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Understanding the Brand Concept from Your Customers' Point Of View

The research questions you should ask when developing your Brand Contract complement those you ask when determining your brand's image. These questions can include the following:

* In making a purchase in this category, what were the benefits you expected to receive?
* What are the most important aspects of service that a provider must be sure to offer?
* Did brand X meet your benefit expectation? Why? Why not?
* What promises does brand X make? Positive promises? Negative promises? What impact do these promises have on your perceptions of the brand?
* How did you arrive at your perceptions of promises?
* Do other brands make different promises or set different expectations than brand X?
* Once you purchased band X, how well did the actual brand experience match with your expectations?
* What could have been done differently to make your purchase and brand experience an even better one?
* How well did brand X match up to the promises you expected before the purchase, during use of the actual product or service, and afterward?
* When you think about brand X, what other promises could you imagine it making?

Q 1. How Do Customers Choose A Brand?
Addressing this one question should help your company focus its brand building on whatever it takes to convince a customer to buy your brand instead of a competitor's, regardless of the category. This involves answering three further questions:

* What kind of purchase process and purchase criteria do customers use?
* How do they rate your brand, as opposed to competitor's brands, by those criteria?
* Who at the customer decides to make brand-based purchases? Who else influences the decisions? Which criteria are important to each?

Q 2. How Does Your Brand Stack Up Against the Competition?
This second step in creating a customer model involves answering these questions:

* What brands do customers think compete with our brand?
* What do our customers believe about the competing brands in our category?
* What are the strengths and weaknesses of competitive brands? How does our brand compare on specific values and benefits?

Q 3. What Opportunities Exist for Brand Growth and Expansion?
Explore the opportunities, such as:

* What are customers' beliefs about our brand category?
* What opportunities for extendibility or growth exist as a result?
* What unmet customer needs and wants might we address? (Include those that your brand or your competitors are already trying to address but without apparent success.)