Why Research is Necessary When Launching a Brand
06 Dec 2016
Written by: Rachael Ryan

In Why Secondary Research is so Important When Launching a Successful Brand, we spoke about the importance of this type of research in launching a new product or service or even when relaunching an already existing brand. In order to launch a successful brand, market research is crucial aspect of the process.

That research is twofold. The first part is utilizing secondary research.  Secondary research is best describe as research that is already out there. It gives you the basics of what you need to know, it explains the state of the market today, who are your competitors and basic understanding of your prospects and current customers.

Once you’ve done some background secondary research – now jump into doing primary research and start analyzing the original, fresh, new data to determine what is best for your brand. Primary research can take many shapes and sizes, some examples include surveys, interviews, focus groups etc.

Primary research can help with several aspects of a brand launch:

  1. Segmentation research – determining who is your high value customer
  2. Naming research – evaluate the best name or logo design for your brand
  3. Claims test – assess the message or combination of messages that resonate with your target audience
  4. Package testing – find the ideal design and message for your product
  5. Ad concept testing – discover the perfect advertising campaign for your brand.  Using an advertising optimizer is an ideal way to do that. Provoke Insights offer an Ad Optimizer.

Next, you need to determine what sort of primary research you want. Are you looking to do qualitative or quantitative research? Do you want to know the opinions, needs and wants of just a select few? Or are you interested in gaining knowledge and intelligence on as many potential customers as possible? Surely, you want to know what a large majority of your target audience wants? In most cases, people want to sell to a lot of people – in this case, the most fruitful form of research will be to conduct surveys. What do surveys achieve?

  1. Through survey data, we can gain information on a lot of people and then make calculated and educated projections of what the large majority of your target audience want.
  2. Conducting surveys will keep your brand launch consumer focused and it means that you will stay on track to having the most lucrative product/service you can have. It will also reduce your risks.
  3. Your communication will be more effective and efficient. Instead of using trial and error to see what resonates with your audience you can ask them what they want to see and hear. This way your communication with them will work from the get go.
  4. Most importantly you’ll be relevant to those who matter the most.

Surveys are not an easy task and there are a lot of hurdles that you can possibly fall down on, for more information about conducting a successful survey, have a look at Provoke Insight’s blog on what to watch out for when writing your survey. Once you have all of the data that the surveys will generate, your brand will be in the best possible position to launch or relaunch. To find out more about market research and Provoke Insights, why not sign up to our newsletter here.

Market Research and New York City
29 Nov 2016
Written by: Rachael Ryan

For generations, New York City has been held in the heart of the world’s population as a land of opportunity, the city that never sleeps and a city where just about anything is possible. Because of that, the industries in New York City not only drive the state’s economy but it is a driving force for the national and global economy. According to Fortune, New York City is the ‘center of the business universe’. There are more industries, more companies and dozens of new start ups every single day. With that in mind, market research is more important than ever in NYC.

New York, the center of the business universe

Historically, New York has been the hub of numerous industries such as construction, media, publishing, tourism, the clothing and financial sectors. Lately, it is the hub of incalculable industries. There are also many new and upcoming industries and brands in the city, NYC is now home to new industries such as biotechnology companies and science industries; other industries such as the health sector, the arts and film industries are thriving here now more than ever. New York has so many new industries and innumerable established industries that it makes it difficult to stand out in such a competitive market. That’s why it’s more important now than ever to get your brand name out there and have it resonate with the right people. New brands need to make an impression with their target audience and more established brands need to reinvigorate their brand amongst existing and prospect customers. This seems like an overwhelming task in such a competitive market until you realize there is only one step that you need to take in order to make this a lot easier for you and your brand: research.

Where to start

Every inch of New York is wrapped in logos and slogans, sponsored and product placed which means that that valuable space is becoming more and more expensive. The New York City subway is laced with advertising and there are more advertisements in Times Square than in a lot of small towns. And that’s only one corner of the city; every single corner of this city has been marketed. There are so many that it all becomes white noise to New Yorkers. Don’t forget New Yorkers consume traditional media as well. At some stage, New Yorkers have to start drowning it out. Hence, if you don’t have a deep knowledge of your target audience – all of your costly marketing efforts will be drowned out and it will all have been in vain. The only way to avoid this is by researching your target audience before you do anything.

