Market research is a necessary and invaluable aspect of Brand strategy. Unfortunately, companies are sometimes led astray by inaccurate, incomplete or useless information caused by poor research tactics. These studies lead to misinformation about their target audience and, thus, ultimately cripple new Brand assets.
Good market research consists of two important components; qualitative and quantitative data. Within quantitative data, one of the most important considerations for optimal results includes the verbal usage and phrasing. Poor phrasing used in external research can result in respondent confusion and, thus, inaccurate or useless data. To avoid this, many surveys utilize the Likert Scale – an invaluable resource that optimizes transparent, accurate and unbiased data that truly reflect the reactions within the target audience.
Named after its inventor, psychologist Rensis Likert, the Likert scale employs a 5- or 7-point ordinal scale used by respondents to rate the degree to which they agree or disagree with a statement. These scales are widely used as a psychometric tool to evaluate personality, attitudes, behaviors and opinions in psychology. The more nuanced scales allow researchers to compute mean, standard deviation, and confidence intervals to evaluate participant preference.
It’s important to consider that the respondent knows that his or her answers are being recorded and, therefore, there is a subconscious awareness of judgement or evaluation. If a respondent is asked to rank on a 2- point scale (e.g., Do you think this name is innovative and friendly; yes or no) there is incrementally more pressure to choose an option and subconscious sociological pressures may affect their response and, thus, skew the data. Likert scales employ answer options in degrees which include a “neutral” opinion. When converted into quantifiable data and visual charts, these choices recollect a more accurate reading of respondent preference.
This is just one small consideration that can either optimize or compromise the results of a market study. A good market study evaluates contingencies and utilizes the most effective tools to generate data that will perpetuates transparency, honesty and data driven results in order to optimize Brand performance.