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Data Collection Methods

By: Yogin Vora on August 17, 2009 6 Comments




Desk Research or Secondary Data

“Secondary data consists of information that already exists somewhere, having been collected for another purpose”. (Kotler & Armstrong). In other words, secondary data are those which have been collected by someone else and which have already been passed through statistical process

There are two sources of this data:


Internal sources – this is data which is available within the company, although companies do not make full enough use of the information that is routinely collected


External sources – this is data which has been published for commercial reasons. A key source of secondary data is the library service and most good libraries have a wide range of sources. Some government data is available free, other secondary data can be very expensive.


It is important in a research project to know what data is available since this will guide the structure and format of the fieldwork in the primary data collection stage. It is possible that secondary data sources can provide the complete answer to the problem under scrutiny. The least it will do is save time and money in directing the scope of the field work. It can also influence the choice of data collection methods used in the field work.

Example of Internal Sources of Secondary Data

Internal sources of data are found within the organization. Most organizations have masses of data which should be well handled and organized. Sales figures, past and present, broken down by product, product range or brand

? Sales figures broken down by market segment to observe trends in the market

? The relationship between sales figures and the cost of sales force expenditure, and promotional activities, including packaging.

? Information about competitors, their products and the segments they serve. The data should be so comprehensive that it should be possible to predict how they will respond to changes in your company strategy.


Many organisations employ sales personnel who have direct access to the customer, and are sources of both formal and informal information. Both types must be recorded weekly and submitted appropriately. Sales people work in a variety of situations, in business to business markets, in offices taking orders over the telephone, in over-the-counter sales or by visiting customers at their premises. They have access too much information about customers, and their needs, and to what is happening in the market overall. Attendance at conferences, exhibitions and meetings also gives opportunities to observe competitor personnel, and their behaviour. The customer service or complaints section in an organisation is also important, and many ideas for product modifications have arisen here.

Examples of External Sources of Secondary Data

In addition to your university library there are some key libraries which can provide substantial and specific sources of information.

City libraries such as Manchester or Birmingham are excellent sources. There are many more.

London libraries include Statistics and Market Intelligence Library

? Science Reference Library

? City Business Library

The leading Business Schools’ libraries such as:

? London Business School

? Manchester Business School

General Business Information Guide

? Business Information Year Book

Country Information

? Europe World Year Book

Trade and Organization Information

? Directory of British Associations

Statistical Sources (government publications)

? Guide to Official Statistics (HMSO)

? Regional Statistics (HMSO)

Other sources of official information include:

? Annual Abstract of Statistics (population, manufactured goods, etc.)

? Monthly Digest of Statistics (monthly, but similar to above)

National Press

? The Financial Times : The Times

Primary Data

Kotler and Armstrong say that “primary data consists of information collected for the specific purpose at hand”. In other words, primary data are those, which are collected afresh and for first time and thus happen to be original in character.


Once the desk research is complete the researcher will have a much clearer idea of:

? The up-to-date and relevant data

? What data still needs to be collected to find a solution to the problem under scrutiny.


To achieve the data and information the research teams need to answer certain questions:

? What is it necessary to know?

? Who will have the information which is sought?

? What is the best method (quick and efficient) to use to collect this data?


It is important to streamline the answers to these questions to avoid collecting a mass of irrelevant data by inappropriate or inefficient methods.


Types of primary data

The two types of data are:

? Quantitative Data

? Qualitative Data

Quantitative Data

As the term implies this is data which is expressed in numbers. Quantitative data is quite easy to collect, and a large amount of reliable and valid data can be collected largely by questionnaire in quite a short period of time. It is a fairly formal approach. This data arises from what is termed “closed questions” because the respondent is restricted in the choice of answer the respondent can give.


E.g. Do you prefer to do your shopping in town centers or a purpose built shopping complex at the edge of town?

