Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share
12 June 2017
Most research companies simply suck
It amazes me what many research companies come up with. A recent study by Cambridge Analytica found that, huh, high quality and affordability top the list of automobile preferences.
Really? And what did it cost to find those answers?
Research companies fall over themselves to uncover answers that are simply common sense – and mean nothing. Beer studies often say preference relates to taste. No shit. So, then, the strategy becomes about great taste because, of course, beer drinkers are drinking beer whose taste sucks.
“Most research companies spout this nonsense without doing the hard work of finding what really drives preference. They simply uncover who is preferred. Not why.”
Here’s what is really hilarious about the Cambridge study. Affordability is the reason for choice. Then how is BMW the most preferred brand among men, according to this study? Affordability and the nebulous description of high quality are simply the rational reasons to back up the real reasons people choose. They choose based on an emotional self-reflection that sounds embarrassing in the light of the day.
Research companies rarely test what really matters
Nestled in the Cambridge study was that “fits with my personal image” and “brand reputation” were among the reasons for preference. Lumped in with affordability, high quality, driven by celebrities, made in the USA and environmentally friendly.
Yep. The latter reasons describe BMW, all right.
Most research companies spout this nonsense without doing the hard work of finding what really drives preference. They simply uncover who is preferred. Not why.
That’s the reason why so much brand advertising is utter claptrap. The spots spout product benefits as though they create preference.
Even worse, many research companies moderate focus groups just to be sure they are on the right track. Focus groups count for less. They don’t project to the larger audience and can be controlled by one strong personality.
Instead, brand research you can actually use digs deeper. It uncovers the emotional beliefs that drive decisions in context of that market. If, for example, affordability is the strongest reason to choose (it’s not), then why is it so important?
Answering the why leads you to brand preference.
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