The case for Data-Conscious Brand Strategy that uses data to inform – not drive – your brand strategy.
Over my many years of developing brand strategies for organizations, I have witnessed my own transformation from being a “traditional” marketer, who was mildly fearful of research and how to use data, to becoming a research-loving, data-loving brand strategist.
Let’s face it, data makes today’s business environment more efficient. We use it to inform decision-making at every level of an organization: new product introductions, validation of positioning and campaign strategies, and corporate culture development. The list goes on and on.
But data is not strategy.
Data that is harvested from your customers and target prospects isn’t unique to you. It may tell you where you perform well. It may tell you where you need to improve. And it can certainly tell you what brand attributes and strengths are most important to your highest value prospects.
But it is an echo chamber.
In virtually every case, aside from your brand’s health metrics, data points relative to the values that drive consumers to choose a brand like yours would be repeated in any brand study conducted by your competitors.
The fact that some strategists take data points and translate them directly into brand and positioning strategies is nothing short of astonishing to me. It is a disservice given that those data points could be used as a positioning for any of your competitors, thus creating the potential for more sameness and a lack of truly differentiated brands.
When it comes to differentiating a brand, unless you are a brand that has defined a particular category or has a one-of-a-kind technology your customers and prospects (read: survey respondents) are not going to be able to tell you exactly how to position your brand in a unique way. If they do, they will likely be doing it in a way that is important to them, and ultimately, the most important values that they want to place on your brand would be placed on any brand they would consider using in that particular product or service category.
Enter Data-Conscious Brand Strategy.
This approach to developing strategies considers the broader picture for informing differentiation concepts. From qualitative one-on-one interviews, to focus groups, to large scale quantitative studies, to carefully mapping the positioning and messaging strategies of your competitors, Data-Conscious Brand Strategy paints a holistic picture of the opportunity landscape, not just cherry-picked data points that look good on paper.
The philosophy behind Data-Conscious Brand Strategy is that strategy development is both a right and left-brained undertaking. Of course, quantitative data should be an integral part of your methodology and inform your process, but it shouldn’t be considered the most important insight set during your discovery process.
At Brandigo, our approach to strategy development involves uncovering 2 to 3 points of distinction (PODs) for our clients. In the best of cases, they are standalone points that are unique, valuable to your audience and cannot be claimed by your competitors – a genuine reason to choose you. In some cases, however, the PODs, while important, aren’t 100% unique. In this case, it is important to use your PODs, the findings from your qualitative and quantitative studies and your competitive market assessment to inform and develop a truly differentiated Data-Conscious Brand Strategy.
Not only does Data-Conscious Brand Strategy development result in a compelling value proposition for your market segments. Often times, it results in new ways of doing business, new product and service offerings, and operational improvements that allow you and your aligned team to deliver on your brand promise on ways that are important to your target audience.
If your brand is in a crowded industry, in need of an updated narrative and a better way to tell your story, Data-Conscious Brand Strategy, not market research, is what you need.
If you want to learn more or have thoughts on this, reach out. I’d love to talk.
Global Vice President of Brand Strategy