The Big 3 is a David Reid Group blog series designed to give you insight into the big issues in branding, marketing and selling. We break each topic down into 3 straight-forward points, so you can get the picture and get on with your day.
If you’ve ever had a read of DRG’s case studies, you’ll know that research is the first thing we do when embarking on a project with a new client. We’ve been doing business this way for over ten years and witnessed the benefits of this approach for our clients. We’ve also learnt a lot about the best way to conduct research, as well as identifying common themes that emerge again and again as we interview business owners, their staff and their customers. This three part blog series shares these insights on research and its results – how it’s helped other businesses and how it can help yours. But first, we need to look at how and why we conduct research.
1. How we do it
Our approach involves two essential elements: a skilled DRG strategist working through a proven research methodology. Using the IDI (in-depth interview) research tool, a DRG strategist personally interviews a business’s customers one-on-one, using structured, carefully designed questions. The same process is followed with the business owners, staff (both front-line and back office) and suppliers. The aim is to elicit detailed information about how these individuals view the business, in particular the brand of the company. These skilled interviewers probe for extra information, explore the meaning of words and notice when what people don’t say, tells as much about a subject as what they do. The interviews aren’t carried out in groups, in order to avoid the problems caused by group dynamics and power imbalances. This isn’t the equivalent of an online survey: it’s in-depth, it’s thorough and it’s objective. Once the interviews are complete, this information is synthesised into useful data and conclusions and presented back to the business owners or directors. This objective view of the business provides the basis needed to start making future plans.
2. Why we do it
We believe beginning with research is the best way for us to provide the insights that can inform your decision making and ensure success. Some professionals in the branding, marketing and selling space rely heavily on being experts in their field and offer a lot of preconceived ideas about what’s best, without actually knowing anything about your business. At DRG we have a very different approach – we offer you insights that are absolutely grounded in reality. Our tailored conclusions are backed up by the concrete evidence discovered during our research of your particular business, not a theory about the best marketing strategy in general. We also believe that the best way for you to get insight into your business is to see it from the outside, to perceive the gap between what you believe your business is and what your customers and staff believe it is. In this gap lies the way forward, but the only way you can access this information is through an objective third party who can present the reality of your position back to you.
3. Why you should want it for your business
Perhaps you’re now thinking, “that sounds about right, but I’ve got well developed relationships with my customers, staff and suppliers and I know what they think about my business. Surely you only need to interview me?”. We can’t argue with your great relationships but, let’s face it, people don’t always say what they really think and feel, especially unprompted. This can be as true of positive opinions as of negative; some people are just polite, others might be shy or unused to giving compliments. Providing an anonymous, engaging opportunity for others, particularly your customers, to voice their opinions, problems, satisfactions and unique perspective on your business gives you priceless information that only they can provide. If this research is done in a detailed, systematic and intelligent way, and synthesised objectively into useful insights, it will allow you to transform your business.
In the next installment we’ll let you in on some of the the secrets we’ve learnt while researching for businesses in a huge range of industries over many years. It turns out there are some common themes and trends to the feedback we get – and knowing about them could help your business too.
Read Part 2 of this Big 3 series: DRG Research – Take-home messages for your business