(a) Town Centre [ ]

(b) Shopping complex [ ]

(c) Both [ ]


E.g. Do you live in this town? YES [ ] NO [ ]


Qualitative data

Qualitative data is obtained from group discussions or in-depth interviews and its findings are based on content rather than numeric analysis. Qualitative data is said to be much more subjective than its counterpart. Questions are open-ended and can lead to a free ranging and in-depth discussion on a specific point which provides a variety of rich data. There are no numbers or digits in this data and it is not subject to statistical interpretation.

E.g. what further facilities would you like to see in the leisure centre and why?




Observation becomes a scientific tool and the method of data collection for the researcher when it serves a formulated research purpose is systematically planned and recorded and is subjected to checks and controls on validity and reliability.

Under the observation method the information is sought by way of investigators own direct observation without asking from respondent


In a study relating to consumer behaviour the investigator instead of asking the brand of wristwatch used by the respondent may himself look for the watch.


1. The method eliminates subjective bias

2. The information obtained under this method relates to what is current happening it is not complicated either by past behaviour or future intentions and attitudes.

3. This method is independent of respondent willingness to respondents as such is relatively less demanded of active co-operation on the part of the respondents as happens to be the case in interview or the questionnaire method.

4. This method is particularly suitable in studies, which deal with subjects who are not capable giving verbal reports of their feeling for one reason or the other.



1. Its s an expensive method

2. The information provided by this method is very limited.

3. Sometimes unforeseen factors may interfere with the observational task.

4. The fact that some people are rarely accessible to direct observation creates obstacle for this method to collect data effectively.



Surveys are concerned with describing, recording, analyzing and interpreting conditions that exist or existed. The researcher does not manipulate the variable or arrange for events to happen Surveys are only concerned with conditions or relationships that exist, opinions that are held, processes that are going on, effects that are evident or trends that are developing. They are primarily concerned with present but at times do consider past events and influences as they relate to current conditions.


1. Survey type researches usually have larger samples because percentages of responses generally happen to be low, as low as 20 to 30%, especially in mailed questionnaire studies. Thus, the survey method gathers data relatively from the large number of cases at a peculiar time; it is essentially cross-sectional.



2. Surveys are conducted in case of descriptive research studies, usually appropriate in case of social and behavioral sciences because many type of behavior that interest researcher cannot be arranged in realistic setting.


3. Surveys are example of field research and are concerned with hypothesis formulation and testing analysis of the relationship between non-manipulated variables.


4. Surveys may either be census or sample surveys. They may also be classified as social surveys, economic surveys, and public opinion surveys. Whatever be their type, the method of data collection happens to be either observation or interview or questionnaire or opinionnaire or some projective technique. Case method may as well be used.


5. In case of surveys, research design must be rigid, must make economical provision for protection against bias and must maximize reliability, the aim happens to be to obtain complete and accurate information.


6. Possible relationships between the data and the unknowns in the universe can be studied through surveys.

Structured Vs Unstructured Data Collection

The data collection through questionnaires can be done through four ways as follows;

? Structured disguised

? Structured – nondisguised

? Non-structured – disguised

? Non structured – nondisguised


Note: Non disguised data collection is also called as direct method & disguised is also called as indirect method.

Structured data collection

A structured data collection is a formal list of questions framed so as to get the facts. The interviewer asks the questions strictly in accordance with pre- arranged order. For e.g. this method can be used when the information is based on the expenditures of the consumer on different types of clothing like. Cotton woolen or synthetic, etc.

This structured questionnaire can be of two types, disguised and non- disguised, based on whether the object or the purpose of the survey is revealed to the respondent.

The main advantage of this method is that, the information can be collected in a systematic and orderly manner.

However when it comes to personal questions, this method seems to be less effective.

? Structured disguised: – In this case the researcher does not disclose the object of the interview, because he feels that by revealing that the very purpose of the interview will get defeated.


