The business world is experiencing a seismic shift with some of the biggest brands struggling to keep up with the new consumer order. Established companies are being challenged and toppled by new businesses, who are adopting and embracing new technology and methodologies to fast track their brands to success. Research agencies have to acknowledge and establish their place in this new landscape.

As businesses have changed, so have consumers. They are smarter and more switched on than ever. They use mobile platforms and the internet to gain instant access and communicate with brands on their own terms; but they also leave a treasure trove of data that can be utilized by the consumer-savvy brand builder.

Perceptions of the market have changed also. Some companies are looking to increase their market penetration – the percentage of the population buying their products – rather than focusing on market share and the amount spent on the product compared to their competitors.

They understand that long held beliefs about customer loyalty can be misleading with more people shopping around. The key quest remains that brands have the right focus and vision to attract more customers.

Brands want insight into the consumer perception of their products, the means to protect their brand value and a blueprint of how to communicate their brand. A lack of insight at the consumer interface can mean failure for many companies. New customer trends highlight the need for researchers to develop closer ties with the brands they work with. Mindful of cost and risk, they need to strip away obsolete methods that fail to deliver incisive insight.

The essence of great brands remains the same and all research needs to reflect and empower that. Successful brands take action and are prepared to use and embrace innovation to grow and keep ahead of the competition. They have a brand story, a mission and a clear identity which shines through in their products and strategy.

The formula for successful brands in the modern business climate raises key questions that reflect back on the insight industry. If research agencies are to help their clients and brands grow, then they have to assess where they themselves stand in relation to business evolution. Are they fit for purpose and fully cognisant and equipped for the needs of their clients and brands? Do agencies and their own insight professionals truly communicate and reflect the core principles and strengths of their own brand to clients?

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