Shaken & Stirred - Influential Brand Profiling and Positioning

How to defend your brand using qualitative market research / Guest post by Ray Nelson

Market research is an effective tool for optimizing many aspects of your business. One of the most overlooked uses for market research is proactive defense. Whether you are adapting to shifts in your market or predicting the moves of your competition, these tips offer various ways to use qualitative research to defend your brand.

What is Qualitative Market Research?

Qualitative research typically involves the direct collection of data from a small group of people. While quantitative data might help to uncover trends, qualitative methods help to reveal the underlying reasons behind consumer preferences and decisions. This makes qualitative research ideal for helping to defend your business against competition, shifts in your market and other common threats.

Potential Qualitative Research Sources

  • In-depth interviews
  • Focus groups
  • Usability Testing
  • Moderated Brainstorming Sessions
  • Vox Pop surveys

Six Tips for Using Your Research to Defend Your Brand

  1. Use qualitative research to assess customer satisfaction. From a large multi-national corporation to a local small business, customer satisfaction and loyalty are essential components of success. Lose your customers and no amount of effort, capital or investment will compensate. Qualitative research is a great way to obtain actionable information on how to improve the customer-facing parts of your business.
  2. Keep track of market changes through qualitative research. Customer desires, opinions and needs shape the market in endless ways. This means that if these factors shift, your business could be in danger. Using qualitative research to predict changes in market trends and customer preferences will help your business stay ahead of the competition and weather any changes. Staying ahead of trends can also help to establish authority within your market and grow your business.
  3. Investigate the competition with qualitative research. Qualitative research is not limited to finding out about your own business. Conducting panels and gaining information about your competition and industry can be a vital part of defending your brand. Obtaining information direct from customers and clients can further improve your insights and provide information that might not be available anywhere else. With in-depth information on your competition, you can further differentiate your brand and target your competition’s weaknesses.
  4. Use qualitative research to spur innovation. Innovation is a major component to long-term success for any business. However, innovation is not always about creating a world-changing product or revolutionizing a service. Innovation often addresses direct problems or concerns within a market. By using qualitative research, you can uncover many of these trends and position your business to respond before the competition. In this case, a great offense can also be a great defense.
  5. Observe your market and collect data everywhere. Virtually any interaction can result in some form of useable marketing information. Qualitative research might sound complex or expensive, but sometimes the best sources of information are your simple every day interactions. From small adjustments in pricing or packaging to undiscovered uses for an existing product or service, observing your market offers numerous ways to ensure that your brand is always fresh, popular and relevant within your niche.
  6. Use qualitative data to help conduct tests and refine strategies. While proactive defense is the ideal situation for many businesses, sometimes you have no choice but to wait until a situation has occurred. This is especially common when it comes to responding to actions from market competitors. Quantitative research can allow you to predict actions and conduct mock response training to help decide the best way to respond. It also can allow you to uncover options and factors that might not be apparent if you were implementing changes.

Round Out Your Quantitative Research with Qualitative Research

Though qualitative research often provides in-depth information, it is important to use a variety of research methods to obtain a comprehensive view of your market, business or other factors. Quantitative research always comes at a cost of both time and money. It also requires a concise, targeted approach for optimal success.

Qualitative research is a great way to determine areas to focus quantitative research, round out your market research and ensure that there are no faults in your defense. It is also often cheaper than many qualitative research methods. By starting with qualitative research and later transitioning to quantitative research, you can maximize benefits while keeping your research budget lean and trim.

Brand defense is an important part of long-term success. Market research offers a number of benefits for any business owner or marketer looking to create a proactive defense of their brand. Through proper use of qualitative research methods, you can ensure that your business will always be one step ahead of your competitors. By staying ahead of competitors and trends, you can dominate your market and achieve increased success.

Ray Nelson is a writer specializing in research based qualitative market research and also marketing geared towards women.  Ray enjoys reading marketing blogs and golfing when he’s not writing.

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