market knowledge?
Does your brand fit what you currently know about your customers, competition, and marketplace?

Your customers

Who are your ideal customers?
What are their demographics, geographic locations, psychographics, and buying behaviors?
Why do they buy, really?
What are the subconscious motives and factors that drive customers to choose your brand over another brand?
What are their personas?
What are the detailed customer portraits that can guide your web designers, writers and other creatives?

Your competitors

Who are your direct competitors?
How do you compare with them in terms of market share, pricing, and relative strengths and weaknesses?
Who are  indirect competitors?
What are alternatives that indirectly divert consumers/clients from your product or service?
What do your competitors say?
How do competitors communicate with customers and what is their branding and message?

Your industry

What are industry perceptions?
What are the perceptions of your industry? Where does your industry sit on the spectrum of trustworthiness?
What are industry trends and threats?
What are existing trends and what opportunities or threats do they present to your business? 
What is the general context?
What are the economic, legal, and political issues that may impact your organization and its success?

Your business

What do stakeholders say?

What do surveys tell us about how your employees, past clients, and other stakeholders view your company?

What can interviews tell us? 

What do one-on-one interviews reveal about the data in stakeholder surveys and about your business?

And a SWOT analysis?

What will a SWOT analysis tell us about your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats?

Trusted e-commerce brands are 20% more profitable.

Your brand is what people say about you behind your back. 

Research allows you to listen in.

A website trust audit identifies the biggest fails
I analyze site factors that decrease your conversions or negatively impact your brand
What your customers don't want to tell you
I combine surveys and interviews to uncover what clients think about you
Where and how your competition is winning
I reverse engineer competitor search engine rankings, website content, and offers
Industry trends that may disrupt how you do business
I decipher the cultural trends impacting whether your brand rises or falls

Want to start with research and see how it goes?

No need to buy a whole brand and website revamp. If you just want some insights into your industry or your competition, we can start there and leave the rest for another day.
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