Why a lab is an ideal environment to generate, test, and refine brand concepts and strategy

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Brand strategy development is a high-stakes gamble.  Less than 4% of new brands succeed.  So, how to improve the odds? Begin with a portfolio of brand ideas and concepts around the target market opportunity, scientifically test them in a lab environment using qualitative and quantitative research, and converge to a few promising concepts. A lab is a low-cost option that allows you to test several brand concepts, choose the best, and develop them further for test marketing and launch.

Strategic Analysis

Most brand assignments start with a comprehensive 5C strategic analysis. We systematically explore the macro-environmental context in which the brand exists, the brand’s consumers, the competitive forces that impact and shape the brand, the institutional collaborators and partners of the brand, and finally the vision for the brand and the organizational mission and purpose that is fueling this brand initiative.

The 5C analysis emphasizes analytical rigor and creative interpretation. The method is a blend of convergent, divergent, and practical thinking and application that results in compelling strategic insights and opportunities



  • Assess macro industry trends.

  • Assess market structure.

  • Economic Trends.

  • Technology Trends.

  • Government and Regulatory Framework.



  • Preliminary review of company’s product portfolio.

  • Company Financials.

  • Understand company’s current strategy and outlook.

  • SWOT analysis.



  • Consumer trends.

  • Consumer decision making & behavior.

  • Consumer attitudes, usage and perceptions of company and competitive products.



  • Analysis of competitive position, vis-à-vis competitive product-offerings and successful marketing strategies.

  • Competitive strengths and weakness.

  • Competitor market share and growth analysis.

  • Competitor financials.



  • Identify potential collaborators (e.g. marketing channels, industry associations etc.).

  • Technology collaborators.

  • Partners and affiliates.

Man working on computer, superimposed chart of Brand attitudes

Brand Discovery

Multiple brand realities often exist in the minds of the consumers. Some good, some bad, some indifferent. These realities guide consumers’ interactions and relationships with the brand.

As brand researchers, we strive to understand the multiple realities and try to discover and articulate the identity of the brand that has the power to move markets and build loyalty.

Brand Innovation Labs

The objective of the Innovation Lab is to identify new product and service concepts that add real value to the consumers. We follow a problem-based ideation process to generate useful and viable ideas that are practical and implementable.

The research follows a three-phase process:  Identify Problem Set; Develop Opportunity Set; Generate Concept Set.

The ideas and concepts generated over several groups are assembled, and a final edited list is created for preliminary screening based on criteria developed in consultation with the client.  An “Innovation Portfolio” of the best ideas is presented to the client as the final deliverable.

Flow chart describing the process of the innovation lab at c3research
Flow chart that describes the process of brand strategy development at c3research

Brand Strategy Development

Brand strategy development is a systematic and disciplined creative research methodology that combines fact-finding research with creative ideation and strategy building in an iterative process. The concept of emergent research design guides the process: As the research progresses, we revise and update our strategy ideas, as well as the research guide and techniques that are used in the next phase of research and ideation. At the end of the process, the research findings should converge on clear directions for developing a Brand / Marketing Strategy brief.

Brand Activation Model

A model linking the brand to market performance. The model summarizes how to activate the power of a brand to drive market performance.

Graphic displaying the Brand Activation Model's 4 main forces - Brand differentiation, Consumers, Channel effects, and Reach

Brand Equity Research

Brands have personalities, just as individuals do. Some brands are rugged and masculine. Some brands are upscale and stylish. What personality characteristics are spontaneously associated with your brand? Is your brand “in” or “out” with the market? We use a five-factor personality theory to capture the personality of brands.

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One of the problems with most brand equity tracking research is that you find out your brand is in trouble only “after the fact.” By the time your tracking study registers a drop in brand salience and brand attitude, the damage is already done. We identify the sources of brand equity through a combination of qualitative research and structural modeling of brand equity. The tracking focuses on the health of the sources of brand equity rather than the outcomes of brand equity.

crumpled paper ball in the middle of a drawing of a lightbulb for an idea on a notepad

Structural models of brand equity are built by mapping the psychological sources of brand equity, such as perceptions of physical attributes, brand image, perceived popularity, aesthetics and styling dimensions, and self-brand relationship on brand equity outcomes such as price premium and preference. The model is customized for each core consumer group and helps us establish the critical variables that drive brand equity.

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Brand perceptual maps show how brands are arrayed in the mind spaces of consumers. They are a useful tool for building a strong and differentiated brand position.

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The self-brand relationship is one of the most powerful drivers of brand equity for consumer brands. What is the relationship profile of your brand? Is your brand an acquaintance, a friend, or a close confidant? Brand relationship profiles are better predictors of brand preference and equity than conventional measures of loyalty and brand attitudes.

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Forget Usability. Think Web Brand Equity!

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