? Structured – nondisguised: – In this case the everything is pre- arranged and the researcher reveals the objective of the survey to the respondent. This is the most widely followed approach in market research. This is because it is generally felt that the respondent should be taken into confidence, so that he can realize the relevance and give desired information.


Non-structured data collection

It is a kind of data collection method where the data to be collected is not pre- arranged or not listed in a proper structured format. Therefore the entire responsibility is left on the researcher to ask the respondent, in the way he feels fit. The researcher only has certain main points on which he develops the questions to be asked. Such a method is devoid of rigidity and the researcher has sufficient amount of freedom to collect the data in the order he wants. Again here there are two main types of non-structured methods of data collection.

? Non structured disguised: – again here the objective of interview is not described to the respondent

? Non structured – non-disguised: – like in case of structured non- disguised, the respondent is taken into confidence by revealing the purpose of the survey.

Survey Method of Data Collection




Structured /disguised

The respondent is asked a structured set of questions in a preconceived format. However he is not made aware of the purpose of the survey. Such methods are useful in obtaining psychographic profiles, wherein, similar responses from a set of respondents would club them under a specific lifestyle segment.


1) Since respondents are not aware of the objectives of the research, they do not give biased opinions.


2) The interviewer’s bias is reduced on account of the structured nature of the questionnaire.



1) The respondents may show disinterest as he does not know the purpose of the survey.


2) It cannot be compared with other similar studies which are structured but non-disguised i.e. it would be difficult to check the reliability and validity of the results.


Herein, the respondent is again not aware of the purpose of the survey. At the same time, the questions posed to him do not follow an already throughout sequence. Projective techniques are available to get the innermost motivations, fears and aspirations of the respondent. The data lends itself to a more qualitative analysis.


For e.g. in the case study discussed in the adjoining column respondents were also asked to complete the following sentence in the latter part of the questionnaire.



1) It is very interesting to the respondents who might participate willingly.


2) It is less time consuming & costly to collect the data as well as to analyze it since the number crunching involved is not there.


3) It is very useful to bring out the inner motivations and aspirations of the respondents.



1) The respondents might not take the entire data collection effort very seriously; rather treat it as a game.


2) The qualitative research is totally dependent on the interpretations made by the researcher. It does not have any numerical analysis to support.


Structured/ Non-disguised.

Herein, the purpose of the survey as well as nature of the questions is made known to the respondents. The interviewer has little room for his own interpretations, as the questionnaire is fairly structured one to lend itself to statistical analysis. Most of the descriptive studies using the statistical survey method would fall under this category.

For e.g. based on the exploratory survey in the form of secondary data analysis, in-depth interviews and focus group interviews and focus group interviews, in the case of fresh orange juice, the data collection method most suited was the structured non-disguised type.


Non-structured/ Non- disguised.

The purpose of the survey is made known to the respondents and there is no rigidity in the questioning process. It is similar to the in-depth interviews and group interviews, which were discussed earlier. The flexibility in the questioning process allows attitudes and opinions to surface very freely and allows the respondents to speak deeply about the subject matter.

Opinions of the industry experts on how the industry would fare or economists on the direction of the growth of the economy or various financial institutions like IDBI, ICICI, or UTI etc., expressing their views on how the stock markets would be performing, are all illustrations of non-structured data collection methods. This method is gaining a lot of importance these days with a number these days with a number of experts being available on a variety of topics. Opinions of them would be crucial to consider before arriving at decisions


Observation Method of Data Collection



Structured / Disguised


In this case, the observers are told to record the actions of the respondents on a structured form but the respondents are not made aware that they are being observed. It is a structured, disguised study.


For e.g. observers may pose as customers to observe the sales made by salesman over counters in departmental stores selling a variety of brands of jeans, shirts, etc. in order to observe any type of brand push or persuasion by the sales person.


As a variation, he may position himself in the shop with permission by the management and observe the sales person interact with customers.




1) The actual behavior of the person of interest is recorded (i.e. either salesman or customer); so chances of predisposition bias are low.


