Insight Community: to brand or not to brand?

One of the major reasons companies choose insight communities is to ensure that their brand always reflects the needs, desires and expectations of their customers. Yet, in some situation having a branded community might actually hurt you, not help you.

PROS: branded community

Your brand can enable easier recruitment and onboarding of participants. Where people know, use and love brands they are more likely to engage in feedback as it gives them an opportunity to shape the brand and have their voice heard. Where your company is looking to get opinions from current customers then it only makes sense to ensure that the branding of the Insight Community and the tone of voice is as close as possible to your own.

A branded Insight Community also allows for greater transparency. As the participants know which brand they are answering questions about, it means that product names, packaging details etc won’t need to be obscured or changed. This enables you to get actionable feedback on real campaign ideas and concepts.


CONS: branded community

Strong opinions lead to bias. Where people actively love your brand, it may mean that you miss out on critical feedback which can help you improve. On the flip side, those who dislike your brand may drag results the other way.

There is also a higher expectation of two–way communication with branded Insight Communities, and talking of comms, this needs to match up to your normal tone of voice because if not it can be jarring, leading to a higher drop out during onboarding.


PROS: unbranded community

You might choose an unbranded Insight Community where you’re looking to obtain feedback from the overall market, or perhaps have a group of companies that many not be linked in the public’s eye. Also useful where you are seeking an impartial viewpoint, or where you are particularly interested in gathering information from prospective or lapsed customers. As we said earlier a branded community may bias participants and skew data.


CONS: unbranded community

People will be more sceptical of how their personal data will be used where there isn’t a brand associated. This may make it more difficult to find appropriate respondents, and you may need a larger incentive in order to attract people.

Whilst having an unbranded Insight Community may make it easier to attract prospective and lapsed customers in many cases this may mean you have to change/hide who the end client is (if for example you were showing a new product design) which can add additional cost.

Long term engagement can be more difficult where participants don’t feel as though they are affecting change, and this is certainly more difficult with an unbranded community.


Best of both worlds 

Some companies aim to ‘hedge their bets’ by having both branded and unbranded communities where the unbranded community is used to explore opinion in the broader market and branded is used to test new products and marketing. Regardless of whether your Insight Community is branded or not, it is critical that it is easy to use, works on every device, every browser and can be easily navigated.

ResearchBods understand the need to build engaging environments. If you are thinking about starting an insight community or revamping your current one, get in touch with the team today and we’ll be happy to show you both or branded and unbranded examples!

Get in touch