Does your Market Research challenge you?


Sometimes your market research will confirm, what you already know. Sometimes it will help explain and add detail to what you know.

How often does your research challenge what you thought you knew? How often does it make you think completely differently about your brand, your product, your consumer?

As a brand owner you should know your brand better than anyone. You have access to many different sets of information, each of which is another brick in the edifice of your brand knowledge. Each individual piece of information builds upon the others to give you a comprehensive picture of brand performance, strengths, weaknesses, threats and opportunities.

So how do you feel when you come across a piece of research that challenges your world view?

That prompts you to look differently at some aspects of your brand. That implies that some of what you have been doing is damaging, rather than building, your brand.

You may be tempted just to dismiss it as wrong. Some errant data, an unrepresentative sample, or a misinterpretation of the consumer feedback.

Certainly you should check its validity, but having done so, how do you actually feel about a piece of research that challenges your – or the accepted – view of the brand?

To do more research to investigate it further is going to cost time and money. It will slow you down.

If you are new to the brand, it might fire your enthusiasm to change direction and make a difference, but if you have been around for a while, you will now have to go to your team – and your seniors – and explain a change in thinking and direction, to admit that you might have got it a bit wrong beforehand. You will have to invest time and energy to get them all onboard with the change in thinking and direction.

Changing your approach, doing something different, may be an opportunity to revitalise your brand, to leapfrog the competition, to really shake up your market. Alternatively, it could go very wrong.

The story of every successful brand, in fact of every successful business, is that they did something differently. Often as a result of seeing their market, their products, or their consumers in a different way from their competitors.

Much of your research should build incrementally upon everything else you already know, but the best brand owners not only welcome challenging research findings, they seek them out. They search for different ways to view their brands, their products, their consumers.

Yes it is challenging, yes it will take more time and effort and yes it can be risky. But it is how you make a difference for your brand, your company and for yourself. It also makes the job more interesting and much more fun.

Chris Lukehurst is a Consumer Psychologist and a Director at The Marketing Clinic:

Providing Clarity on the Psychological relationships between consumers and brands