Do brand identities match what consumers think of them? It's an interesting question that a Google strategist poses in a post on brand awareness. Since search terms are a reflection of the brand through the eyes of consumers, the combinations of words used in a search provide a way to share how people think about specific brands.
Brand positioning doesn't always match what consumers think. Sonia Chung, Google head of insights strategy and agency business development, explains that searches "hint at the mental connections" that consumers make through topics, products, and objectives. In aggregate, the data offers a reflection of how and when consumers are thinking about a brand.
Marketers can use this information to form new partnership opportunities, highlight natural spokespeople, test the strength of brand associations and inform future positioning, Chung explains. "By tapping into the vast data set made up of millions of consumer searches about brands and their competitors, we can gain a sense of the perceptions and associations consumers hold" with the brand, she writes, explaining that "co-searches uncover connections."
Don't think of a search as singular, because people often use a series of queries when they search and research products and services. Each search session contains a combination of terms, or what Chung refers to as "co-searches" that can uncover connections between brands, topics and objectives.
Chung says co-searched terms can help brands identify strengths and weaknesses and understand not only their association with consumers, but whether consumers view the brand as desirable or undesirable. They also reveal other brands that may be sharing your brand's search territory.
Search data allows marketers to determine whether they are hitting the mark and make the connection with consumers as intended. "If those associations are not strong, you can devote additional attention to media and content to strengthen them," Chung explains. "Or you might use search data to identify new relationships that can help inform decisions about the next sponsorship, media and partnership opportunities that come across your desk."