2) A natural setting is provided. For e.g. the arrangement of display options might be observed which one attracts the customer the most.




1) It is not very ethical to observe peoples reactions by keeping them in the dark. It might be construed as spying.


2) The data recorded is totally dependent on the observer and his skills.


Non-Structured / Disguised

In this case, the observers are left free to observe the actions and responses of the respondents by using their own discretion to decide what may be of relevance and what not. This makes the exercise non-structured.

For e.g., social research observers may not be fully aware of what action options, could occur at the point of observations, so that flexibility of recording is necessary. Also, at times, reports on competitive activity on more than one parameter are required, all of which might be difficult to spell out in detail.



1) The observer is not restricted and is free to observe the happenings in detail.


2) The actual behavior of the respondent is recorded with no predisposition bias.


3) It is very time-consuming and expensive. The purpose of research is lost if it takes too long.




1) The observer may miss out important activities and record less relevant ones.


2) Observer bias is very high.


Structured / Non-disguised


The respondent is aware that he is being observed and the observer too is instructed to make the records, as per a predetermined structure.

The situation is similar to that in the experiments, which had been described where, control groups do not exist. The settings for such studies are usually not the natural atmosphere but a laboratory/ artificial setting. Use of mechanical/electronic devices like pupillometers/laser scanners in super markets/channel switch recorders to observe consumer behavior is being increasingly made in a structured manner with the respondent fully aware of the same.

For e.g. if the respondent is questioned about the choice/preferences of brand before he enters a shop and the actual brand purchased by him afterwards to gauge whether he has been influenced by the salesman, it is a structured non-disguised observation.



1) The ethical issue of not informing the respondent is taken care of.


2) The structure in the study makes it less prone to manipulation and the data collected more reliable and valid.



1) The respondent is predisposed and so a bias creeps in to actions.


2) The interaction between the respondent and the observer may influence the actions.


Non-structured / Non-disguised


The respondent is aware that he is being observed and the observer is free to make his observations, without using any preconceived format.

In many social research conditions involving rural areas, the observer might have to explain the rural folk the reasons why he is there and conceive them how the study will be useful to them. It may be required on the part of the researcher, to stay with the respondents to make any meaningful observations. Situations at orphanages, mental asylums, old-age homes or even public hospitals would benefit from such approach.

For e.g. if the issue of providing and using clean drinking water is to be studied at the village level, actual observation of collection and usage has to be made in each of the homes or else, they may report wrong actions.



1) The method offers a high degree of flexibility to the observer and also takes care of the ethical issues.



2) Delicate social issues like child labor use of drugs, women welfare, use of hygienic food, water, dowry deaths are suited to such treatment.



1) It is very expensive and time-consuming and lends itself to qualitative analysis only.


2) The analysis is totally dependent on the observer’s skills and interpretations. The time taken and the unstructured nature of the survey may frustrate the observer.

Communication methods of data collection


Mail method



? May be only method

? Not subject to interviewer bias

? Respondents work at their own pace

? Assures anonymity of respondent

? Wide distribution possible

? Best for personal, sensitive questions

? Generally least expensive



? Very little control

? Long response time

? Cannot explain ambiguous questions

? Difficult to change sequence of questions

? Sequence bias; respondents can view entire questionnaire





Telephone Method



? Comparatively low cost

? Wide distribution possible

? Interviewer supervision is strong

? Quickest methods of data collection

? Allows easy use of computer support

? Sequence of questions is easily changed




? Interviewer bias

? Difficult to establish representative sampling frame due to unlisted numbers


In-Home Personal Interview




? Probably highest response rate

? Allows use of any type of question / questionnaire

? Sequencing of questions is easily changed

? Allows probing of open-ended questions

? Allows clarification of ambiguous questions

? Interviewer supervision and control




? Generally most expensive

? Costly to revisit “not-at-homes”

? Relatively slow

? Interviewer bias






? Very fast turnaround

? Very inexpensive

? Fairly versatile

? Survey responses automatically entered into a data file

? International sample possible




? Sample is still not “representative” of general consumer markets

? Respondents may have concerns with privacy

? Response rates are dropping as novelty declines



A leading computer company in India, ranking among the top five computer companies, is planning to launch the micro-computer range of a reputed computer company of the USA in India. Here exists fierce competition in the computer market, forcing companies to look at alternative operational or marketing options that they can use, in order to sustain and increase their market growth rate as well as market share. In this context, the company was interested in using Direct Marketing as a viable alternative, for marketing products more effectively and at a minimum expenditure.


