Search Insights: Discovering and Testing Brand Associations

Brands work hard to establish their identities. Do they match what consumers think? Search data can be a helpful gauge. When people search, they often use a combination of terms. These “co-searches” hint at the mental connections they make among topics, products, objectives, and so on. When looked at in aggregate, this data offers a reflection of how and when consumers are thinking about a brand. Marketers can use this information in a number of ways—to inform new partnership opportunities, highlight natural spokespeople, test the strength of brand associations and inform future positioning, for example.

Every brand marketer has a strong belief about what its brand stands for. After all, marketers spend time, money and significant effort defining a key value proposition they hope will lead to marketplace success. Campaigns, products and creative strategies are all designed to support these carefully thought-out brand identities. But does the reality in the consumer’s mind match our objectives? Do the brand associations line up with the positioning we intended?

Search data can help us find out. It’s a valuable tool for examining a brand in numerous ways, including how well it stands for what we think it should. By tapping into the vast data set made up of millions of consumer searches about brands and their competitors, we can gain a sense of the perceptions and associations consumers hold. In this series we’ve already explored the use of search data as a brand planning tool and showed how search data reflects the collective moments and movements in our society. We also showed how marketers can use search data to gain new insights into categories and competitive landscapes. Now let’s take a deeper look into how to use search to investigate associations and positioning.  Continue Reading →