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Smart brand management thanks to brand research

Interview with brand research expert Dr. Michael Schrackmann

With valid data on brand perception, brand and marketing managers have a reliable compass at hand to plan and improve brand strategy and activities in a targeted manner. In addition to representative surveys and surveys with specific target groups, implicit measurement methods also have great potential: these capture the spontaneous reactions of target groups. In this interview, brand research expert Dr. Michael Schrackmann, member of the management team at intervista, provides information on the most important aspects and their implementation.

First of all, does intervista conduct many brand research studies?

Michael: Yes, marketing research in general and brand research in particular are a central part of our portfolio. We conduct studies in these areas for many companies. These are both ad-hoc projects, in which we accompany a rebranding with surveys, for example, as well as larger, continuous studies. We also regularly test umbrella campaigns that are intended to contribute to the company’s long-term brand strategy.

In times of “content overkill”, brands need to stand out all the more. Ideally with content and features that appeal directly to the target groups.

Michael: … and this is where the advantage of good brand research becomes apparent. Ideally, strategic considerations are based on tangible data on brand perception and the preferences and attitudes of consumers. If I want to know how I can increase enthusiasm for and trust in my brand, I first need to know who perceives it and how.


Obviously the topic excites you?

Michael: It’s always good when a researcher enjoys a field of research. (laughs) Seriously, the importance of valid data on perceptions and attitudes towards brands is huge these days. As a psychologist with a PhD, I have always been very interested in how brand values subtly develop in the minds of customers over time and influence consumers’ (purchasing) decisions. A positive brand image can have a major impact on the success of a company, whether in the area of customer acquisition and loyalty or in pricing.

This makes it all the more challenging for companies to build a positive brand image. This does not happen overnight. At intervista, we draw on a wide range of methodological approaches to enable our clients to strengthen their brands – whether these are brands from the financial, insurance, consumer goods, energy or telecommunications sectors.

Every year there are various new brand rankings. There is clearly a need for regular studies on brand perception?

Michael: Yes, we also carry out several large brand studies of this kind, such as the Havas Brand Predictor, in which hundreds of brands are evaluated and compared on the same dimensions. These studies are exciting in that they evaluate the brand values of a large number of well-known brands from various sectors, including in a year-on-year comparison, allowing overarching trends and dynamics to be identified. Such studies often serve as a starting point for companies to evaluate and measure their own brand more precisely. We therefore often carry out specific brand tracking studies on behalf of our clients. These are an important field of research at intervista, and we carry out around 50 studies in this area every year.

What is commonly examined in brand tracking studies?

Michael: We often collect the data along the KPIs of the brand or marketing funnel. We measure the brand image – classically or using implicit measurement methods. We collect these image measurements using the industry benchmark so that our customers not only have data on the perception of their own brand, but also on the brands of the relevant competitors. And we take into account time-varying thematic blocks, such as sponsoring activities and campaigns, in order to measure their influence. This allows us to compare the impact of different campaigns, for example. In contrast to the standardized large brand rankings, such studies have the advantage that we can adapt the measurement (e.g. the brand values to be measured) precisely to the needs and value propositions of our customers.


What aspects need to be taken into account in brand tracking?

Michael: Sample size and target group definition have an influence on the quality of the data collected. A well-designed questionnaire that is adapted to the living environment of the target groups and reflects the questions of our customers is of central importance, as is the quality of the data source and the fieldwork. Especially in tracking studies, the size and quality of the panel plays a decisive role. With the intervista online panel, we can guarantee high data quality and professional fieldwork: We don’t always have to interview the same people, which could lead to learning effects and bias. Instead, thanks to the size of the intervista online panel with its high response rate, we can ensure a sample structure that is representative of the target groups.


You mentioned implicit measurement methods earlier. What do they do?

Michael: Implicit methods measure the spontaneous reactions of the target groups. We analyse the responses and reaction times using a standardized algorithm that takes into account the inter-individual and dimension-specific differences in reaction times. This allows us to quickly register the intuitively perceived strengths and weaknesses of a brand and thus also the attitudes and associations that the study participants themselves are not always aware of. There are various possible applications here, such as the perceived fit between the company and marketing activities.

Dr. Michael Schrackmann

Michael holds a doctorate in psychology and is a member of the management team at intervista. He is a proven expert in the field of brand research and specializes in the design and implementation of methodologically sophisticated studies and scientific projects.

Michael Schrackmann intervista
Michael Schrackmann
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