The Problem

The decision problem faced by the company was thus to take a decision regarding the function of the salesman in the selling process. The real research problem faced by the company would be to test out the following hypotheses:

? The purchaser has some perceptions regarding the various Micro-computer vendors,


? There exist some attributes that influence the purchaser’s decision;


? The salesman performs some objectives in the above process,


? The purchasers will accept the concept of Direct Marketing.


The information needed would be on the following variables:

? Attitude toward the new technology


? Level of satisfaction with the service and support of the existing micro-computer vendors,

? Attributes influencing purchase decision;


? Objections in meeting the salesman;


? Impact of direct marketing on purchase behavior;


? Attitude toward direct marketing.


This information would have to be collected from EDP heads of different target segments like the Government, Public Sector Undertakings or Private Organizations, etc.

Question & Answer


What is the research design that the company needs to use?

1. There are three types of research designs:

1. Exploratory research.

2. Descriptive research.

3. And causal research.


The research design that we have selected is descriptive research design. Now the exploratory research design focuses on the discovery of ideas and is generally based on the secondary data. This type of research is best suited for us because the company wants to know the information which is as follows:

1. Attitude towards the new technology.


2. Level of satisfaction with the service and support of existing micro-computer vendors.


3. Attributes influencing purchase decision.


4. Objections in meeting the salesman.


5. Impact of direct marketing on the purchase behavior.


6. Attitude towards direct marketing.




Q.2 Describe the method of data collection and mode of communication to be used for the proposed survey. Assume no cost constraints, but a time constraint of four weeks to arrive at the result of the research


There are two methods of data collection

? Survey method (Questionnaire method).

? Observation method.


Survey method (questionnaire method): respondent is questioned directly about his attitudes, opinions, demographics, etc.


Observation method: respondent is simply observed and his actions are recorded either by physically watching him or through certain mechanical or electronic device. In the case above it is quite obvious that we have to use the survey method and in survey method we have to use the structured /disguised method. In this method the respondent is asked a set of structured of set questions in a preconceived format. However he is not made aware of the purpose of the survey.


Then the mode of communication used would be telephonic survey because the number of respondents contacted is fairly large and the time to contact them is less. The cost involved in this method is moderately high as skilled telephone operators need to be employed and also there may be a need to call the respondents more than once but cost is not a constraint for us we are concerned with the accuracy and timely availability of the required data.



Growth is the oxygen that all companies need to survive and flourish. Sustainable growth requires the continuous delighting of existing consumers and the widening of this consumer base over time. The rules of the game are clear. Winners succeed by developing powerful insights based on a deep understanding of what consumers seek, creating products and services to meet these needs in unique, distinctive ways, and ensuring access by making these products available and affordable. In recent years, however, there have been three changes in the rule of the game:


? Access to capital is far easier than it was a few decades ago. Capacities are, therefore easy to put up, and, in many cases, already available and can be hired very quickly.


? Segmenting media is far easier today than it was a few years ago, given the explosion of regional and local television options. This has lowered entry barriers, and has resulted in a relatively higher quality of access to smaller regional markets when compared to what it was in the past.


? Finally, in what is perhaps the most far ranging change that is taking place, there is a huge battle for the consumer’s share of wallet. As a matter of fact, the share of wallet of FMCG and basic products has actually declined by almost 2 per cent in the last two to three years.




