As brand strategists, we are generally expected to be comprehensively informed about a brand. This can be challenging when the area is unprecedented and there is little time to do a thorough research. At MetaDesign, we’re lucky to count on a team of highly capable research analysts who can deliver amazing results at short notice. Their work provides the perfect ammunition to surprise clients with a comprehensive understanding of their market right off in the first meeting.
However, when there is too little time, or you happen to be without researchers by your side, I recommend the following five steps that reflect my first ten minutes with a new brand.
1. What are the facts and figures?
The brand’s website is always my starting point. Here I get a substantial overview on the offered products and services as well as information about the company’s heritage and key people. It’s always useful to read through the annual report if available on the site.
2. What does the brand say and how does it feel?
Besides the website, I will check out any touchpoints I can quickly get hold of. I ask myself: What’s my experience with the touchpoints at hand? How does the brand communicate in media, and which channels do they use? Who might be the target groups?
3. What’s in the press?
Google News is of great help here. I learn quite a lot from news content, headlines in specialized press, or recent interviews with the leadership of the company.
4. What about the market and competitors?
At this point I already have first market insights, so I’m able to probe a little further. Who are other relevant players in the market (e.g., competitor brands that were mentioned in the press)? How do they present themselves on their websites? What else can I learn about the market?
5. What’s in the heads of colleagues?
Finally, I’ll ask around. Especially in a company with global reach and digital communication tools like an internal social network, it’s quick and easy to get feedback. Experience shows that there’s always someone who’s in the know and happy to share their insights.
So those are the steps for my first ten minutes grasping a new brand. If you have anything to add that works for you or if you have a different approach, I’d love to hear it.
_Cornelius Hummel is a senior brand strategist at MetaDesign Berlin.