People are more different than they are similar

The population of New York City is projected to grow to 9 million people by 2040. People move to New York from all over the United States and from foreign countries daily. There are more people moving to New York City than are moving out. This means that the market is growing everyday and it is one of the most culturally diverse markets in the world, the people in it are more and more complex and less difficult to make assumptions about. New York is more diverse than any other city in the USA; there are more ethnicities, there is a bigger range of income, there are more members of the LGBTQ population here, and marriage trends are unconventional in New York– everything about everyone here is unpredictable. The only thing you can predict about a New Yorker is that they all more different than they are similar!

Therefore, your brand needs to conduct research accordingly if you plan to thrive in NYC.

For more information on how to research your target audience, have a look at Provoke Insights blog here. Market research can at times be time-consuming; therefore brands often reach out to market research companies, like Provoke Insights for a helping hand with this important research. As a New York City based research and consultancy firm, they have a great understanding of New Yorkers and the perfect base for conducting research in this complicated and sometimes dumb-founding city. Sign up for the Provoke Insights newsletter here.

Why Market Research is a Must for Businesses
11 Jul 2016
One of the most valuable assets of any business is its brand. Just as a house needs a strong foundation to stay sturdy, an effective brand strategy needs thorough market research. Far too often, businesses skip the market research process because the company claims that it already knows its consumers. However, it takes a lot to understand your target audience’s wants and needs. To prevent this disconnect, companies must first have a stronger understanding of market research and how and when to use it. 

For marketers, research is not just about filling in the knowledge gaps, but it also serves as the basis for good decision making. Research provides valuable insights about products, services, consumers, competitors and trends.

Now why is this important? Market research is essential for the planning of any brand strategy. The data helps ensure that you are identifying the correct opportunity by targeting the right consumer in the right market and satisfying the right need. Without market research, there is no substance or facts behind your strategy and can result in a negative return on investment (ROI).

There are three broad types of research: Qualitative, Quantitative and Secondary Research. Qualitative research is more open-ended and is great for testing initial concepts or ideas. Quantitative research is statistically represents the audience you are targeting. Secondary research is information that is already out there. Some research companies have access to several data sources in order to provide a comprehensive view of the marketplace.

For research to be effective, it is important for companies to have a clear understanding of the purpose of research and what information is being sought. Market Research professionals provide the expertise many companies do not have in-house.  Often these experts have the skills and the tools to execute the research accurately, efficiently and cost-effectively. In addition, these professionals also help bring objectivity to the result, thus, providing a clear and unbiased direction for business decision-making.

To learn more about market research, get in contact with Provoke Insights or sign up to our newsletter here.

The Importance of Ad Tracking
01 Oct 2015
David Ogilvy, often referred to as the father of modern advertising, once said “advertising people who ignore research are as dangerous as generals who ignore decodes of enemy signals”. If your company is spending significant money on advertising, it is pertinent to conduct research to determine whether or not it’s working.  Ad-tracking is one of the favored methods used by brands today. If a company truly wants to optimize its advertising budget efficiently, it’s important to track and measure the response to its ads.  This analysis also lets a brand know if its advertising is becoming stale or over-exposed among its prospects.  

The first, and perhaps most important step in ad-tracking is to start your research before you actually launch your campaign.  In order to measure the success of a campaign, it’s advantageous to have an idea about your prospects’ awareness of your brand. If a company doesn’t start evaluating the reactions prior to the campaign, how will it be able to measure whether or not the campaign is increasing awareness?

Surveys are a standard method for tracking campaigns (i.e. commercials, print, digital, etc).  If a survey respondent can recall an advertisement or brand name unaided or without a prompt, it is a sign that the ad campaign may be increasing brand awareness. Once the respondent has answered questions aimed at gauging their unaided awareness of a brand, the survey can begin to focus on extracting information through prompts.  An example of such a question might be, “Which of the following brands are you familiar with?”

The goal of any advertising campaign is to raise awareness and change attitudes about a particular product or service. Therefore, additional questions that elicit opinions, attitudes, and purchase intent are useful in the ad-tracking process, telling us what’s working and what isn’t.

A successful ad is like a joke; the good ones may make us laugh or bring a smile to our face, but will eventually become stale and forgotten. And if an advertisement is the joke, ad-tracking can be seen as an honest friend, letting us know when to retire it and start working on some new material.

If you want to learn more about advertisement optimization, please check out this blog post here.

Video in Today’s Cluttered Marketplace
10 Sep 2015

For the past decade the battle cry of marketing has been, “Content is King! Content is King!”  Well guess what?  Now everybody has content.  And by everybody, I mean – everybody.  Your dentist, your place of worship, and even the makers of the cereal you ate for breakfast all create content.

