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Why Market Research is a Must-have for Brands From Cadbury to Maggi, it's market research which brought these brands out of trouble

By Jasal Shah

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Market Research is a fundamental tool in any company's arsenal today. It can uncover valuable insights that are crucial to the growth and success of the company. Market Research can tell you as to what your consumers are saying and what their expectations are from a company or a category. In addition to this, its influence is beyond just how your product is performing but can even tell you as to what its positioning should be in the marketplace. Hence it is no surprise that most successful brands in the world today embrace Market Research to guide them with their growth strategies.

If you are still trying to make up your mind whether you need Market Research, here are some of the top reasons why you should consider it without any delay.

1. Predict the Success of Your Campaigns

Every successful brand particularly FMCG companies earmark budgets each year for branding campaigns. Consider a brand like Britannia which is in the foods category. They are constantly relaunching their brands or launching variants to stay relevant in their consumers' minds. More recently the company unveiled a campaign to mark their 100 years completion in India. Now how does one decide what the message should be, or what forms of media they must engage in or what kind of consumer connect campaigns should they roll out, or which campaign should be targeted at which segment. Answers to all these questions can be found through Market Research.

Britannia is marking its centenary year with a creative multimedia campaign which the company believes is designed for its heterogeneous audiences that its diverse brands cater to. The campaign is a multimedia campaign that includes a 10 film TVC series, apart from a long format film for digital and social media, along with mainstream print, radio, and OOH campaigns. Market Research can help companies decide on the messages, the formats, and the desired media to unfurl such multi-crore brand campaigns.

2. Discover New Market Segments

Brands are always on the lookout for growth and expansion opportunities. Considering the world around is constantly evolving it is imperative for companies to discover new market segments. You must have heard of Gen X, Baby Boomers, Millennials, Generation Z, etc and all this leads to even more possible market segmentation. How do you know whether your brand can relate to a particular segment let us say, Millennials and their preferences? Market Research is the best way to identify these segments and the trends associated with them. The launch of Sensodyne toothpaste is a good example of a regular product category discovering a new market within which was tooth sensitivity.

3. Identify Strengths and Weaknesses

Unilever is one of the world's largest FMCG companies and owns some of the world's leading brands including Lux, Axe, Knorr, Dove, Brooke Bond, Lipton, etc. Many of the brands are decades old in the market but still going strong. How do they continue to stay relevant for the consumer in a dynamic and shifting marketplace? This can only be done by constantly reviewing your position and how you need to adapt with the times.

Take for instance Colgate toothpaste which for many years was an undisputed market leader in India in this segment and what happened to them. In 2013 GSK launched Sensodyne in India with a powerful campaign around tooth sensitivity. This was a result of their intense Market Research studies conducted to study this opportunity. Sensodyne went on to gain substantial market share with their ingenious campaign targeting a new segment. This is where brands like Colgate need to be in a position to predict such opportunities well in advance and capitalise on it.

4. Crisis Management

The word brand crisis is what keeps the CEO of a company awake at night most often. Market Research is an apt tool help you manage these situations if they do occur and to then further help you tide over it seamlessly. Can you recall the crisis that almost consumed Cadburys chocolates in 2003? There were widespread reports about worms getting discovered in Cadburys chocolates with media flashing scathing images of the same. Finding the true consumer affection for the product was all about identifying the sweet spot and then engaging with them. The need of the hour was to instil faith in the consumer's mind and to allay any fears of further contamination. What it took was several months of crisis management supported by the fatherly brand ambassador image lent by Amitabh Bachan and other social initiatives to overcome the crisis. Market Research was at the root of understanding customer sentiment at different steps of the way to engage with them meaningfully.

The Nestle crisis with Maggi noodles is another example in India which took place in 2015. The company had to spend several crores and months of firefighting rectify the damage done by vested interests. The only avenue for a company with a 63% market share in a 5000 crore market was to rely on customer feedback during its rehabilitation drive. After the product was forcibly pulled off the shelves, it was a gargantuan task to come back into the market and build trust with the customer. Market Research could help the company understand customer sentiment and develop communication accordingly.

In a nutshell Market Research is fundamental to any company in India. Picture a country of 1.3 billion, add to it the diverse religions, languages, and ethnicities. How can a company plan and cater to such diversity? Market research is the only panacea to help you understand your target audience and to engage with them meaningfully. Like the saying goes "know what your customer wants before they do'.

Jasal Shah

MD/CEO, Markelytics Solutions

Jasal Shah  is the MD/CEO of Markelytics Solutions. He is an MBA graduate from the Institute for Technology and Management and has worked with leading agencies like IDC (International Data Corporation) and IMRB International (Part of the Kantar Group, WPP's information, insight and consultancy division). He specializes in technology related market research. He was recently felicitated with the Leadership Award by World Marketing Congress endorsed by CMO Asia for his contribution to Market Research Industry.

He has also served as the council member of most prestigious global market research association – ESOMAR.

Markelytics is a global market research company and leading provider of Global Project Management, MR Outsourcing solutions, Full-Service Research and Online Panel Services. They work on the principle of data driven decision making and are the pioneers of Off-Shore Outsourcing model and Online Market Research in India.


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