The fight for the share of wallet is driven by some key changes in consumer attitudes that have taken place in the recent past. First, there is a huge change in the attitudes towards debt. Where debt was seen as anathema amongst Indian families not too long ago, debt today is a perfectly legitimate and easy way to create assets and aspire for a better lifestyle. This changing attitude has seen the emergence of a number of very easy credit financing options. The second key shift in attitudes has been rising aspirations and changing attitudes to recreation, entertainment and lifestyle expenditure. As a consequence, today, a basic product like soap or a detergent competes with a credit card, cell phone or digital camera. It is, after all, bought with the same rupee.


Compounding this reality is an explosion of choices of products that have such seemingly subtle differences between one and the other that they are often not even perceptible to consumers. These imperceptible differences accentuate the tyranny of sameness that number of brands and categories have fallen prey to. This tyranny of sameness has led, in many categories to a vicious spiral of consumer down-trading, price based competition, value destruction, erosion in profit margins and the consequent death of brands.


So, what makes for winners today? How do brands break out of this vicious spiral? The answer, ironically, must lie in much stronger, much more powerful iconic branding. While this does sound simplistic, the difference between winners and loser is really in the way they bring brands to the market place, in the way their brands engage consumer unexpectedly, delightfully and with deep relevance.

The commonly-used examples of iconic branding are brands like Nike, Coca-Cola, Levis, Star buck and so on. What sticks out about these examples is the fact that in these cases, branding lias been dune very successfully through lifestyle and badge value. Others are those that have created a truly differentiated experience—for example, StarBucks, or closer home, barista. However very few people believe that an FMCG brand, a soap or a shampoo, or for that matter a food brand can aspire to the same iconic value. I believe, passionately, that it is possible to build an FMCG brand to be as powerful as the Nikes of the world. We must remember that FMCG, products such as these are bought by the consumer for either her own use or for her immediate family. She uses these brands in the privacy of her bathroom, bedroom, kitchen or home. In addition, because of their very nature, she meets these brands very frequently and shares a very personal, often intimate moment where the use of this either gives her personal joy as she cares for herself or the joy of caring for those she loves.


These are brands that I would call “I” brands for the truly intimate relationship that they have with the consumer,

“I” for appealing to the inner self, not for badge value,

“I” for appealing to the individual in me and helping me live my life with joy,

“I” for going well beyond product attributes and benefits to what I would call inspiration.

So,how can we get to iconic branding? To me, iconic branding is about really getting three things right: The first and most important is segmentation. Now, segmentation is a much used word, but it can make the difference between winning and losing.

Segmentation must go way beyond the generic functional attributes and features if it has to be truly powerful. It must seek to understand the functional, the psychological and the emotional gratification that the consumer derives.

A very good example from our company, Hindustan Lever Limited, is Lux. This is a brand that has been marketed as ‘the soap of the stars’ for more than 50 years. Endorsed by film stars, it is a product that has always stood for glamour and luxury. A deep engagement of consumers over the last couple of years has shown that the consumers in Lux’s target segment looking for Luxurious Products that make her feel beautiful and special. A deep understanding of this desired ‘feeling of specialness’ has led to a strengthening of the Lux position in the recent past from the ‘soap the stars’ to a soap that ‘brings out the star in you’. It is a shift that recognises that each woman is special, that there is something magnetic and star-like in every woman, and that the consumer is not willing to buy into a brand whose only reason for existence is that it is endorsed by stars. It is, therefore, a very significant shift that has essentially come about due to a very deep consumer understanding that goes beyond the functional and captures the emotional and psychological facets as well. The result of this shift is a brand that connects more deeply with the consumer, and puts it in a place that is more unique and distinctive in the consumers mind when compared to many other products with similar functional attributes. In a market that has, by and large, remained stagnant, the Lux brand has grown close to double digit in the last three years.