Of course, content has always been available; there just used to be infinitely less of it in the world. The overproduction of content has made it more difficult for brands to stand out.

The goal is to generate engagement with every item you publish. This provides a challenge for content marketers. While blogs, decks, and newsletters are important, these forms of content can fail to connect with busy prospects.  That’s why it is more important than ever to incorporate video into the marketing mix.

A video can require a bit more of an investment, but it is an effective way to hook consumers and drive them toward more comprehensive information. No video will close a deal but it can get you one step closer to it by peaking interest and opening the door for discussion. Also, a video is more enjoyable than opening and reviewing a deck, or reading a newsletter.  Instead of being confronted by a screen full of text there is just a big red “play” button to push.

Here are three keys to developing a successful video for marketing initiatives:

  1. Keep it short.  Remember, the video is being used as a door opener, not a deal closer.  Potential viewers will often glance at the total running time of a video; if it is longer than a minute or two it will be moved to a “watch later” list and likely never be viewed at all.  A good target is 60 seconds.
  2. Keep it moving.  Whether a video or animation, never let your video become too static.  Even a “talking head” video should include cuts between camera angles or the inclusion of supporting graphics and photos.  You should never to be able to count to ten between cuts or camera moves.
  3. Keep it specific.  Your video should have a job to do.  This might be encouraging the viewer to call for a free consultation, join a mailing list, or dig deeper into your website.  End your video with a clear call to action.

One last thought: when it comes to producing a video, trust it to the pros.  Just because you can buy fabric and a sewing machine doesn’t mean you should make your own clothes.  And just because you can make videos with your phone doesn’t mean you should produce it for professional purposes.

The Importance Of Mobile Marketing
10 Sep 2015

Mobile marketing is one of the fasting growing areas in marketing. Approximately 99% of Americans own a cell phone, with roughly 64% of those devices being a smart phone1. Additionally, around 20% of Americans own a tablet1. And users aren’t just utilizing their devices to make calls and surf the web, as smart phones and tablets are allowing consumers to get their news, follow political campaigns and elections, and most importantly for marketers, shop and make purchases.

At the end of 2012, about 11% of retail spending was done via a mobile device2. By the end of 2013, that figure had more than doubled, as mobile spending accounted for 25% of all retail purchases2. But the importance of mobile for retailers is even more significant, because even when customers don’t buy something directly from their mobile device, they’re interacting with company websites and apps. This in turn helps shape their image and perception of that particular brand, and more than 75% of mobile interactions lead directly to an in-store purchase2. With figures like this, it’s evident that brands should utilize smart phones and tablets to not only drive sales, but also interact with the consumer and help foster strong brand identities.

Smart-phones and tablets are becoming an increasingly larger part of American life, especially for the younger generations. Currently, roughly 23% of our free time is being spent on a mobile device. Because of the wide array of media channels available today (i.e. Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu Plus, YouTube ect.) in addition to storage devices like TiVo and DVR, Americans can squeeze 12 hours of media into a 9 hour day1. Many mobile users are able to utilize of these streaming services directly from their smart-phones and tablets, making mobile marketing even more important. Furthermore, of those mobile users who are watching TV at home, around 86% of them are surfing the web while watching TV3. This gives brands and advertiser a unique opportunity to simultaneously target their audience through TV and mobile. Since the proliferation of mobile users show no signs of slowing down, it essential that marketers and advertisers take advantage of the unique opportunities that mobile marketing provides.


1- www.pewresearch.com

2- www.smartinsights.com

3- Arbitron, Omniture, and Comscore

Social Listening Research 101
10 Sep 2015
It’s more than just listening to those who talk positively or negatively about your brand and your competitors online.  Social listening is such a stronger and more powerful research methodology.  It allows you to understand what trends are impacting your consumers and prospects and also learn what they are talking about so you can join the conversation.   It also provides a stronger understand of what social media channels are most suitable and effective for your target audience.  

Just like any other research methodology, you need to have a concise plan in place and formulate your objectives.  It’s important to think about why you are listening online and what you hope to achieve with this information.

Once your objectives are formulated, it’s now key to find your brand’s target audience.  Using client data, primary or secondary research to understand what is the ideal audience:

·       Psychographics

·       Beliefs

·       Interests/Hobbies

·       Media consumption

Once your audience is clearly defined, now social listening begins. You should listen to what is being said on various sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Linkedin, online blogs and news outlets.    The more you listen, the more  accurate the perspective.

