Published January 11, 2024

Brand Research: Measure the Gut Feelings and Reactions of your Customers

6 min read

Your brand is more than the sum of its parts, but every tiny little activity and experience with your company matters. With brand research, you can quantify the gut feelings and reactions of your customers and compare that to your competition. You can test new messaging ideas that help you refine it over time. You can optimize your landing pages so they resonate more with your ideal buyers. 

All of these activities contribute to your brand. In this blog post, we’ll explore these concepts and share examples of how you can use Helio for your brand research efforts. Let’s dive in!

Can you test that gut feeling about your brand?

You sure can. You can also test the actions that drive it forward, like ads, social posts, and onboarding. Gauging people’s reactions to your assets is a way to baseline that gut feeling. We love Jason Vana’s thoughts on building a brand strategy, which he shared in a recent LinkedIn post

Your brand is the gut feeling people have about your business. Branding refers to the actions taken to influence this feeling, and your brand strategy involves deciding what that gut feeling should be. 

Jason says many of you attempt to do branding without a clear brand strategy. Every action you take creates a gut feeling:

  • every ad
  • every selfie
  • every post
  • every form
  • every pitch
  • every email
  • every video
  • every comment
  • every emoji you use
  • every discovery call
  • every onboarding step
  • every product or service
  • every post you engage with
  • every page on your website

So where do you begin to understand the gut feelings of your target audience? To develop a brand strategy, test your materials using Helio to establish a baseline. This initial step helps you understand your brand elements’ current perception and impact. Here are the steps:

  1. Define Goals: Identify what aspects of your brand you want to test (e.g., perception, logo, messaging) and develop the relevant test materials. We can help you!
  2. Select Target Audience and Testing Method: Choose an audience and decide on the testing method based on feedback surveys and usability tests.
  3. Run the Test: Implement the test with your target audience, gathering real-time quantitative and qualitative feedback.
  4. Analyze Results: Review the feedback to identify trends and areas for improvement.
  5. Iterate and Refine: Use the signals to adjust your brand strategy and continuously refine based on ongoing testing and feedback.

Brand Research Example: Comparing Conversational UI between ChatGPT vs Google Bard

One good way to establish a baseline is to test elements of your brand against your competitors. Recently, we compared audience feelings and reactions to the conversational UI of both ChatGPT and Google Bard for a controlled prompt.

Then, we asked two separate samples of 100 home cooks in the United States a closed-ended, ‘select all that apply’ question, “How do you feel about this response?” with eight response categories: four positive sentiments, and four negative ones:

  • Detailed
  • Helpful
  • Innovative
  • Fun
  • Long
  • Confusing
  • Overwhelming
  • Unnecessary

Between the two tests, we calculated Net Positive Alignment scores, or the sum of positive impressions minus the sum of negative impressions. This provides a clean and singular data point to compare emotional reactions across test variations.

In our example, we found that Google Bard had a higher Net Promoter Score (36.63) than Chat GPT (21.57), and its Net Positive Alignment is 189% versus Chat GPT’s 142%. These figures indicate that users are generally happier with Google Bard’s user interface—a key part of Google’s brand.

example of how to apply brand research to conversational ui design

Collecting messaging feedback is easier than you might expect.

We’re digging Joshua Fryszer’s five actionable ways to make feedback your product marketing backbone. It’s a great list to organize your messaging thinking. Check out his entire guide in this LinkedIn post.

  1. Collect Diverse Feedback: Utilize various data sources like site analytics and sales feedback to deepen understanding of buyer needs.
  2. Analyze for Gold Nuggets: Delve into feedback to uncover key insights about customer motivations and how your solution fits into their lives.
  3. Iterate and Test: Continuously refine messaging based on insights, employing A/B testing and monitoring performance for effective adjustments.
  4. Build a Feedback Loop: Integrate continuous customer feedback into your process, ensuring regular messaging reviews and a culture of adaptability.
  5. Celebrate Feedback: Show appreciation for buyer input by highlighting changes made from their feedback and sharing success stories.
illustration of how brand research can help messaging evolve over time

The challenge for most teams is collecting buyer feedback; in most cases, that won’t happen in great enough volume to get strong signals. However, Helio can help you collect feedback from a proxy audience, enabling you to identify gaps in understanding, awareness, sentiment, and the usability of your messaging.

It perfectly complements your customer conversations to understand why people may not connect with your messaging. You can collect responses in hours from a targeted audience!

Brand Research Example: Testing LinkedIn Ad Variations

Mastering ad testing can elevate your campaign effectiveness and exponentially amplify the impact of your growth loop. It can also be used as part of a brand research program.

To illustrate this, we asked an audience of QuickBooks users, “Which of these ad variations makes you most interested in clicking the link in the post?” Then, we showed participants 3 creative variations and used a preference test to understand which messaging would perform best with their audience.

example of how brand research can be applied through testing ad variations on linkedin

With QuickBooks’ new BillPay feature, the most enticing offer for current users was the scheduling aspect. The scheduling ad worked because of it’s engaging tone, something that was lacking in the messaging of the paperless offering and business tailoring.

By understanding the messages that resonate with ideal customers, you can sharpen your offers and key marketing messages over time.

Enhancing page copy can boost your test outcomes.

Shout out to our copywriting followers! We are Inspired by Neal O’Grady 🍉‘Grady’s 10 key recommendations for copy enhancement. Check out his entire guide in this LinkedIn post.

Test data from millions of Helio test participants has revealed a consistent truth: optimizing your page’s copy is a reliable method to elevate key metrics, be it engagement or conversion.

In fact, we’ve observed that straightforward modifications in copy can result in a remarkable 10-15 point increase in overall performance. Here are our top three for creating more clarity in your screens:

  1. Cut the Fluff: Remove any word that doesn’t add value, especially in introductions to hook the reader’s interest.
  2. Be Specific: Spell out details clearly, making it easy for the reader to picture what they’re getting.
  3. Use Simple Words: Don’t use complex words when simpler ones will suffice. Pretend you’re explaining to a 10-year-old.

Give it a try- test your existing page, and then make these updates to see your metrics improve. 

Brand Research Example: Landing Page Messaging

With so many different tones they can bring to the world of finance, Banko needed to quickly test landing messaging ideas with an audience. We tested 3 variations of a hero message at the top of their landing page to gauge comprehension and emotional reaction. We first gave respondents a scenario, “Imagine you’ve come to an online banking website and you are looking at the homepage.” Then we presented each variation, and asked an open-ended text question, “Briefly describe what the message on this page means to you.”

Then, we asked a closed-ended single-option question, “How well do you understand what the message on this page is saying?” We presented respondents with four response categories:

  • Did not understand
  • Understood a little
  • Understood most of it
  • Understood very well
Example of a comparison framework to showcase how brand research can be applied through Opportunity Solution Trees concepts.

Going the direct route by presenting a fact in V2, rather than the idealistic phrasing of V1 and V3, clearly improved comprehension for their Bank Members audience. View the results comparison framework.

Conduct Brand Research With Helio

Take your brand research game to the next level with Helio. Test messaging, imagery, content, ads, and more with targeted audience panels. With results filling in minutes, you can get data signals in the same day to move your brand forward. Simply reach out to start a conversation with an expert today.

Build something your users truly want