Say you have a particular passion for baking cupcakes. You spend most of your time researching, learning, purchasing, baking – this particular area has become an all-encompassing hobby. Then one day, you begin thinking it would be a good idea to take this passion and turn it into a business.
You begin using your pre-existing knowledge of such factors as ingredient sourcing, technique and taste profiles. Then you begin to build a business plan, answering a few crucial questions – what would people pay, how much it would cost, the demand for your specific type of cupcake, points of differentiation that set you apart from the competition – all crucial aspects in having a successful business.
All of these steps are necessary to build a business and build a brand, and they all have one thing in common: information. To succeed, you need data and information, all of which can be gathered through targeted and well-planned research.
Whether it’s a one-person cupcake bakery or a multi-national corporation, the same processes can be applied when building a brand, which at their core, remain simple. Gather information, analyze the information and put the findings into action.
Data-based brands have a built-in road map and foundation in place from the start of the brand building process. Let’s go back to the upstart cupcake bakery. There has been an influx of these types of brands entering the marketplace, which has left it crowded and made standing out with consumers more difficult. Therefore, strong strategic brand direction is a must, in order to navigate the nearly saturated waters of the cupcake brand market.
However, armed with the necessary data, the aspiring cupcake baker is able to build a business and brand development plan with specific end goals, brand differentiation key points and target audience identification, among other crucial brand strategy aspects.
Strong data collection is especially important in today’s online-based society. Gone are the days when market research was costly and time-consuming – now, highly in-depth data can be gathered in a matter of hours, as opposed to days or months. As such, there is little reason not to involve data into branding.
Another benefit is that it allows the brand builders to look both outward and inward when gathering the information necessary to build the brand road map. Not only can you research such factors as the competitive landscape and consumer sentiment, but data can be gathered on the specific product or service at hand, in addition to the overall organization’s characteristics, all of which can be pooled together into a strong strategic plan.
One of the biggest mistakes brands can make is to fall into the trap of constantly chasing what is new or trendy in the industry. Unprepared and short-sighted changes will lead to a brand that is unsure of itself and falls short on its ability to build brand equity. Analytical evolution, on the other hand, provides insight into the best interests for the brand in the short-term and long-term. The data collected can help predict trend lifespans and which new developments have sustainable qualities and should be explored as potential markets.
Data-driven branding can extend to specific brand elements, as well. Verbal branding relies heavily on market research to ensure the brand names are given the best chance for success, beginning early in the process. Data is amassed both to establish initial creative guidelines for name brand creation, and also to research the created names with specified target audiences.
Using market research tactics and data can put your brand on the best path to success, providing it with the necessary tools and strategic direction throughout the development process. Whether it is brand strategy, name brand creation, or a number of additional branding development.
Brannon has been with Addison Whitney since 1996 and has been the leader of hundreds of branding and corporate identity development projects. His various consulting projects encompass everything from brand ideation and strategic positioning to visual identity and validation research.