How Do You Stand Apart from Your Competition? - (Archived)

Understanding how your customers perceive your brand as a whole — and your brand value — is an important component of developing strong customer relationships. However, as customers look for specialized expertise to meet their needs, companies must distinguish divisions and sectors from the competition through niche marketing.

While many companies know they need brand research at the corporate level, we have found tremendous benefit in doing brand research at the division or the business-unit level in order to meet this trend of niche marketing. It makes sense when you think of each division or business unit as a separate company.

As an example, one of our clients primarily works in the defense market and their corporate brand reflects that. But they have a division focusing on systems integration—something they sell outside of defense.

They were having difficulty gaining traction in civilian markets, so they conducted division brand research. The result was concrete information to position and message against the right competitors. It also helped them understand the real needs, requirements, and expectations of their buyers. Finally, it helped them develop the right win themes so they could keep those must-retain contracts and succeed with must-win opportunities.

Brand research at the division or business-unit level is similar to corporate brand research. The difference is it is laser focused on a subset of the overall business. It will answer questions such as:

  • Is what your division offers understood and accepted in the marketplace?
  • What is your reputation among key targets and has this changed over time (or with the merger/acquisition)?
  • Is the market aware of the capabilities and service/products you offer?
  • For the products and services this division offers, which qualities or characteristics are important to your customers?
  • How are you perceived relative to your competitors regarding specific qualities such as technical expertise or thought leadership?
  • Are you in the customer’s consideration set for specific capabilities or service/product offerings?

Without a current and fact-based understanding of brand perceptions in the market, the risk of delivering a message that is not tailored to the specific audience is higher. Division brand research minimizes that risk and helps you leverage everything your divisions offer.


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