Conceptual image of building a communication connection between business people

How Research Insights Drive Actionable Communication Strategies

Michael Jennings headshot

by Michael Jennings

Senior Vice President

Using customer-driven insights to optimize marketing and communication strategy helps build stronger relationships with customers and drives new interest in your brand. For this to be effective, it’s crucial to combine qualitative and quantitative approaches to help teams develop a solid communication plan that is evaluated against marketplace and competitor trends.

Communication research helps teams achieve several goals:

  • Elevate core benefits to appeal to specific audiences.
  • Create compelling positioning to stand out in the field.
  • Enrich customer relationships to deepen engagement and retention.


Building strong activation plans for messaging begins with in-depth conversations.

Our early project work focuses on engaging stakeholders in a conversation to develop a deep understanding of their current approach to messaging. We want to learn how the brand is perceived by customers and what is behind those perceptions, understand the brand’s current relevance and learn more about what makes the brand stand out. We also want to know more about how brand communication is structured within the organization and get a clear picture of what the team’s desired outcomes are for their communications overall. When brand teams and stakeholders provide strong input, we can build a research approach that fits their needs and focuses on setting and tracking activation goals.

When brand teams and stakeholders provide strong input, we can build a research approach that fits their needs and focuses on setting and tracking activation goals.”


Feedback and testing help to build and refine communications strategy.

Once we understand the brand’s goals, we’ll host immersive sessions with customers to develop a deeper knowledge about communications approaches. We use a number of methods including online bulletin boards and exercises that help us gain greater perspective that informs our quantitative research approach and activation outlook for the project.

We use several approaches to develop and test communication strategy, including:

Insights gleaned in the qualitative phase are validated in the quantitative phase. This process enriches the activation strategy and helps us to develop a stronger profile of customer needs along with relevant category, brand, and product considerations.


Collaboration with stakeholders ensures a clear path forward.

Communication research is a collaborative process. When results are in from the qualitative phase, we share findings with stakeholders and work closely on identifying ways to test messaging in a quantitative setting to achieve a higher level of reliability with the insights. We want to ensure that the insights yield clear guidance for each of the teams to act on, and continually ask, “What do the insights mean for the business?” and “How will stakeholders within various teams be able to leverage this information for the greatest benefit?”

We also want to ensure messages are motivating and engaging to the audience, and that they will, ultimately, help the team achieve the goals they’ve set.


Looking Glass™ sessions launch stakeholders toward meaningful activation.

Research findings provide a rich combination of data and customer input for teams to consider for their action plans. Our Looking Glass sessions are designed to guide stakeholders through the research insights and implications and how the findings will inform new communications about their product or service.

In these sessions, we guide conversations about how teams can leverage insights on customers’ rational and emotional connections to the brand to develop communications that will connect with them on a deeper level. We discuss various product or service attributes to find compelling, empathic messages that will resonate with customers, and explore ways to optimize positioning strategy to attract targets that are important to them.

Our partnership with the stakeholders will continue well after the initial Looking Glass session. Because messaging is subjective, we work with specific teams to design ways to measure communications effectiveness and check progress over time. We can refine approaches to take the strongest action against the team’s goals, creating truly differentiated positioning that drives demand.


An activation-minded approach helps teams integrate communications research for brand growth.

Communication research is a vital tool for developing messaging that resonates with audiences. By engaging the right stakeholders and challenging them to think deeply about activation goals, we can tailor a research approach and work closely with the teams to help them integrate insights into specific communication plans that to reaches customers, creates a truly differentiated brand, and drives new growth.


Could your team benefit from communications research?

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