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Sunday, January 21, 2018
Article written by Jennifer McLean

Market Research - Moving Beyond the Calculator (and a Case for Credibility Branding)

So what the heck is credibility branding is. The “definition” is; creating and leveraging the point of credibility within and outside the company to accelerate the speed of sales. Credibility branding is really charged with changing the bottom line culture of a company and part of that is a different way of thinking. Part of what credibility branding does, is offer tools and models to adjust the perspective of your organization. It simply allows you to think about things in a different way. Credibility Branding services also offers new research models, one simple example of this is examining editorial content.

Do you know how many companies do not research what the editorial community is saying? Companies do great research on the financial aspects of the marketplace, which is really important and has to be done; on the feature set of their product and comparison to their competition, which is really important and has to be done; and they completely forget positioning. The positioning piece is perception, and perception is reality. If you are not creating a perception that matches the market opportunity, you are not going to win anyone over, including the editorial community.

Publications, bloggers, broadcasting outlets; the content generated by these companies and individuals is a goldmine in perspective and perception. Publications only make money if there is circulation and a readership. Why you should care about that? Well, they are delivering content that readers care about. They are the barometer regarding what is important to your customer. So by reading and reviewing this content you can shortcut a lot of high end market research, it is right in front of your nose. Talking to editors and analyst is another way to glean this info. They speak with your competitors and your customers, they have a unique understanding. Have a conversation with them; you might not have to reinvent the positioning wheel.

Research beyond the features and finances might also include examining competitor's positioning clues. Review the web site, press releases, sales materials, editorial coverage, speaking opps, awards etc. By reviewing these materials in the public domain you will gain unique insights regarding your competitors positioning. Here are some other questions to ask while reviewing this material:

• How are your competitors positioning themselves in press releases?

o How is the editorial community embracing that positioning?
• Are they getting influencers on board?

o Who are these influencers?

o What are they saying about them and the market?
• What are their speeches about and where are they speaking?

o How does that differ from what you are doing?
• Who do they appear to be directing their message to?

o Is it middle management, is it end user customers, is it C-Level executives, is it the channel?

Doing this kind of research beyond the traditional linear approach, and looking at the messaging and positioning opportunities available is an important process that is often missed. Consultancies like mine can take on this type of project. It is one of those things that is difficult to enforce internally; while it is very important it often takes a back burn to what appears to be more immediate. The credibility branding system would take this research to the next level and perform a perception audit. Researching the content is just one piece of it, interviewing key constituents directly gleans the most relevant information about your company, its business practices, the market opportunities, as well as positioning.

Understanding the messaging and positioning opportunities allow companies to focus on the influencers that are going to match that. Leveraging these influencers, who already have established market credibility, ensures instant recognition and your own improved credibility in the marketplace. Improved credibility empowers your customers to get on board faster.
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