The ability to adapt and evolve is essential in a rapidly changing world. Hooper emphasises the importance of the 'opinion research' approach, which uncovers the sentiments and perspectives of the marketplace and workforce. “It is crucial to measure what the marketplace and the workplace think. What people think drives what actually happens. Opinion research is a key tool for tapping into these insights and is instrumental for understanding consumers' needs and perceptions,” he explains.
The success of this approach is evident in the case of Apple Inc., whose implementation of opinion research has allowed them to tailor their products to consumers' needs, positioning them as a dominant player in the global marketplace. This highlights the importance of understanding the market's perceptions of a brand and the role that this understanding plays in fine-tuning products, adjusting pricing, and improving service delivery.
However, Hooper also emphasises that understanding the marketplace goes beyond internal data. “We may know a lot about our customers from internal data, but without research, we usually don't know who/what else our customers are using or why?” he elaborates.
The role of research extends to workplace engagement as well, a fact exemplified by Google. By leveraging employee engagement research, the tech conglomerate has fostered an innovative and highly driven workforce, contributing to its sustained success in the competitive tech industry.
Hooper summarises the critical takeaway: “Most business and product failures can be attributed ultimately to decision-makers being in love with their own ideas, but failing to ask the target market what their thoughts and opinions are.”
The evolution of market research has been driven by one key factor: listening. “For me, there is no substitute for insights and information than getting out into the marketplace and asking the right questions, creating transparency and trust, and getting people to talk sincerely about what they want, how they perceive your brand, and what they're doing,” Hooper shares. This transparency and trust are what Bateleur Brand Planning brings to the table in its commitment to becoming a strategic partner in brand planning.
The brand planning journey involves a series of steps that market research professionals must undertake to leverage data effectively and turn it into actionable information. These steps involve looking at existing data, identifying the remaining key, focused questions that need to be asked, and then completing the picture with consumer-related insights.
Yet, understanding people becomes more challenging in the complex and often unpredictable world of 2023. In a time of fake news and social media echo chambers, the true opinions of the silent majority often go unheard. Thus, it becomes even more crucial for market research to acquire insights and truth.
When it comes to handling negative feedback, Hooper offers a pragmatic approach. He suggests using negative opinions to identify product, pricing, or service problems and then fixing these issues. “So opinions can be positive, and we can capitalise on those, or they can be negative, and we can use that information to fix things,” he says.
When asked about the budget allocation for market research, Hooper suggests a formula: “I always say to clients, take 5% of your contribution, your marketing turnover and dedicate that to advertising. So take 5% of that advertising budget and dedicate that to finding out what to advertise and what products to develop. In other words, 5% of 5% would be a good way to look at a marketing research budget.”
Bateleur Brand Planning is leading the charge in the evolving market research landscape by recognising and utilising the power of opinions. Whether gauging consumer needs, perceptions, or behaviours or ensuring workplace engagement, they understand that the key lies in listening to the opinions that matter most. Their approach to market research and brand planning is deeply human, intellectually rigorous, and confidently strategic. It serves as a beacon for others navigating the complex world of brand planning in 2023 and beyond.