Awareness and Image Studies

Companies use aided and unaided awareness, image and branding marketing research studies to gauge the extent to which consumers are familiar with and have positive opinions about their products or services. In many industries, companies with the highest awareness levels also capture the largest market share.

 

What Is Awareness?

 

Awareness level measures whether consumers know about and are familiar with a company, organization, product, or service.

 

Unaided awareness is the extent to which consumers think of a company or product on a top-of-mind basis. For example, we might ask, “When you think of companies that provide these kinds of products, which first come to mind?

 

Aided awareness is the extent to which consumers who know about a company or product are familiar with that company or product. For example, we might ask, “How familiar are you with this company? Would you say you are very familiar, somewhat familiar, or not familiar?

 

What Is Brand Image?

 

Brand Image includes the totality of consumers’ opinions about, experiences with, and attitudes toward a company or organization and their brand as compared with that of competitors. Market Street Research often measures a company’s brand image by asking consumers, decision-makers, or key markets to rate the company and its competitors on factors they consider important, such as:

 

  • Overall reputation
  • Quality and appeal of products or services
  • Convenience (location, hours, etc.)
  • Sales and marketing effectiveness
  • Customer service
  • Delivery
  • Timeliness
  • Costs
  • Resolution of problems and complaints

 

How Are Awareness and Brand Image Measured?

awarenesschart

Market Street Research uses a combination of qualitative and quantitative market research methods to measure awareness and brand image. For example, we might begin with or with key decision-makers to identify important factors within a particular market that may influence whether people are familiar with a company or organization, how they decide which product or service they will purchase or use, and the emotional and rational components of the brands of the major competitors in the industry.

 

We then use qualitative research results to design and conduct representative quantitative research surveys – most frequently – within our clients’ current geographic market areas to determine with a high degree of accuracy how well-known our clients brands are and how people perceive them as compared with competitors. We might limit the survey to our clients’ existing markets, or include potential markets, giving our clients a good sense of the resources they may need and the steps they must take to effectively enter new markets.

 

Regardless of industry, companies and organizations use awareness, and brand image marketing research studies to inform their key operational and marketing decisions. Our clients use our results to guide decisions about overall mission, current and future goals, staffing, product and service design, delivery means, and marketing, communications, and public relations efforts.

 

Benchmarking

 
What is Benchmarking? Benchmarking is following up an image, awareness and preference study with an identical or similar research effort after some predetermined interval to measure any changes in awareness and image that have occurred since the last study was performed.

 

Typically, organizations conduct benchmarking studies at intervals of between 18 and 24 months, depending on the nature of the business, the rapidity of changes in the operational environment, competitive forces, or any crisis or other issue that the organization has experienced that may have affected perception of the organization in the minds of its constituents, customers, prospects or internal staff.

 

The benefits of benchmarking are many. Primarily, benchmarking is a tool that is used to measure the efficacy of an organization’s marketing, communications and advertising efforts and, as is the rationale for most image and awareness studies, to identify areas of opportunity and inform the development of ongoing strategic, operational or marketing-oriented initiatives geared towards taking advantage of the highlighted opportunities.

 

Rationale For Conducting Image & Awareness Benchmarking Research After a Crisis and/or Negative Press Coverage

 

An organization faces a number of challenges after experiencing a crisis or when confronted with negative press coverage. Certainly, these challenges have much to do with confronting the cause of the crisis or the negative exposure itself. However, the challenges also extend to managing the attitudes of all the organization’s constituents. For example, in the case of a hospital, these constituents include both the residents of the area the organization serves, as these are the hospital’s source of future revenue, as well as the doctors and staff of the hospital, as these are the individuals who serve as the gatekeepers and chief ambassadors of the hospital’s brand in the community.

 

In order to confront the effect of a crisis or negative press coverage in terms of its affect on the image the organization’s constituents have of the organization, the organization must first gain a scientifically accurate understanding of the impact via market research so as to know the nature and extent of the impact, if any. Armed with this information, the organization can then take appropriate actions in terms of shaping its internal and external communications and marketing efforts in a targeted manner so as to prevent any further damage to the organization’s image and allay any concerns of its employees, partners or internal resources. This messaging can contain information about what actions the organization is taking to ensure that, moving forward, the issues that precipitated the crisis or negative coverage will be dealt with. These communications will be directly informed by its constituents in terms of the specific information contained, and in the nuances of language used, so as to maximize its effectiveness.

