Sometimes the message we don’t want to hear is the one that spurs us to action. Our client discovered this uncomfortable but necessary fact firsthand at the conclusion of their first brand measurement study after years of declining business.
Following quarter after quarter of steadily more disappointing financial results, a major global medical device firm approached us seeking answers as to why this was happening. One of three major manufacturers of a particular device, they felt their product was competitive and their message was solid. And yet they were losing their once-solid market share. Actionable Research set out to discover the reasons behind the decline.
As a first step, Actionable Research met with management representatives from the client to determine the underlying problem which was resulting in lost market share. Realizing from these conversations that the overall issue was one of brand, aspects of brand measurement were explored. In deep-dive discussions, we aided the client in forming clear research questions that would achieve actionable results. Among these were:
- What is the perception and positioning of the client relative to their competitors?
- What is the current market usage and awareness by both manufacturer and brand?
- Other than a product trial, what would drive a switch in current product use? What trade-offs do clinicians make in choosing a device?
In designing a research study to answer these and other questions, Actionable Research constructed a survey which would measure brand awareness (both aided and unaided), brand performance (including satisfaction ratings), brand perceptions (among client and competitors), as well as drivers and barriers to brand usage.
The survey was fielded among a statistically significant sample of qualified respondents, including device users and purchase decision makers, in the markets of interest. And the results surprised the client.
The results of the survey were compiled and carefully analyzed. Some of the outcomes were as expected – as a long-standing player in this market, the client enjoyed a substantial level of familiarity among clinicians. They were seen as dependable, reliable, and well-known. And their product, where used, was highly ranked in all areas tested.
However, some surprising facts came to light as well. Use of the client’s product was well below that of the two other major competitors across all segments surveyed. The client, while well-known in general, was last in top-of-mind brand recall in regards to this specific device. And while viewed as effective and reliable, client was not well-regarded in the area of innovation, which was ranked as a major determiner in brand selection.
Client’s messaging and positioning were noted too often as outdated, old-fashioned, and obsolete, giving further credence to the market viewpoint that our client was focused on the past, rather than the future.
The conclusion: The brand had aged, and not kept in step with the important innovations within the category, more with respect to messaging and positioning than with the performance of the product itself.
The Next Step
The client was presented with a comprehensive report of the findings, including key takeaways and actionable recommendations. The recommendations pointed the client towards repositioning their brand for the future, updating their product offerings, image and message to place their brand and their products foremost in the minds of their customers as a leader in innovation, reliability, and quality.
Many at the company was not happy to hear that their image had changed so significantly without their taking notice. They were, however, heartened to discover there was a path, backed up through a scientific discovery process, to bring them back to their former (and hopefully even greater) glory.
We’ve looked at the many aspects of Brand Research over the past quarter, examining what it is and why a business might want to engage a firm to conduct it. Brand Research is just one the custom research areas in which we specialize. To learn more about how an Actionable Research custom marketing study might benefit you, contact us for a brief consultation, or subscribe to take a look at our upcoming blog series: Marketing Insights, Qualitative Research, and Focus Group Moderation.