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It was humorist and social commentator, Will Rogers, who noted, “Things ain’t what they used to be and probably never was.” Which is likely true these days in the case of, well, lots of things.

But from a brand POV, with a more complex marketplace and mediascape, an increasingly undifferentiated brand landscape, and smarter and more empowered consumers (with and without mobile devices), that quote is perhaps truer today than it was when Rogers made it 80 years ago. From our own perspective, it’s particularly true as regards many traditional brand research forays. So for marketers, not so funny.

That being the case, there are a lot of questions smart CMOs, marketers, planners, and brand strategists should ask about their research. Questions like “Is it something more than a qualitative opinion?” “Does it go beyond imagery and does it really measure consumers’ emotions? And, perhaps most importantly, “Is it predictive of what will happen in the marketplace?” 

As regards that last question, the sad truth is that making predictions based on traditional and legacy research tends to be a far more popular pastime than actually checking back on their accuracy. But prediction becomes remarkably less risky when one employs very smart emotionally-based loyalty and engagement metrics, because they point to what people will actually do, instead of what they say they’re going to do. In short, they provide marketers with the answer to the ultimate question: What’s going to happen to my brands?

As our own annual test, Brand Keys again examines how closely what we said during the year in 2013 on this blog, The Keyhole, and in our Forbescolumns (all based on metrics and insights from our validated and predictive Customer Loyalty Engagement Index) about how strategies brands were – or were not taking – matched up with actual market results. In short, to see, “What happened?”

This year’s assortment of recordings includes topics from smartphones to beer, retailers to cars, sandwiches to streaming media, cautious brands, patriotic brands, and just plain foolish brands, along with far-from-plain white bread – that we hope will inspire you to demand smarter insights from your research efforts.
We invite you to pull up your computer or mobile device and listen (or download) again this year, or for the first time, to find out, What Happened?
We wish you all the best of luck for 2014. But we’d be remiss if we also didn’t remind you of another saying. “The smarter you work, the luckier you get!”

Connect with Robert on LinkedIn.

Find out more about what makes customer loyalty happen and how Brand Keys metrics is able to predict future consumer behavior: Visit our YouTube channel to learn more about Brand Keys methodology, applications and case studies.

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