 

The most effective means for conducting this scientific assessment of constituent’s image of the organization is by utilizing quantitative marketing research in the form of a representative telephone survey. In the best case scenario, an organizations will have been in the practice of conducting this type of image and awareness research on a regular basis so as to provide a baseline upon which to benchmark any changes in attitudes that may have been affected by the recent issues the organization is dealing with. In this case, a survey instrument can be developed that both assesses the awareness of the recent issues among the organization’s constituents and then measure the effect, if any, of this awareness on the aspects of image that were addressed in the previous study(ies).

 

The benefits of conducting this type of benchmarking assessment are multi-fold. First, if the research shows that there is indeed a problem (in terms of a negative effect the recent issues have had on the organization’s image), the organization will have a road map for how to shape its internal and external communications to most effectively combat this affect. Second, the act of conducting the survey will indicate to its staff, partners and other resources that the organization is taking their concerns seriously and is just as seriously taking steps to address them. Additionally, the benchmarking effort itself can become a tool upon which to measure the efficacy of the organization’s efforts to combat any slide in its image by forming the baseline in future efforts to again measure its image and awareness among its constituents.

 

The alternative to utilizing survey-based market research when confronting issues such as recent crisis or negative media coverage is to use the gut-based marketing approach that is often informed by fear and individual leadership’s emotional attachment to the organization under fire. This approach is, by nature, hit-or-miss. In fact, if it turns out that there has been no significantly negative impact of recent issues and press coverage, a misguided gut-based approach can run the risk of creating a problem rather than solving one.

 

Awareness and Image and Healthcare Marketing Research

 

Market Street Research has a particular strength in conducting awareness and image studies for hospitals and health systems in which we analyze the experiences, opinions and preferences of residents in a hospital’s or health system’s market areas, segment residents based on that analysis, and assess that hospital’s competitive position in the marketplace. Learn more about our expertise conducting image and awareness studies in the field of healthcare marketing research.

 

Please contact us to discuss how Market Street Research can help you achieve your organization’s goals.

 

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Customer & Employee Satisfaction and Loyalty Studies

Companies use customer satisfaction studies to gauge the extent to which consumers of their products or services are satisfied, not only in general terms but also with the ways in which products or services are designed, marketed, packaged, delivered, and priced.

 

Businesses and organizations in all industries also use satisfaction and loyalty studies as a critical strategy for reducing costs — it takes many fewer resources to retain a good employee or keep a satisfied customer coming back than it does to recruit new ones. Some estimates:

 

  • It can take four to six weeks’ wages, or 20 to 35 hours per hire, to recruit new non-managerial employees and this does not include the additional costs of retraining as well as costs associated with losing experienced workers (such as downtime and burnout on the part of other staff) or managing workers who are unhappy or demoralized
  • It can take $3,000 to $8,000 per hire to identify and recruit new technical and supervisory staff
  • On average, companies and organizations lose roughly $1 million for each professional, executive, or administrative employee lost to competing interests
  • The ratio of resources spent on retaining existing customers to resources spent on attracting new ones can range from 1 to 2 to as much as 1 to 5, depending on the industry and local market characteristics. For transaction-based businesses such as web-based catalog companies and phone sales, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimates each new customer costs roughly $800, again, depending on the industry

 

In other words, it is worth investing in systems for tracking customer and employee satisfaction, since knowing when people are dissatisfied-and why-can help you change, and possibly prevent these losses (and costs) in the future.

 

How are satisfaction and loyalty measured?

 

Market Street Research uses a combination of quantitative and qualitative marketing research methods to measure satisfaction and loyalty, depending on our clients’ situations and markets. For example, we might begin with or with customers, employees, or former representatives of both groups to identify important factors that lead to satisfaction, dissatisfaction, motivation, loyalty, decision-making, and choices.

 

We then use qualitative results to design and conduct or other kinds of surveys to gauge the extent to which people’s attitudes toward a company, product, service, or employer are held by the population at large.

 

For example, a complaint expressed by a single, vocal employee may or may not be represented within your employee base as a whole, thus it is important to measure this quantitatively before deciding on specific changes or policies.

 

The same is true for customers-all customer complaints are worth noting, but some problems cannot be fixed within a company’s economic constraints, and all organizations should remember that no single business, product, or service can meet everyone’s needs. This is an excellent rationale for conducting , which can fine-tune your ability to target groups-employees or customers-whose needs, desires, and expectations can best be addressed by your strengths.

 

Please contact us to discuss how Market Street Research can help you achieve your goals.

