How Web3 Will Change the Way Brands Perform Market Research

May 16, 2024
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Back in the 80s, fast-food chain, A&W, released a burger designed to compete directly with the popular McDonald’s quarter-pound burger. They upped the amount of beef in their sandwich to a third of a pound, priced it to match with their competitor, and waited for the sales to roll in.

More burger for the same money? What could possibly go wrong?

The promotion flopped, so A&W brought in a market research company to help them figure out where they had gone wrong. After conducting a focus group, the research firm concluded that people thought a third of a pound was LESS than a quarter of a pound (an indictment of the education system if ever there was one) and figured it was a worse deal.

Without the market research, the blame may have been placed on the marketing team or the quality of the food. If only they’d done the research before the campaign instead of after.

But that might not have worked either.

Coca-Cola did extensive research to prove that people preferred the taste of New Coke to the original product, but that didn’t stop the new product from bombing once it launched. Market research failed to uncover the emotional connection people had with the original Coke drink and brand design.

Does that mean market research is useless? Not at all. But it must be thorough and, most importantly, it needs to ask the right questions.

The Internet has made research possible on a scale that neither A&W or Coca-Cola had access to when they experienced their failed campaigns, but we believe we’re still only scratching the surface of what’s possible.

Web3 is going to open up market research possibilities that will eclipse anything that has come before it. Brands will be able to…

  • Research the popularity of their name and products, virtually in real-time.
  • Separate the results by geographic area.
  • Measure people’s emotional connection with their products.

But to understand how Web3 is going to accomplish this, we first need to understand the difference between brand recognition and brand popularity.

Would you rather be recognised or popular?

The Q Score, developed in the 1960s, is a formula designed to measure the familiarity and popularity of a brand, whether that be a product, a company or even a person. A “score” is created by surveying people about their recognition and feeling towards a product or person.

A high score indicates that a brand is well-known and popular. A low score indicates that the brand is either obscure, unpopular or a combination of the two.

For example, Will Smith has consistently held one of the highest positive celebrity Q ratings. However, after he assaulted Chris Rock at the Oscars, his Q score plummeted, suggesting that this event did indeed hurt his popularity.

This distinction between recognition and popularity is more important than ever because we live in an age in which success is measured by social media followers. Too often brands reach out for broad recognition without giving enough thought to how they are perceived by their growing audience.

This is a critical distinction for businesses who either want to develop their brand positively, or partner with another.

For instance, Khloé Kardashian, Kourtney Kardashian and Kendall Jenner have almost 750 million Instagram followers between them, and yet they have 3 out of 4 of the most negative Q scores among women (Amber Heard has the dubious privilege of being number one). Attaching them to your brand will most certainly garner attention, but that won’t necessarily translate into sales or a more positive view of your product.

On the flip-side, a brand could have fairly low recognition across the demographic spectrum, but have a feverishly enthusiastic fan base among those that know and love it. This is how cult TV shows can thrive even if audience numbers remain comparatively low.

And from small acorns, mighty oaks can grow.

The movie, The Shawshank Redemption, famously earned just $16 million at the box office (from a budget of $25 million), but those who did see it, loved it. Via word of mouth recommendations, and perhaps some help from a string of Oscar nominations, (although depressingly it lost the Best Picture Oscar to Forest Gump) it gained a second life on VHS, and eventually grossed in excess of $70 million.

In other words, recognition and popularity don’t always grown in perfect alignment.

Web3 goes where other market research can’t

The internet gives brands the ability to figure out how well-known they are, but popularity (or notoriety) is little harder to measure.

But Web3 can accomplish both while simultaneously providing insights into how people feel about a brand, that go way beyond simple likes and dislikes. It can observe and record emotions such as anger, amusement, love, optimism, even surprise.

For example, the Exorde Index, through a network of crawlers and validators, can gather huge quantities of social media activity around a single brand in a matter of hours all over the Web. Natural Language Processing software can then rapidly assess the data and determine the emotions connected with the content.

The process can also be carried out in specific geographic regions so any significant differences can be observed.

Can you start to see the power this offers to brands who want to perform market research on their company or product?

If A&W had been able to run an Exorde Index campaign they might have seen emotions coming through on social media (if such a thing had existed back then) such as anger, annoyance, disapproval and confusion.

Coca-Cola might have seen reactions to New Coke such as annoyance, sadness, and disappointment.

Columbia Pictures might have seen reactions to The Shawshank Redemption over the opening weekend such as approval, joy, admiration and love.

And if the Kardashians were to run an Exorde Index campaign then… well, who knows.

The point is that Web3 is going to change the speed and precision with which market research on the Internet is carried out.

This doesn’t mean there won’t be room for services such as the Q Score. Sometimes focus groups and surveys are the right tool for learning the views of certain demographics.

But in terms of speed, accuracy, detail and affordability, Web3 is going to change market research forever.

If you have questions about the Exorde Index or the underlying protocol, please feel free to contact us or visit our Discord:

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