The second principle behind iconic branding is what I call a powerful brand idea that the brand must always live and breathe. A brand must have an idea if it is to break out of the tyranny of sameness and stand for something that is big, bold inspirational. In a sea of choppy waters, the brand stand tall and be a guiding beacon of light for consumers to want to belong to, A brand idea must come from a clear understanding and articulation of the defining purpose and vision of the brand, a role that the brand seeks to play in the larger contest of consumers’ lives. The brand idea is the starting which defines the philosophy, the ethos and the culture of the brand, which must then be reflected and manifested in each and every facet of the brand doing so, the brand moves beyond being a physical tangible product, but embodies a bigger purpose, a bigger thought, which can become a source of sustainable competitive advantage.


An example within HLL where we have seen this work powerfully is Lifebuoy. For over 100 years, Lifebuoy was a tough cleaning soap with strong germicidal perfume. In the late 1990s and in the early 2000-01, the brand started losing relevance which forced us to go back to the basics and really try to understand it in a far deeper and relevant way. From this consumer engagement came the understanding that Lifebuoy was a soap that not just about germ protection, but really something bigger. It was a brand that met the basic health and hygiene needs of consumers and offered them peace of mind and emotional reassurance. This was not a brand that was in the soap bussiness—this was a brand in the peace of mind business. This lead to a powerful articulation of the brand purpose ”to make a billion Indians feel safe and secure by meeting their health and hygiene needs.”

This philosophy was reflected in every element of the product mix: the packaging with its shift from the masculine symbols of health and robustness to family health; the advertising, which moved from champions shooting football goals to a family doctor giving a simple tip to be free from hygiene problems; the perfume, which was changed from a harsh carbolic smell to a more fresh and clean smell that all family members liked. In addition, the brand invested in a large-scale rural hygiene education programme (lifebuoy Swasthya Chetana) directly contacting 70 million rural consumers as a first step to living by the guiding purpose of the brand, a result of this, in a market that has remained stagnant, Lifebuoy has grown at well over double-digit rates for three years in a row.

The third principle behind iconic branding is : engage consumers through an all-pervasive 360-degree approach. With the fragmentation of television as a medium and the enormous clutter on the screen, it is vital that brands go beyond television to engage consumers and touch them unexpected and myriad ways, in ways that bring out the idea that the brand stands for with deep relevance and meaning. It is critical that brands seek to do this in multiple ways at multiple touch points.

Fight for attention and relevance is a fight for the consumer’s share of mind. Brands must, therefore, look at ways of bringing the brand idea alive at every potential occasion where there is a role for the brand using unconventional media at events and indeed at the point of purchase. Equally, it is critical to do this with scale, to do this in a manner

Where it can make a genuine difference to the brand and its growth. For scale, it is vital to have fewer, bigger brands. One of the driving factor; behind our power brand strategy within HLL. Is to give fewer brands bigger scale so that this brand can then be truly iconic.

The key question for companies is to really answer how they can build iconic brands in a sustainable and distinctive way. How can companies stay ahead of the game and, therefore shape trends rather than follow changes and trends. Believe that the key catalyst for this transformation of brands to truly iconic brands is an empathetic and deeply connected organization that is consumer facing. I believe, it is not just the marketing department’s rule to understand consumers. It is the role of everyone in the organization to engage consumers deeply since these consumers are the very reason for an organization’s existence. I also believe that in the new world of today, deeper functional specialization even within marketing will make a huge difference in building iconic brands. Specializations, where there is a group of people who are passionately committed to driving innovation that is living and breathing the brand idea, while a separate team of people is focused on realizing and executing the idea amongst the multiple touch points where a brand interacts with its consumers. Finally, I believe that it is vital to create a culture of learning, when people within are curious about changes, curious about what can be learnt not just from within the category, but about what can be learnt from disconnected categories. A culture where people are always looking for better and newer ways of doing things. A culture where people embrace—indeed thrive on—change and learning.

Source: http://www.scribd.com/doc/13260781/Data-Collection-Methods

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