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I am looking for input on how to go about identifying and articulating the brand essence, soul, persona of an existing website brand. Let me explain.
Our little B2C ecommerce website has been in existence for 18 months now and has been fairly successful. We know, however, that we have many opportunities to improve the user interface of the site, and will embark on a re-design soon. Before we engage a design firm, we in the marketing team want to make sure that we are very, very clear on what we are trying to communicate and to whom.
We know our target audience well. We have done extensive research outlining the demographic profiles of 3 key audience segments, e.g., our top target is male 25-44, urban/suburban, married with kids, working full-time, value-driven, Internet veteran, etc, etc.
We know what our main brand benefit is right now, which is largely focused on price. (As we do not want to compete on price alone longer term, we know we need to find new angles to highlight our differentiating attributes. One question is which ones are relevant to the target audience above. But I digress…)
Most importantly, we are trying to gauge what should be our brand persona – what is it that we should be trying to communicate on the new look & feel of the website: friendly? professional? laid-back? authoritative? energetic?
I know that to get to the answer to most of that we could do a series of focus groups with current users and prospects. The problem is that we have no budget to orchestrate all of that. So…the real question is:
Any ideas on how to go about finding out these core brand attributes we have/should have WITHOUT spending tens of thousands of dollars in market research? (Don’t get me wrong, I do want to do the research, just can’t spend much (if anything) doing it, most unfortunately). We are ready, willing and able to roll up our sleeves, so any suggestions are appreciated.