At the brand consultancy INCREON, sound brand analysis is the starting point of a comprehensive branding process for international B2B brands.

“I think I know that …” is not enough as a foundation for strategic, long-term branding. To remain competitive internationally, sound brand analysis is necessary as the starting point of the branding process and then on an ongoing basis, to identify and assess developments and changes.

Know the environment.

Secondary analysis

By taking a close look at the market, competition, business situation, products, target groups, and market developments, it is possible to derive where and in which field of conflict a brand stands.

When these secondary data are linked with the analysis of current brand communication and ongoing measures, then strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats for one’s own brand in the brand environment can be identified. If goals, vision, mission, positioning, and mission statement are already properly defined, these brand-relevant aspects should also be considered.

Primary analysis

To more clearly determine current brand performance and define approaches for optimizing the brand, primary analysis may be necessary. Internal and external workshops, expert interviews, and customer surveys are common means of obtaining primary data. For brand analysis, the questions are especially aimed at aspects such as brand perception, brand personality, brand authenticity, and brand preferences.

In its entirety, brand analysis aims to gain a clear picture of the brand, its strengths, recognition, and presence today. In the context of general framework data, this can flow into a forward-looking evaluation during brand analysis, which creates the basis for the development of the brand strategy.

Market and brand analysis relevant to building the brand

The findings from secondary and primary analyses allow a clear view of the company and its environment. For solid, long-term brand development, there is another important field: the most precise description of customers, along with their wishes and needs. There are several ways to find this out. The findings are always to be placed in relation to the competition. This permits “white areas” to be found on the customer map.

Milieu studies — especially in the B2C environment — are helpful, as they deliver a picture of a diverse society which is as close to reality as possible. This includes values, life goals, and lifestyles along with sociodemographic characteristics. In a B2B analysis, clear descriptions of target groups, partly in combination with persona profiles, are helpful for better describing the individual decision-making groups. For later consulting, brand analysis focuses on behavior related to how these groups search for and obtain information, who has the ability to make decisions, decision-making and purchasing processes, budget, and influential factors. What connects social environments and personas is understanding branding and marketing oriented to the target groups.

Long-term trend analyses bring a completely different aspect to brand development. This is about understanding how possible developments will change a market, industry segment, or an application which is usual today. Legal questions at a national and international level are also relevant, along with societal trends, scientific developments, trends in technology, and megatrends.  These fields yield indications for where the brand currently is and its potential to develop.

Brand perception by customers looking from the outside in is a helpful starting point for brand assessment. This concerns following the customer journey, identifying customer touchpoints, and understanding what the customer experiences today and ought to experience in terms of aspects of the brand.

Individual observations or the sum of these brand analyses yield a clear picture of where a B2B brand currently stands, where there is a need for action, and at which points the important starting points for consulting on brand development are.

Brand performance analysis

Which potential does the existing brand have? Which aspects make the brand special; which aspects make it exchangeable? Today, there are numerous possibilities of qualitatively measuring brand awareness, brand image, and brand strength. Not all processes are suitable for B2B markets, which move selected market segments. During brand analysis, we choose suitable tools, depending on the situation, questions, and the subsequent assignment. During brand consulting, brand performance analysis is not done according to a fixed plan, but is as custom as the company, market, and goals.