What can a well-defined brand do for you?

June 25, 2014 at 2:48 PM Leave a comment

How do you differentiate your brand from that of your competitors?  The key is in knowing how your customers perceive your brand.  Differentiating your brand in a way that helps you meet your customers’ most important needs leads to increased brand awareness and advantageous competitive positioning.

One approach to better understand your customers’ perceptions of your brand is to conduct a study that addresses the following issues:

  • Brand awareness (both aided and unaided)
  • Current and future purchasing patterns
  • Drivers of brand or product selection.  Typically, the drivers will fall into one or more of these areas: company attributes, product characteristics and value-added solutions
  • Competitor performance for each of the drivers of brand or product selection

Evaluating brand awareness and purchasing patterns demonstrates the current effectiveness of your brand in the market.

The drivers of brand or product selection are evaluated in two ways: stated importance and derived importance. Customers are asked to evaluate which drivers are most important to them. This is the “stated importance” of each driver. Then, we derive the importance of each driver within the context of future purchasing patterns – “derived importance”. Comparing stated and derived importance reveals important customer needs that customers might not be readily aware of or might not feel comfortable stating.

(click on the image to enlarge)

The figure above is an example of stated vs. derived importance (represented here by the “hidden motivators” quadrant of the chart.

For example, the purchaser of diapers might say that comfort and absorbency are the only characteristics that are important, but derived importance shows that price is the primary driver of product selection. In this scenario, parents might not feel comfortable stating that they value price more than their baby’s comfort and well-being.

Lastly, the study should evaluate three or four competitors for each of the drivers ofbrand or product selection.  This analysis is used to develop a perceptual map, like the one shown below, that illustrates the drivers that are most associated with your brand.

(click on the image to enlarge)

An example of a perceptual map. The shaded areas help to show how closely each driver of brand selection is associated with each each company. (click the image to enlarge)

MedSpan Research recently conducted such a study for a client that sells products to hospitals.  Over a period of two weeks, MedSpan conducted an online survey of 150 hospital executives identified through RapidAccessTM, our proprietary contact database.

The study revealed that our client has limited awareness amongst hospitals that are not current customers.  The perceptual maps showed that their brand is distinct from that of their key competitors but not as clearly defined in the minds of their customers.  The maps also revealed that many “very important” drivers of brand selection are not associated with our client or any of its competitors.

Therefore, there is a wonderful opportunity to drive an increase in revenue by raising awareness among non-customers.  A more clearly defined brand that includes one or two “very important” drivers that are not associated with any competitor’s brand would further differentiate the brand and increase its appeal to potential customers.

These insights help our client to go on to the next step of the research, which is to fine-tune a brand image that builds upon brand perceptions, and find opportunities to incorporate their customers’ most important unmet needs in its brand initiatives. By conducting a well-structured study of brand awareness and perceptions, we provide actionable insights that enable our client to consider new approaches to driving market share.

How do your customers view your brand? Does this match your own perceptions of your brand? Are your marketing strategies supporting your brand as your customers perceive it, and molding your brand as you want your customers to perceive it? 


To find out more about MedSpan, visit us at our homepage www.MedSpanResearch.com.


Entry filed under: Brand Awareness, Branding, Healthcare marketing, Niche marketing.

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