Did Your Latest Research Report Really Give You Actionable Insights? A New Approach Is Needed.

April 26, 2013

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Too many times I’ve been handed an existing piece of reputation or brand research from a company and been asked to formulate recommendations to help them build the company’s reputation and brand.

Unfortunately too often that research turns out to be a wasted investment because it asked the wrong questions and the wrong people.

A new approach is needed to guide both marketing and communication executives in managing their brand and their reputation holistically.

For more than a decade brand research has focused on customers’ satisfaction or their reactions to an experience or produce while reputation researched explored attributes around trust, admiration (or even less helpful, a list or ranking).

But when an executive sits down with that research to shape their next plan, it offers little insight into what he or she could do – in communications or business practices – to change the shape of their company’s brand or reputation.  What does a No. 5 ranking on a list tell me to do differently? If my score in trust is low, what is that about?

A new approach is needed. And that’s what we’ve developed in a new global research methodology with Lepere Analytics that measures the gap between peoples’ expectations of companies and their actual experience. It is critically important to go beyond experience and ask your audiences about their expectations as well. Without that insight you are only seeing half the picture. This new set of measures provides a single view that encompassing both brand and reputation while providing insights about which parts of company operations need attention.  It’s a practical tool that uses data and analytics to help manage business performance.

The Authenticity Gap research can be mapped directly to an organization’s business objectives and help you better understand exactly what steps need to be taken to close the gap and create true relationships – authentic engagement – that will drive organizational purpose as well as products and profits.  The research shows there are nine drivers that shape perceptions of a company, which can be tracked over time against key competitors.  All the findings are country, category and brand specific to give specific actionable insights.

So before you commission that next survey, ask yourself if your marketing and communications functions are really working together to make certain your research investments are giving you data you can act upon.