I'm writing this in the quiet of early January as many Australians enjoy a well-deserved summer break. But among those of us who aren’t taking time off, it’s a fair bet that a large number are using the more peaceful days to catch up on some tidying up. And it’s another fair bet that these clean-ups will reveal a plethora of interesting documents – the type of documents that we look at and think to ourselves ‘that is really useful information – I must spend some time taking a good look at it someday, when I’ve got a moment’, before neatly placing it back on the shelf, flagging it in our inbox or dropping it into a digital folder where it will sit undisturbed until next January’s clean up.
Most marketers’ shelves and hard-drives are groaning with research reports, surveys, competitor analysis, market data, sales reports, employee surveys, brand health monitors and more. But how many of these are regularly used? How many are looked at ever again after the initial presentation? How often are the findings from multiple studies reviewed together to uncover a bigger picture? While almost unimaginably rich data is available to marketers, many organisations struggle to process the sheer volume of information, let alone make sense of it all. Therefore, as the cliché goes, as both marketers and business leaders we remain information rich but knowledge poor.
The first point of call for a marketer working on a major brand and marketing project is brand research, and for good reason. Having rich and relevant insights based on a strong understanding of the organisation, its offer, its consumers and the overall market context should be the foundation of any major marketing activity. But large scale brand research projects can be impractical and out of reach to many organisations and projects. Brand research is often expensive and adds valuable weeks or even months to tight project timelines. Most importantly, it can also be unnecessary. At BrandMatters we frequently find that the necessary insights already exist within the organisation, on those overflowing shelves and hard-drives.
At BrandMatters we love doing brand research studies, but we don’t love reinventing the wheel. For this reason we usually recommend conducting a comprehensive review of your existing information at the start of each brand project. We believe that there is huge value in crafting the insights that inform our brand strategy work by reviewing, rediscovering, synthesising and distilling the wealth of information that already exists within your organisation. And reviewing this work with a fresh perspective and specific objectives in mind can uncover surprisingly rich and actionable insights.
We bring this approach to many of our major brand strategy projects. For example, we’ve just reviewed a large pile of around twenty 100+ page reports and distilled them into key insights that have informed the brand positioning for a major global financial services player. In another project we condensed over 800 pages of industry data into a short summary of action points relevant to our client’s brief.
So before briefing a major new brand research study - or feeling disheartened because you don’t have the budget for research to underpin your next campaign - think about the information that already exists within your organisation. And rather than neatly filing those reports back on your shelves, talk to BrandMatters about how we can help you cost-effectively distil and synthesise the information you already have to get your project underway more efficiently and deliver tangible benefits for your business.
This blog was written by BrandMatters’ Director of Brand Strategy, Kylie McNamara. Kylie has over 15 years marketing experience gained on both client and agency-side across a wide range of categories including FMCG, financial services, healthcare, automotive, media and retail. Her brand experience covers some of the biggest brands in Australia (and the world) such as Tim Tam, Rexona, Westpac, Pepsi, McDonald’s, Woolworths and Ford.