Those who have spent any amount of time around small children have assuredly heard the same question over and over: “But, why?” While this question, when repeated, can seem tedious, the tendency of little kids to continuously ask it speaks to the curious nature of humans, and the power of learning deeper reasons behind surface-level truths. Without knowing why things are the way they are, our understanding of the world around us can only take us so far.
When it comes to business, it may be a feather in your cap to know your brand, company, or product is doing well, but without knowing why, that accolade holds far less meaning — and is not actionable. Even worse, if you discover your product or endeavor is doing more poorly than expected, not knowing the reason behind the downturn can lead to demise.
Knowing the reasons behind your successes, failures, and consumers’ choices not only can, but should drive your business strategy. Understanding what’s happening below the surface can help you successfully bring new innovations to market, differentiate from competition, and communicate the most salient messages to consumers.
Understanding what’s happening below the surface can help you successfully bring new innovations to market, differentiate from competition, and communicate the most salient messages to consumers.”
There are a few key questions to ask yourself when designing research to uncover deeper truths:
1. Are you measuring your performance in actionable and varied ways?
Asking for a combination of past / current behaviors, future intentions, and emotional connections as they relate to your brand can help paint a full picture of your performance and any high-level gaps that need to be addressed.
2. Are you asking questions that will allow you to understand why your performance is what it is?
Digging deeper into specific areas of your brand’s equity, personality, and experience will help you understand what is driving your performance. Monitoring these areas over time is even more powerful in understanding the “why” behind your brand’s trajectory.
3. Are you accounting for additional context outside of your own business (product, brand, etc.) performance?
Competitive performance and perceptions, state of the industry/trends, etc. can help identify white space opportunities and put your performance into a bigger-picture context.
Once you speak with consumers, consider deeper ways to interpret what they are saying:
Compare what consumers say is important versus what is truly motivating their actions.
Sometimes brand performance is driven more by consumers’ subconscious motivations than their top of mind needs. Comparing stated importance to a key drivers analysis can uncover the differences.
Exploring the difference between brand strengths in a vacuum, and relative strengths.
While it’s important to know the areas your brand is strongest in, it’s also critical to understand how the competition performs in those areas. If your brand’s ratings are strongest on “trust” and “value”, but a key competitor scores twice as well on these measures, you risk being undifferentiated on your perceived strengths.
Understand the bigger picture.
Make sure you’re able to get a sense not just of how your brand is performing and why, but of the dynamics behind the overall industry in which you play. Understanding the “whys” behind consumers’ behaviors at the category level can point to white space and untapped opportunities for your brand.
By doing the due diligence and research to get at these ‘whys,’ you can feel confident that you’re connecting with customers in a way that is meaningful to them.”
Understanding — and then speaking to — the “why” behind your business gives your customers a more powerful way to connect with you. By doing the due diligence and research to get at these “whys,” you can feel confident that you’re connecting with customers in a way that is meaningful to them.
Are you ready to experience the power of why?