Establishing a strong proposition lies at the heart of every business, and is something that brand consultancies have been banging the drum for since the beginning of time, according to Morten Strand, CEO for global marketplace platform provider Cint, who here explains why market research still plays a critical role in brand and corporate value. This article is copyright 2015 The Best Customer Guide.

Figures from WPP brand consultants Lambie-Nairn (in collaboration with Millward Brown) have shown that brands with a strong identity enjoyed an average growth of 76% based on an analysis of ten years' (2006 - 2015) worth of 'Brand Z' data. Compared with a 27% growth experienced by those with stronger advertising but weaker branding these findings should encourage brands to take identity seriously, and commit budget to building and maintaining it.

This is not to detract from advertising; indeed, the statistics show that those who invested in strong brand identity and advertising enjoyed a 168% growth over ten years. Brand proposition opportunities have of course been enhanced in recent times, with the emergence of social media adding yet another platform through which to engage the consumer and shape their opinion of a brand, and communicate the values that the brand wants to be synonymous with.

In addition, market research can and has played a significant role for many brands, as finding out what resonates well with the consumer can help generate brand loyalty. One of our own pieces of research actually showed that 62% of consumers would feel more loyal to a brand which had sought their opinion.

The latest technologies employed in market research can also help provide accurate consumer insight on a brand, thus helping to develop a more in-depth understanding of what the audience wants. From carefully tailored online surveys to gain consumer opinions on a brand, product or service, to sophisticated eye-tracking or facial monitoring that tracks emotional response rather than self-reported data.

Market research needn't just be employed for brand perception either. Using the aforementioned technology to monitor emotion can help a brand gain opinions from a sample of its target audience on an advertising campaign before it is executed, allowing consumer response to shape the it further for maximum return on investment. Adverts designed to evoke an emotional response, such as the widely popular and eagerly awaited John Lewis Christmas adverts, can be tested on a sample audience first, employing the emotional response recognition technology to ensure they are hitting the spot.

"In a world where methods of raising brand awareness are ever increasing, brands must increasingly look to market research techniques to ensure their efforts yield the best return for their investment in support of continued growth," concluded Strand.