Why brand strategies can only be improved by using data

Everyone trusts his instincts. Brand analytics trump intuition.

Intuition is something you can argue about endlessly. Faced against data it is much harder. When a proposal is backed by thousands of data points, clearly showing market trends of various brands over time, you can make a very convincing argument.

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Is human intuition and experience the only way to create successful brand strategies? This conventional belief — and the belief that the role of data in brand strategy creation is insignificant — is still held by many brand managers and marketers as of today.

However, you are omitting another side of the equation if you think intuition and experience are enough for good brand strategy creation. With years of experience in branding and design, we deeply understand no matter you are in client or agency side, you want the other side to be convinced that your intuition is “right”. This process was once relatively pain-free, but as all business decisions are going to be driven by data, giving a justifiable answer to the following question will only become ever-tougher:

How do you know your brand strategy will work?

This is the question that brand managers are supposed to answer every time they are tasked with building a brand.

If you are using the conventional approach, you are probably one of those who outline the proposed brand strategy based on your intuition with the help of below research direction. For instance:

  • You review the brief and do some research
  • You try to imagine the target audience
  • You organize a team to scour the internet, build Pinterest boards, read reports
  • You do internal presentations with department heads and upper management

This looks good on the surface, however what if your branding campaign works incredibly well in New York, but fails miserably in Hong Kong? What if your mental image for the brand’s audience is out of date, or culturally irrelevant?

This suggests that it is not enough to use only intuition and experience in brand strategy creation, and it is particularly the case when your target audience is scattered across the globe. While everyone wants to think his/her intuition is infallible, let us face this fact squarely: the only target market we know well is our own.

Let us face another fact: when you are assigned to research every target market that your company or client wants to expand into, can you afford to spend days or weeks to:

  • Form focus groups and conduct interviews,
  • Create surveys to canvas the new target markets, and
  • Research every new target market in detail?

You can finish this in minutes instead of weeks if you let data be part of your brand strategy creation.

What is the role of data in brand strategy design?

There are numerous on-the-spot advantages of using data in your brand strategy creation.

  • You can get a better understanding of who you are designing for
  • You are able to quickly find focus on your brand strategy, discover the right message for your clients and tailor it for each market
  • You can build strategic brand foundations in minutes instead of weeks

And here is the most immediate benefit of looking at all sides of the equation of brand strategy creation: you will be able to speak with confidence and get your point across when you present your proposal to your clients or upper management. You will find it easier to convince them of your proposal because you had data to back up your work.

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The right approach of creating ideal brand strategy explained by a venn diagram made by BrandCrafter.

Intuition is something you can argue about endlessly. Faced against data it is much harder. When a proposal is backed by thousands of data points, clearly showing market trends of various brands over time, you can make a very convincing argument.

Marketing industry visionaries completely changed marketing with the strategic use of data. It is not a large mental leap to see how data could shake-up the branding and design process by becoming data-driven. The day when all business decisions are driven by data is coming. Many companies, be they large or small, are in different stages of this digital transformation. For all brand managers and designers, it is a good time to rethink about this: is the conventional intuition-driven method still the infallible approach in the age of data?

We believe brand development needs to become more effective and efficient, and this requires a combination of data, human instinct and experience. No professional would claim to understand every market and be able to create a perfect brand strategy. Similarly, no data analytics company would claim that their data can completely replace human judgment. With the help of data analytics, branding professionals can surely enhance the accuracy of their brand strategy and proposals.

Turning brand development from intuition-driven into data-driven can reap significant benefits in the long term. The key benefit is to eliminate the guesswork and uncover proven solutions and unique differentiators in your target markets. In a fast-changing business world, branding professionals need a quick and easy toolkit to build strategic brand foundations, and the only means to achieve this is “using data”. Doing so significantly reduces internal barriers for getting a brand to market while minimising the cost of failure.

The conventional, intuition-driven, trial-and-error approach of branding can only be improved by benefits that using data can offer. With the constant improvements being made with technology, it is not justifiable anymore to spend tens-of-thousands of dollars on marketing campaigns, reviewing the results and adjusting post-launch. With data, you can gain insight on your target market and adjust your brand positioning and message before even a single dollar gets spent creating your marketing campaign.

Top companies are in dire need of world-class data to inform their branding decisions. Yet, no digital analytics tool is solving this problem. Sign up here to get early access of the future of branding. It only takes you a minute to see how we turn the intangible brand strategy into visualised, actionable data that can powerfully back up all your branding decisions.

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