Brandspeak has its roots in qualitative research. We identify the Eureka! insights needed to create winning brands

What is qualitative research? A qualitative research definition…

Through its ability to identify and explore rational and emotional attitudes, feelings, priorities, opinions, barriers and behaviours in real detail, qualitative research delivers the level of target audience understanding that is essential for building truly successful B2C and B2B:

Brandspeak undertakes qualitative research extensively, both in the UK and internationally.

Our qual work is conducted both on a standalone basis and as part of mixed methodology projects that involve semiotics, behavioural science, quantitative research, ethnography or neuroscience.

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Why is qualitative research so important for brand success?

Whichever sector your brand operates in, it is likely to be facing more competitive pressures than ever before.

In this environment, it is those organisations that have achieved customer fluency (i.e. they have significant understanding of their target audience’s rational and emotional mindset and behaviours) that are best placed to succeed, because that fluency enables them to configure brands that display meaningful differentiation in terms of:

  • What they offer; their positioning, proposition, features benefits and essence
  • What they say and do; their sales and distribution strategy, their marketing campaigns and communications, and the nature of the customer experience and support they provide, both pre- and post-sale

And whilst it is quantitative research that will be used to monitor and fine-tune these brand components over the longer-term, it is qualitative, exploratory research that is needed to identify the different elements comprising meaningful differentiation in the first place.

Without the Eureka! insights provided by exploratory, qualitative research brands run the risk of presenting themselves as undifferentiated ‘me-too’s’, and also missing opportunities that could make them sector leaders.

Qualitative research methods and types

Brandspeak conducts qual both in-person and online.

By online qualitative research we mean qualitative research that is conducted via PC, laptop, tablet and / or mobile. This may be on a 1-2-1 basis, or potentially in the form of digital focus groups, communities or bulletin boards.

By face-to-face qualitative research we mean either in-person (e.g. via focus groups or depth interviews) or voice-to-voice (e.g. via phone).

When we start to work with you we’ll explain the merits of person-to-person versus online approaches within the context of your own project – and then make recommendations about which approach is going to be most suitable.

In summary, however, face-to-face and / or 1-2-1 qual may be more appropriate:

  • When a highly detailed exploration of subject matter is required
  • For subject matter that is personal, business critical or otherwise sensitive in nature
  • For creative development projects, where respondents work together to achieve broad consensus on key, related issues and opportunities.

Online qualitative research may be more relevant when:

  • The research is being conducted in stages, over a period of days or weeks
  • There is a significant volume of stimulus material to be shown and reviewed in depth, over time
  • Respondents are geographically dispersed or otherwise hard to reach.

Qualitative research examples

Some of our most recent, B2C qualitative research work has included;

  • Assessing and optimising the relevance and impact of a pet insurance company’s brand
  • Reviewing and enhancing a online medical proposition designed to compete with high street pharmacies on behalf of a digital start-up
  • Identifying the social media influencer activities and messages most likely to result in product or service purchase by their followers
  • Understanding how to increase train travel by addressing the unmet, physical and emotional customer service needs of high value traveller segments at key stages of the traveller journey
  • Determining and optimising the likely uptake of a proposed retail promotion on behalf of a global petrol station brand.

Some of our most recent, B2B qualitative research work has included;

  • Assessing the B2B insurance product portfolio of a leading insurer, in order to identify the gaps and weaknesses resulting in lost business
  • Assessing and optimising the appeal of a new product being developed by a global, employee benefits provider
  • Assessing and filtering new B2B service ideas being considered by a global, online marketplace provider

Combining qualitative and quantitative research

Whilst exploratory qual may be commissioned on a standalone basis, it may equally be followed by quantitative research to validate and prioritise the qual insights and further refine the concept or hypothesis on which they are based.

Quantification of qualitative results is particularly appropriate, for example, when major marketing decisions or investments are to be based on the findings, or if the commissioning organisation wishes to use the research output as part of an application for investment or funding.

Who should use qualitative research?

Qualitative research is equally as appropriate for SMEs and start-ups as it is for global brands.

Most of the larger businesses that we work with use qualitative research on an ongoing basis. They know how to get real value out of it – and the agencies that provide it.

However, this is often not the case with start-ups and SMEs. For them, the benefits of qualitative research are often unknown.

However, qualitative research can actually be more important for smaller businesses – and they can benefit disproportionately from it, as they seek to establish their meaningfully different brands based on real customer fluency.

How can qualitative research help your company?

If you would like to know more about how online or face-to-face qualitative research can help your company, please send us an email or call us on +44 (0)203 858 0052  or +44 (0)117 407 0187

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