R&D The Heck Out of Your Brand Part 1
Let's talk about research. It’s an essential part of anything worth building and the cornerstones of a project’s solid foundation. From what I've found there can never be enough of the stuff, and when it comes to clients, it's the difference between winning the project of our dreams or getting lost in the crowd. We'll discuss a few ways in which to get those labs fired up!
Tip # One - Clearly outline WHERE you will lead the client, and HOW you'll get there. No one likes to be lead astray from their original destination. You know those backseat drivers that say “I know this place like the back of my hand.”? The only way that this can be possible is if they've lived, explored, gotten lost, found their way back a few times. They must also have cared enough to go down the same path again to figure out which wrong turn they took so they wouldn't take it again or worse, give someone else wrong directions. It's happened to the best of us, and (to people who enjoy friendships and making connections) it can make you feel terrible for being THAT guy or girl that went the wrong way. The same can be said about creating an experience for that one client that decided to take a dive with your company leading their project. When you think about things from their point of view, they are entrusting years even decades of hard-earned business to someone who may or may not take them in the direction of success.
Here are two things to make the process a little smoother:
1. Find out from THEIR customers who they really are. Ask around.
There are several ways to make contact with almost any brand's most loyal clients or consumers, and beautiful thing is they want to be engaged. After all, they are the ones who truly tell the story of a brand in the end. Social networks have been the key to understanding what's actually happening on a much more personal basis with consumers, and they are also serving as the catalysts for developing the company’s marketing personas. Brands are learning that consumers are just as important as any stakeholder (or more in some cases), and they not only drive demand for the product itself, but also help make and mold it into something viable for the future.
The fun happens when they get actual numbers and compare those to what is being projected, and then start A/B testing based on the results. Sometimes the answer is complicated, and sometimes it's simple. Either way, the core of the brand message should come from the consumer or client, and the story based on that relationship. It will make crafting the brand much, much easier.
2. Experience the brand for yourself.
Live it, breathe it, and ask yourself at the end of the day's research: "If I were a customer, would this be good enough for me?" Go to bed and wake up the next morning, fresh and do it all again. Doing this for several days will net you some serious gold nuggets to pick and choose from and help you take the first step down the right path, in refining the process until it's pure essence leaves no doubt in it's wake. It's an obvious fact that you'll meet with the decisions makers to talk about the brand itself. But it’s important to put forth the effort to make an on-site visit to the company to learn more about its culture first hand. Talk to the people who make the brand successful from the inside. Ask them questions about why they have chosen to spend their time working there, and what that brand means to them.
Research is all about connecting people, merging relationships, and building trust, and it's what we'll be discussing in the next part of the series. If you like what you've read, be sure to subscribe as there is much more to come. I love talking about this stuff, so if you have any questions just let me know. I'd love to hear about your experiences. See you soon!