 

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Market Segmentation Research

market research variablesYour market is not a single homogeneous entity–your market is made up of people, and is therefore as diverse and unique as they are. Market Segmentation allows us to give you a clearer picture of your market by grouping people with similar characteristics together. When you can see the types of people you serve and the size of each market segment, you can target your communications and services to them more accurately.

Market segmentation can tell you not only where your customers and potential customers live and what their demographic characteristics are, but what they value, what they prefer to do with their leisure time, where they fall on the political spectrum, whether they are fast food junkies or organics-only foodies, whether they are technophobes or social media addicts–and so on.

 

Market Segments Pie ChartHaving a better understanding of who you serve can open up ideas for creating specific products and services to meet the needs of a key market segment, as well as help you refine marketing messages so that they will best resonate with what matters most to the people you are trying to reach.

 

There is no single correct way to segment a market. To determine how best to conduct a market segmentation analysis for a client, Market Street Research considers a number of approaches. For example, a segmentation strategy can be based upon frequency of use of a product or service, occasions of use, and/or the benefits consumers derive from a specific product or service. Once the best method is identified, we use the most appropriate marketing research tools to define the segments.

 

Market Segment Example

 

Market Street’s Primary Market Segmentation Research Tools

 

  • Factor and Cluster Analysis Using Rating Scales
  • Conjoint, Choice or Latent Class Modeling using consumer trade-offs
  • Logistic Regression and Neural Network Modeling for behavioral modeling
  • Simple, easy-to-interpret supporting techniques, such as crosstabs

 

Market Street’s maintains ongoing working relationships with Ph.D. level statisticians affiliated with the Pioneer Valley colleges and the University of Massachusetts. Our collaboration with these specialists enables us to offer state-of-the-art, highly technical yet decision-oriented market segmentation analyses that allow companies to make decisions effectively and act on the information we provide.

 

Our approach is flexible, customized, and designed to deliver highly actionable market segmentation based on:

 

  • Market Street’s depth of experience in a variety of market segmentation research methods
  • Multi-tiered market segmentation methods designed to support an array of strategic, marketing, and sales applications

Market Segmentation and Healthcare Marketing Research

 

Market Street Research has considerable experience and expertise in utilizing market segmentation research tools and methods in the research we conduct for clients in many industries, including for organizations in the healthcare field. In fact, conducting healthcare marketing research is one of Market Street Research’s greatest strengths. Since 1978, Market Street has designed and conducted many hundreds of healthcare marketing research studies for healthcare providers ranging from internationally respected academic medical centers such as Massachusetts General Hospital, Cleveland Clinic and Johns Hopkins, health systems such as Partners Healthcare and Memorial Hermann, as well as for many regional and community-based hospitals, specialized clinics, and physicians’ practices serving urban, suburban and rural markets across the United States. Learn more about our expertise in the field of healthcare marketing research.

 

Please contact us to discuss how Market Street Research can help you achieve your goals.

 

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Employee Engagement Studies

 

Why is Employee Engagement Important?

 

Employee engagement studies seek to determine how invested employees are in their work and in their company’s interests and future. As more and more companies discover its power and value, employee engagement research has become a major market research tool for understanding an organization’s well-being.

 

Numerous studies have shown that high levels of employee engagement increases innovation in the workplace, productivity, and worker retention. All of these things lower costs for the company, in addition to creating a collaborative work environment. A 2012 meta-analysis by Gallup looked at differences between organizations with employee engagement in the top quartile and those with engagement at the bottom quartile. They found that companies with higher employee engagement saw numerous positive shifts in outputs:

 

  • Customer ratings increases of 10%
  • Profitability increases of 22%
  • Productivity increases of 21%
  • Turnover decreases from 25% to 65%

 

Not only that, but the study concluded that engaged workforces lead to higher earnings per share and their companies saw a faster recovery from the 2008 recession.

 

Even management that understands the importance of employee engagement can face a disconnect between what they want to have happen in their workplace, and what is actually occurring. Bringing in a third party to analyze the situation increases the opportunity for honest insight that will paint a clear picture of what is working, and what isn’t, in terms of staff unification, teamwork, company promotion, and commitment.

 

What Is Involved in an Employee Engagement Study?

 

Common goals for an employee engagement study might include gaining an understanding of:

 

  • To what extent is your team united under a common brand vision?
  • How well is your staff working together toward a common goal?
  • To what extent do your employees believe in the organization’s mission and values?
  • To what extent are your employees working as promoters of your organization?
  • How committed is your staff to delivering a high level of service to internal customers—that is, to other staff members and teams within your organization?
  • What are the barriers that prevent your staff from maintaining a higher level of internal customer service?

