What Hockey Teaches Us about Market Research

By the Editors

After the NHL lockout last year, hockey came back with a vengeance. As Boston and Chicago battled it out for the Stanley Cup, fans around the country were riveted. Yet before the NHL and players solved their differences, experts everywhere wondered aloud and in print whether the brand could make a comeback. Clearly it hasn’t withered on the vine. So what lessons can other companies struggling to make a comeback learn, and how can market research support that overall goal?

Understand Where Your Brand Failed

Hockey fans were frustrated that the season was impacted by the lockout. In an interview with Media Canada, expert Ann Stewart said that with three long lockouts over the last twenty years, National Hockey has a big image issue that needs to be dealt with and overcome if the NHL wants fans and advertisers to come back to the game.

Offer Incentives That Motivate Customers

When the NHL started the rebuilding process, they offered discounts and free alcohol and food to patrons. This helps get people back through the doors, and remember why they loved your product or service in the first place. Different incentives will motivate your customers. Market research can help you uncover their priorities, and develop tools that get them to convert. Ask questions about what core problems they’re solving and how you can help.

(Re) Build Trust Over Time

The best brands are trusted and reliable. The brand name stands for something solid and consistent. It’s important from a research perspective to understand what your customers value. By delving into that information, you’ll be able to create a road map for future investments. Whether the top priorities are customer service, product quality or something else, that knowledge translates into the power to blow your customers away. By consistently demonstrating your ability to meet and exceed their expectations, your brand will be stronger than ever.

Use This Time to Examine Your Brand

Does your branding adequately capture the value proposition of your company? Does it reflect the most important aspects of your products, services, and space to your customers? If you’re going through a difficult time, now’s a great opportunity to evaluate what’s working about your brand – and what’s not. Before you invest in rebuilding something that’s not working, spend the time to really figure out the best approach forward. Market research can help you understand your customers’ perceptions of your brand, where you fit in with the competition, and more.