Quantitative Research can tell you how Your Brand is doing (e.g. awareness, use, advocacy and intentions), but only Qualitative Research can tell you what to do with Your Brand.

Quantitative Research can tell you if your Brand message is getting through, but only Qualitative Research can help you develop and express the most powerful and appealing proposition Your Brand can make.

Only Qualitative Research can identify then match the key needs of the category’s consumers with the values of Your Brand best able to satisfy those needs. These ‘determinants of choice’ need to be understood and discussed in depth, rather than merely ‘rated’ against each other, or ‘voted upon’, in Quantitative Research.

Only Qualitative Research can discover:

  • what is expected of your Brand;
  • what consumer needs can best be satisfied or met by Your Brand;
  • and whether these needs can be well enough satisfied and promoted by Your Brand to ensure that it becomes a brand of choice.

While Quantitative Research can tell you the functional values of Your Brand, it can tell you very little about what should be Your Brand’s expressive values (the image its consumers or customers want to project or feel, or the badge they want to wear, by using Your Brand) and core values (those values that tap into their central belief system).

Quantitative Research can tell you whether they know of Your Brand, but not what they know about Your Brand (which can be alarmingly little, or horribly negative).

Qualitative Research is the best way you can fully understand Your Brand’s:

  • reputation (the esteem in which it is held);
  • relevance (whether current customers or consumers are happy to continue their brand relationship, and whether prospects are likely to consider a relationship with Your Brand);
  • present or potential point of difference (the most successful and resilient brands are built outwards from their inherent point of difference, which is perhaps better called their distinct buyer advantage).

Qualitative Research is also the best way to understand how to improve Your Brand’s reputation, relevance and distinctiveness.

Qualitative Research is also uniquely able to identify and understand in-depth:

  • the language used about brands;
  • the perceived personalities, identities and characteristics of brands;
  • feelings about verbal (name, logotype, claim, proposition, products) brand identities and visual (logo, symbol, colours, packs, storefronts, other visual elements) brand identities;
  • brand switching drivers, triggers, inhibitions and barriers;
  • how respondents position Your Brand against others (and how this compares with how you position Your Brand);
  • the appeal of present and potential alternative brand propositions;
  • which values of Your Brand best support or prove the most appealing brand proposition;
  • and how well your present and/or potential advertising communicates this proposition and these proof points.

So, next time you review Your Brand, please remember that Quantitative Research can tell you where it stands, but not where it ought to stand, nor what marketing communications can best help get it there. Qualitative Research will always do those things best.

Chris Martin Murphy 17th November 2016