Thursday, August 31, 2017

Brand Associations

To really understand brands you need to understand what people most often associate with those brands. It is from these associations that a viable brand position could emerge. The best way to identify these associations is through specific exercises often used in qualitative research designed specifically to identify these associations - collages, ideation, metaphorical thinking, vignettes, various projective techniques, picture interpretation, word association, cartoon completion, laddering, role plays, sorting exercises, etc.

As an example of what I mean when I say brand associations, I will provide my own associations for four places in which I have lived.

New York City - Metropolitan Museum of Art, Central Park, Upper West Side, Upper East Side, Broadway, Wall Street, Greenwich Village, Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty, subways, taxis, Harlem, Cotton Club, Freedom Tower, Fifth Avenue, Brooklyn, Times Square, MoMA, Lincoln Center, Bronx Zoo, University Club of New York, The Explorers Club, Harvard Club of New York City, New York City Ballet, Carnegie Hall, Brooklyn Bridge, South Street Seaport Museum, The Blue Note, The High Line, the Cloisters, Cathedral of Saint John the Devine, St. Patrick's Cathedral, Chelsea Market, SoHo, Rizolli Bookstore,  Bergdorf Goodman, Saks Fifth Avenue, Tiffany's, FAO Schwartz, New York Yankees, New York Mets, Forest Hills, US Open, Southhampton, Jones Beach, JFK, Rubin Museum of Art, The Whitney Museum of American Art, Guggenheim Museum, American Museum of Natural History, Rockefeller Center, Saturday Night Live, Studio 54, The Limelight, McSorley's Old Ale House

Boston - Faneuil Hall, Boston Commons, Swan Boats, Cambridge, Harvard, Harvard Square, Hong Kong Restaurant Harvard Square, Scorpion Bowls, the Coop, MIT, Wellesley, Tufts, BU, BC, Berklee College of Music, Freedom Trail, Willow Pond Kitchen, Union Oyster House, The North End, Legal Seafood, Boston Pops, The T, Beacon Hill, New England Aquarium, Walden Pond, The Charles River, Head of the Charles Regatta, Museum of Fine Arts, Fenway Park, Boston Red Sox, New England Patriots, Boston Bruins, Boston Celtics, Cape Cod, Newport, Gloucester, Salem, Marblehead, autumn/fall, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Paul Revere, Boston Tea Party, John Quincy Adams, Unitarian Universalist Association, Boston Logan International Airport, Route 128, Arnold Arboretum, Fogg Museum

Kansas City - Country Club Plaza, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, KC Royals, KC Chiefs, Hallmark, H&R Bloch, Garmin, Sprint, Brookside, Mission Hills, Overland Park, Leawood, Prairie Village, Olathe, Lenexa, Parkville, Lee's Summit, UMKC, Johnson County, Ward Parkway, boulevards, fountains, Kansas City Zoo, barbecue, Bible Belt, KU, Jayhawks, Wizard of Oz, tornados, Missouri River, Lake of the Ozarks, Loose Park, National Museum of Toys and Miniatures, WWI Museum, Science City at Union Station, Kansas City Power & Light District, KCI, Unity School of Christianity, Kansas City Repertory Theatre, Unicorn Theatre, Powell Gardens, Ewing and Muriel Kauffman Memorial Garden, 18th & Vine 

Rochester (NY) - Kodak, Xerox, Bausch & Lomb, Constellation Brands, Paychex, photonics, University of Rochester, RIT, Eastman School of Music, Eastman Theatre, dance, film festivals, Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival, Finger Lakes, wineries, Lake Ontario, Irondequoit Bay, Genesee River, Erie Canal, parks, festivals, golf, sailing, George Eastman Museum, The Strong National Museum of Play, RMSC (Rochester Museum & Science Center), Memorial Art Gallery, RoCo (Rochester Contemporary Art Art Center), Geva Theatre Center, The Little Theatre, Pittsford Village, Fairport, garbage plate, white hots, Susan B. Anthony, Frederick Douglass, Rochester Public Market, East Avenue, Park Avenue, Neighborhood of the Arts, Canandaigua, CMAC, fruit farms, dairy farms, grapes, Abbott's Custard

This was all off the top of my head. Now conduct this analysis with hundreds of people from various market segments, in the case of places, including at least residents, visitors, event planners and business relocation consultants. From this, you can discern patterns and potential brand positioning angles. For instance, in my associations, consider what types of associations came to my mind and whether the types of associations differed from city to city. And consider how many of each type of association (building, cultural institution, neighborhood, town name, sports team, event, type of food, company, famous person, etc.) emerges for each brand. Also, consider how the associations vary by market segment and which ones are shared by all market segments. In brand positioning, one must always focus on the positives or the assets, not the negatives or the weaknesses. 

No comments:

Post a Comment