 

Employee engagement research can employ either quantitative or qualitative solutions, depending on what’s right for your organization.

 

  • Quantitative studies might include employee surveys that look at satisfaction ratings on such factors as internal interactions and teamwork, how valued employees feel, available resources, overall environment, leadership and supervisors, compensation and benefits, and training. For example, we might ask employees to provide satisfaction ratings on their interactions with other departments “in terms of their ability to complete/fulfill your business need(s) in a timely manner?” Or, we might ask employees to rate their company on how they agree with the statement “I feel my ideas and opinions are listened to and treated seriously.”

 

  • Qualitative analysis might take the form of employee focus groups, either online or in person, in which we examine employee stories and experiences, discuss satisfaction with and barriers impacting internal customer service in depth. We frequently conduct exercises that help us to understand more about a particular aspect of engagement; for example, we might ask employees to write down what they see as one of the company’s core values and then explain why they chose it, how consistent it is with their experience, and to describe a few instances that illustrate that value in action. We might explore perceptions about brand vision through a variety of projective techniques which allow us to understand underlying attitudes and perceptions that are not always apparent through more straightforward lines of questioning.

 

Market Street Research looks closely at each client’s individual needs and recommends a course of action that makes the most sense for them. This plan could include either quantitative or qualitative methods or, perhaps, both. For example, we might begin with focus groups of representative employees to identify problem areas within an organization. We then could use the qualitative research results to design a quantitative survey to determine how common these attitudes are across the general workforce.

 

Once we have analyzed the results of the study, we can present our client with a detailed understanding of employee engagement, as well as recommendations for targeting key areas uncovered in our research. In this way, the client is able to approach their internal marketing backed by descriptive data and work towards a more smoothly functioning company.

 

Please contact us to discuss how Market Street Research can help you achieve your organization’s goals.

 

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Product Testing and Pricing Research

Marketing research techniques can be used to test product concepts and assess pricing strategies for new or existing products and services. Market Street Research‘s experience in product testing and pricing research has included:

 

  • with former, current, and likely future users of a product or service
  • with industry experts about new product or service ideas
  • of both the general public and people involved in purchasing products or services for businesses or organizations
  • of likely competitors’ products and services

 

Much of our product testing and pricing research is conducted within the context of overall market feasibility studies that examine both the marketability of new ideas and how best to meet likely customers’ needs in order to promote the product or idea most effectively. Market Street‘s clients who have conducted product testing and pricing research include such diverse entities as:

 

  • Food manufacturers and agricultural interests
  • Makers and sellers of consumer products
  • Manufacturers of industrial equipment and supplies
  • Real estate developers (both private and public)
  • Health care professionals, hospitals, and health systems
  • Educational institutions
  • Government agencies and departments

 

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Purchase Decision Dynamics

Purchase decision dynamics are ways in which consumers make decisions about buying or using products or services. Consumer buying behavior varies among people with different backgrounds, and in most markets it is possible to identify market segments that are most and least likely to use or buy a particular product or service.

 

Men, for example, choose products in very different ways than do women, and people from different parts of the country or with different ethnic or cultural backgrounds may react in different ways to a new idea. Businesses are most likely to market their products or services effectively if they take into account these differences among consumers in the design, pricing, packaging, and delivery of those products or services.

 

Purchase decision dynamics research is most commonly conducted within the retail sector, although the techniques are applicable across a broad spectrum of industries (both commercial and non-profit) and can include, among other marketing research methodologies:

 

  • Market segmentation analyses using survey or other quantitative data
  • Branding studies
  • Conjoint analyses and other multiple regression statistical techniques
  • Demographic and ethnographic segmentation
  • Focus groups
  • In-depth interviews and other qualitative research
  • Awareness and attitude studies
  • Observation of shopping behavior and preferences
  • Pre- and post-advertising awareness surveys

 

Market Street Research has designed and conducted marketing research on purchase decision dynamics for more than 35 years, for both businesses and health and human services clients. Our approach is thorough, vigorous, and oriented toward effective decision-making-we use statistics to find results rather than “interesting findings” that may or may not reflect your business or organizational reality.

 

Conjoint analysis, for example, is often used to identify market segments based on people’s demographic or decision-making characteristics. We analyze these results to identify market segments that make practical sense, given what you know about your industry, your competitors, and your strengths and weaknesses.

 

Please contact us to discuss how Market Street Research can help you achieve your goals.

 

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