“Why do we need to do consumer research?”

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Sometimes folks who come to us for ‘branding” or “product design” are surprised when we say the first thing we need to do is talk to consumers, do an ethnographic study, or run some online tests.  It takes more time. It costs more money.  Our explanation comes in the form of a simple question: “If you were in the market for a new girlfriend, would you ask your mother to shop for you?”  The answer is probably “no”.  Why?  Mom knows you very well but she is deriving her opinion and making her selection based on limited scope of criteria.  She is removed from the reality of the full narrative of the experience.  Sure, she’ll give good advice, just not the most “complete” choice. Our point? Branding involves desire, not just needs.

During the planning phase we develop a strategy that involves understanding the ‘alpha’ consumers of a particular good or service.  We seek to see the fullest picture.  When someone is putting effort, spending their hard-earned dollar on a good or service, when they have an existing pattern of behavior with a similar products or brands, their decision-making process is much more informed and evolved.  Strong brands tweak their offering along the entire consumer journey.