With the increased competition in the modern globalized marketplace, brand defense is an essential part of securing your place within the market and achieving long-term success. Qualitative research is an effective tool for optimizing or creating brand defense strategies. These tips offer actionable ways for brands in any industry to utilize qualitative research for maximum benefits.
Understanding Qualitative Market Research
Market research is useful for obtaining additional information about a segment of your audience, predicting market trends and analyzing existing efforts. Market research is often split into two main types–qualitative research and quantitative research. While quantitative can provide general overviews of market trends and establish benchmarks for your brand operations, it does little to provide insight into why markets behave the way that they do or the underlying motivations of your target segment.
Qualitative research uses small participant groups and in-depth questioning and observation to help uncover the underlying motivations to why and when decisions are made. From the impact of your branding and other visual elements to the best words to use for optimal engagement and conversion rates, qualitative research holds the key to unlocking the inner workings of why your market behaves the way that it does and how your business can most effectively capture the market.
Popular Qualitative Research Methods Include:
- Focus Groups: Focus groups typically involve participant groups of 15 to 20 individuals. Larger tests should be conducted through segmentation to keep group size low and allow for greater personalized interaction.
- Vox-Pop Surveys: Also known as “man on the street” surveys, vox pop surveys are often impromptu and untargeted. A simple question is asked to random participants at a location. In most cases, the main goal of the question is not to record to spoken answer but to gauge response, emotion and deeper elements of the response.
- Observational Studies: Observational studies are often connected with focus groups. In these studies, one-way mirrors, cameras or other devices provide ways to observe or record interactions between group members or moderators. This is often used to gauge engagement, emotional response or other body language.
- In-Depth Interviews: Interviews are useful for obtaining ample amounts of information in one session. In many cases, interviews will last for an hour or more. Most in-depth interviews are recorded for later analysis and discussion.
- Video Conferences: This format is gaining popularity quickly amongst digital brands and entrepreneurs. By removing the cost and physical limitations of gathering participants in a single location, focus groups and other popular formats are possible using a high-speed Internet connection and compatible camera.
- Forums and Online Discussion Groups: Long-term research often faces issues with engagement and expenses. Forums and online discussion groups offer an excellent alternative to face-to-face interaction over long periods of time. Participants simply log in and answer questions or discuss issues at times most convenient to them.
Ideal Ways to Implement Defensive Strategies through Qualitative Research
Though specific tactics will change depending on your industry, business phase and available resources, these simple concepts are applicable to most brands.
1. Utilize Qualitative Market Research to Improve Communication
A key metric for many brand communications is engagement. With the rise in popularity of social media, video marketing, mobile marketing and other communication-centric formats, understanding how to best speak with your target audience is crucial. Qualitative research makes it simple to analyze the definitions of important terms to your audience and learn how they communicate. Integrating this information into your efforts will improve engagement and help defend your brand from competitors.
2. Minimize Weak Points in Your Brand
Qualitative research not only provides insightful access to opinions, but provides information into how a market segment forms these opinions. This allows you to find potential weaknesses in brand practices, image, products or services and strengthen your defenses. By reacting to market concerns and complaints, you can position yourself as a brand that is in touch with it’s customer base and caring as well.
3. Bolster Authority through Market Research
Qualitative research is ideal for uncovering alternative uses for existing products and services or finding needs within your market that are currently unmet. Through utilizing this information to shape your brand, you can position yourself as an innovator and authority within your industry. By shaping the trends for your market, you are forcing the competition to take a defensive stance. In some cases, the best defense is a good offense.
Brand defense is an important part of strengthening any brand. These tips and strategies offer effective ways to utilize qualitative research when improving the defensive strategies of your brand.
Guest Post: Willie Pena is a freelance writer, video producer, visual artist, and music producer. He prefers the Oxford comma. Connect with him on LinkedIn.