Beating the Competition: How Insight Drives Brand Relevance

Brand relevance is an integral part of building a brand identity, and successful brand identities are constantly customer-focused. In each stage of a brand’s identity evolution, businesses keep in constant contact with their customers in order to create meaningful experiences filled with value and relevance. Relevance can take many forms and it can sometimes be hard for businesses to keep up with everything that is going on in the world as game-changing new events are continuously happening at a moment’s notice.

Relevance can take many forms and it can sometimes be hard for businesses to keep up with everything that is going on in the world as game-changing new events are continuously happening at a moment’s notice.

Keeping up and using current events is the most obvious way for businesses to stay relevant. The recent warning report, for example, on climate change from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, means that sustainable green business is going to be one of the most talked about concepts by consumers today. Through news and media channels, the majority of consumers were aware of this report and the consequences it outlines mere hours after the report was published and the press release was sent out. From this, we can see a resurgence in green market research and marketing as a response to consumer investment in sustainability within businesses. The best ‘green’ marketing campaigns will result in a surge of profits as consumers use that brand over other ‘less green’ brands.

This is just one example of how relevance drives business, but there have been many other campaigns that have profited by showing their relevance to current events and consumer interests. One of these examples is Nike’s recent marketing campaign, which centred on the consumer interest in Colin Kaepernick. After refusing to stand for the national anthem in a protest of police brutality, Kaepernick become the frontman of Nike’s “Just Do It” 30th anniversary marketing campaign. Despite an initial negative reaction (#JustBurnIt), Nike’s sales soared since most of the consumer opinion was in favour of Kaepernick’s stand rather than against it and wanted to support the protest in any way they can, which included supporting Nike.

So how do businesses harness this power of relevance to drive themselves ahead of their competition?

The answer: Consumer Insights.

Consumer Insights and Brand Relevance

Insight-driven business strategies, including insight-driven marketing, are becoming increasingly essential to the success of a business. Insights are important indicators of current consumer interests and investments that businesses can use to keep ahead of the game; actionable insights that are drawn from research data are embedded into every decision that allows a business to stay relevant and competitive in the current market. When it comes to marketing, there are a few advantages to becoming insight-driven as it allows us to:

  • Test and evolve campaigns as required through customer feedback.
  • Predict future interests and adapt quickly to sudden changes in or additions to consumer climates.
  • Benchmark our efforts against our competitors.

Actionable Insights and Marketing Relevance

In order to successfully implement a relevant marketing campaign, in the current world, personalisation is crucial. Personalisation means tailoring each interaction to your audience to communicate that your brand is relevant to them on a personal level. The brand Always provides a brilliant example of successful insight-driven marketing.

Started in 2014, Always’ #LikeAGirl campaign positioned the brand as an ambassador for female empowerment and social change. Always conducted research on how many people wanted to engage with a brand that provided sanitary towels for women. Not surprisingly, this number wasn’t a lot due to derogatory social perceptions. As a result, competitors who connected with young women on a personal and emotional level led to Always losing its relevance and its customer base. So Always’ challenge was to change the public’s perception of their brand and reconnect with customers at the same time, promoting itself as relevant and re-establishing a high level of brand authority. They realised that to reconnect with consumers, Always had to stand for more than just their product.

At puberty, 49% of girls feel paralysed by the fear of failure and so are prone to avoiding new opportunities because there are afraid to fail. Always took this actionable insight and formed their #LikeAGirl campaign around it. Through video advertisements and recent podcasts they have built up a powerful campaign that will be timeless, constantly driving and communicating the brand’s relevance, until women’s empowerment becomes a moot concept.

Consumer insights can also direct businesses to which communication channels are most used, so we can stay relevant not only in the content that we deliver, but also in how that content is delivered. In August, GlobalWebIndex conducted an entertainment report, in which it was found that TV remains the most effective mode of advertisement despite rapid developments in social media in the past few years. However, social media is still a hub of entertainment as 44% of users reported that they watched videos on social media in the last month. One insight that isn’t stated on this report, but can definitely be inferred, is that entertainment channels are crucial for communicating brand relevance, as using these channels will allow brands to hit the majority, if not all, of their target audience.

Informing Strategies through Research

Insight-driven strategies rely heavily on having the right data. So how do businesses go about getting the ‘right’ data for their insight needs?

With mass media and social media allowing for the rapid consumption and spreading of news, reports, and opinions, all of which influence consumer interests and investments. So one way of gathering data for relevant insights would be through behavioural research techniques. There have been powerful advances in social media listening technology which businesses can use to gather data directly on the actions of their consumers. This method of data gathering has the potential to provide a lot of data, but will it be the right data?

Traditional market research allows businesses to gather data from direct communication with a sample of the population. This allows businesses to hear what the most relevant events and interests consumers are investing more of their time and consideration in. While these insights come directly from the consumers themselves, this sample of the population are being relied upon to accurately represent the views and investments of the wider society.

Both methods have their merits and their limitations, but a carefully selected combination of techniques from both research methodologies can potentially lead to valuable actionable insights being generated from both that formulate clear picture of what consumers find the most relevant now and help predict what they might find relevant in the future.

One factor to keep in mind when creating research experiences, is not to focus on how to gain more brand loyalty through consumers, but focus on gathering insights on how consumers use your brand in real-world contexts. These actionable insights will allow businesses to evolve their strategies in order to become more relevant to their customers and more successful in the current business climate. These insights need to be gathered continuously for continuous brand relevance.

Actionable insights will allow businesses to evolve their strategies in order to become more relevant to their customers and more successful in the current business climate.

Once this data has been collected and insights have been drawn, businesses can apply them to all aspects of their business strategies. Going back to the notion of sustainability, insights recently suggest that consumers favour companies that use less packaging, of preferably, waste-free packaging. This insight is definitely actionable, and can be applied to all departments within an organisation, including financial, development, marketing, and legal. The repositioning of the brand to incorporate green initiatives will incite a number of changes, however, this will allow the brand to stay relevant and will reap the rewards as they beat their competition, and more and more consumers become customers.

The original version of this article appeared on the FlexMR Insight Blog and can be accessed here.

FlexMR is The Insights Empowerment Company. We help brands to act decisively, stay close to customers and embed agile insight at the heart of every decision.