There are several social listening tools out there such as Trackur, or sproutsocial. Each tool has their own advantages and disadvantages when it comes to social listening. Look for what your audience is saying about the industry, trends, interests, beliefs and media habits.

Everything that you hear, make sure that you record:

·       The number of people talking about a topic
Where they are talking

·       What is the sentiment

·       Percent who are influencers and how influential they are (this is often determined by scores such as Klout).

4 Watch Outs When Conducting a Survey
10 Sep 2015

“There are errors everywhere,” my market research professor claimed on the first day of class.    He continued and said, “as a market researcher, your job is to reduce the errors as much as possible.”  As someone who has worked in the industry for fifteen years, I believe that this lesson is still extremely important.

If research errors are not found, the results will lead to inaccuracies.    Ultimately, the insights garnered from the study may lead a brand to the wrong conclusions.

If you are developing a survey, here are a few errors that you need to watch out for.

1.     Inaccurate Objectives

When constructing your research objectives, it is always important to think how the end results will be used.

2.     Improper Research Methodology

Sample size, language issues, and goals of research are aspects you need to consider when determining the methodology. For example, a survey with only 25 respondents only provides directional information and does not represent a portion of the population.   You may want to consider using more open-ended research approaches such as focus groups.

3.    Bad Survey Writing

Survey length is too long, leading with sensitive questions (i.e. household income), too many open ends, inconsistent or wrong survey scales are just a few of the problems that occur when writing a survey.   The best way to solve survey errors is asking others to take your survey. The more people who take the survey, the more errors you will be able to find.  Also, double check to ensure the survey logic is accurate.

4.    Sampling Bias

How you acquire your sample can impact survey results.    Your friends or colleagues may provide biased results if they took your survey.  Also, only researching a certain segment of your population may also skew results. For example, if you were targeting a national population, but only reached New Yorkers the results won’t be representative.

Research for Content Marketing
10 Sep 2015
Positioning your company as a thought leader is an art form.   By publishing research studies, you build your brand’s credibility.

With a proliferation of media channels available today, it is pertinent to make sure your data gets its full mileage.  Bring our research to life, using contenting marketing as a catalyst for B2B and B2C awareness, engagement, lead generation, and conversion. Tactics can include online videos, infographics, sales materials, email marketing, thought leadership pieces, press releases, and guerrilla efforts.   Plus, all of these content initiatives help grow your brands online presence, and ultimately help improve your organic search efforts.

1. Design Template

Before your questionnaire is even designed, develop a PowerPoint template.   Design is critical to research reports. It is key that the design fits your brand’s look and feel.

2. Headlines

Even before the questionnaire is fielded, start developing potential headlines for the report. These headlines are based on the questionnaire, and are used to help guide the story. SEO is important to build awareness and credibility.  When developing headlines, take into account the keywords your brand wants to be known for in online searches.

3. Storytelling – Report Writing

Storytelling is an art form.  Using the designed templates and headlines as a base, create stories that keep the readers excited.  Reports should include background/objectives, methodology, key findings, recommendations, and detailed findings.

4. The Extra Touch

After the content in the decks is finalized, use graphic designers to further enhance the decks.   The content, graphics and charts should be able to live in more places than just PowerPoint.   Reports should be designed so they can easily be used in sales collateral, press releases, white pages, Facebook posts, or even a blog.

Research for Content Marketing & Thought Leadership
10 Sep 2015

Check out our latest article on how market research can be used to create more interesting and insightful content for your business or brand.  Research can be used to generate awareness and increase engagement among your prospects and customers.  Additionally, conducting research on a specific topic deepens your understanding a particular segment of your business and allows you to tout your expertise in that area. Despite its numerous benefits, most companies think of market research solely as a Public Relations initiative; research needs to be more than a simple press release and should transcend multiple facets of your business. A single study can be used for social media, sales material, SEO, Slideshare, infographics, just to name a few. That is why it is essential to have a strategy in place for how your research will be utilized for a content marketing initiative.

When using research for press purposes, it is important that you get the most out of your study.  To do this you must be able to integrate the research with your SEO, social media and press initiatives. As your company successfully dovetails the research data with the different aspects of your business, you will see the full benefits of your study. The article is great resource for advertising agencies, public relations firms,  businesses of all sizes, and brands that want to become thought leader.