Category Archives: Branding

Survey says …

Do you like taking surveys and quizzes online?  Maybe you want to earn a few bucks.  Maybe you just want to know which Love Actually character is most like you (I’m Natalie … as if I needed a quiz to tell me that)!  It can be fun to tick a box here, rate your feelings, and add a few comments on any given subject.

In fact, you may even get brave enough to participate in more in-depth, in person market research surveys.  When my daughter was small, we had a survey company invite us to participate in an in-person research survey about bathtime habits and products for Johnson & Johnson.  It took less than an hour of our time, and we made $75 talking about what the two year old liked to do in the tub.

One of my newer clients runs a market research consultancy firm, and what they do has always been of great interest to me.  I admit, I’m a fairly opinionated person, but I really like the idea of both performing surveys on others and being invited to give my opinion on new products, commercials, branding strategies, and more.  Do you remember hearing about Neilsen ratings as a kid?  Didn’t you think it would be great fun to be “a Neilsen family”?  How exciting, to control what shows succeed or fail!

Today, all kinds of businesses turn to market research as the best way to gauge public response to their products and marketing efforts before they invest too much time and money.  Though market research surveys can be time consuming, they provide the most helpful insight into what will and won’t sell.  If you have a consumer product to offer, consider getting some feedback before you launch!

Why Stores Remodel, and What Online Businesses Can Learn from Them

Last weekend, I decided to bake a cake for my friend’s birthday.  We were planning a small, belated celebration at her house, and I thought it would be fun to make a cake depicting a character from her favorite television show – Doctor Who.  Of course, the grocery store wouldn’t have the supplies I needed to decorate a bright red Dalek cake, so I decided to visit my local craft store for decorator’s icing, dye, and other details.

I suppose it had been awhile since my last visit.  Right away, I noticed that the entire store had been remodeled.  Nothing was in its usual place.  Rather than sitting right out front where they had been, my cake supplies were nowhere to be seen.

At first, I was annoyed.  “Why would they do this?” I whined internally, “No one likes having to figure out a store all over again!”  Grumble, grumble.

It’s true.  Having to get reacquainted with a remodeled store is never any fun, and it often turns a quick trip into a laborious process.

However, once I completed my shopping trip (with a little help from a few sales associates), the marketing professional in me took over.  Stores have many reasons for remodeling or remerchandising, and most of those have to do with marketing.  Even temporarily frustrating their customers can seem worthwhile if it means improving their overall experience.  For example, part of the remodeling at my craft store created more defined check-out lanes with one main queue feeding into them.  Instead of having to wait and forever feeling as though I’d chosen the slowest line, I sped through check-out with much more ease.  Stores that remodel may also make it easier for customers to pick up convenience items, or they may rearrange to give more space to popular products.

In short:  when your local retailer shakes things up, his goal is (usually) to make your life easier, not harder!

Since most of my work is done online, I started thinking about how this logic applies to website design.  Often, a business may be afraid to remodel for fear that their existing customers will have trouble with the new site.  But, just like brick and mortar stores, websites can also benefit from a fresh look now and again.  In fact, a new, custom web site can achieve the following:

  • Improved user experience:  A new look can make it easier for customers – new and old – to find the information they need on your site.
  • Increased sales:  Maybe your existing customers are comfortable with your current design, but prospective clients are turned off by the old-fashioned look and feel of your site.  Draw them in with a fresh appearance.
  • Better technology:  Web design technologies are changing daily.  New trends – like user-friendly content management systems (CMS) – can make it easier for you to update your site with new information on a regular basis, giving your visitors access to everything they need to know about your products or services.

My local craft store wasn’t afraid to remodel.  Your online business should have the guts to do the same!