Know More about Your Brand

Use qualitative research to get external perspective.

Diana Lillicrap 3.28.23


Marketers are experts at knowing a brand inside and out. But sometimes that means we can get so close to the company, product, or service that we can’t always see the forest for the trees.

At these times, it can be extremely valuable to gather some outside perspective. And who better to ask for input on your brand than your key audiences in the form of qualitative research.

If you’re ready to collect external perspective, here are a few things to keep in mind:

Determine the best way to access your audiences

Qualitative input can be gathered through surveys, interviews, focus groups, observation, or a mix of methods. Determine what method makes sense for who you are trying to reach and what you are trying to learn. The simpler the problem, the simpler the collection method can be. For things that are more complex—like testing a new product, explaining a new concept, or comparing different services—you will likely need someone to moderate or be available to answer questions in real-time.

Have a clear plan

Don’t try to cover too much or your test subjects, and your brand, can get confused in the process. Narrow your objectives and keep your questions brief so the conversation you plan to have or survey you conduct is focused and will lead to specific ideas, actions, and outcomes.

Focus on quality over quantity

 By engaging in open-ended questions, you’ll be able to uncover perceptions, opinions, and honest attitudes about the positives and negatives of your brand. This insight, even if from a small sample, can give you fresh perspective and basic truths that can be hard to come by without hearing it directly from real customers.

Keep it simple

You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars and dozens of weeks to learn valuable insight. If you ask good questions to engaged audiences, you’ll get good results.

Be realistic

Not every idea that comes out of this process will be something you can do (for budget, timing, or other reasons). Be sure to acknowledge and thank participants for their input, but don’t be afraid to be honest and set expectations by telling external and internal audiences that not all ideas can be implemented immediately.

Keep an open mind

One of the greatest benefits of qualitative research is honest, personal, and meaningful input. Sometimes things that you didn’t expect to learn are uncovered (good and bad). See them as opportunities to learn about your audience and maybe address broader issues as a result.

Reward loyal subjects

If others are willing to give you their time and ideas, be sure to thank them by sharing your results and providing something of value. It can be a low-cost item for you to give (free products, extra services, etc.) but it should be something of value to participants.

Did this spark an idea? Let's talk!

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