Paul Holmes 22 May 2001 // 11:00PM GMT
Applied Communications Research (CR) provides in-depth measurement and analysis of markets and communications programs by harnessing advanced database technology to identify and create competitive advantage. Using proprietary research technologies, CR measures public discussion of companies, products, technologies and brand attributes to identify media opportunities. The goal of research is to identify the most effective strategies for owning a market category through media coverage. In rapidly changing markets, our research focuses branding, positioning and messaging efforts and provides a focal point to build consensus on program direction.
At the onset of our work with Luminous Networks, the company was the first vendor to offer its carrier-class equipment for deploying Metropolitan Area Network. A key competitive differentiator for Luminous was Gigabit Ethernet architecture, which is designed to maximize high-speed transmission of voice, data and video. Though several competitors claim similar positioning, Luminous is the first company to offer a complete system and was entering the market replete with beta stage customers and products.
Luminous had a head start on most companies in its space and had begun to build its brand, all the while securing a significant customer base as it shipped products for testing. Applied Communications was tasked to assist Luminous in positioning and raising its market visibility. Specifically, Applied sought to establish leadership positioning for Luminous by challenging its competition, positioning Luminous based on superior technology, owning public discussions on Gigabit Ethernet architecture, and identifying and promoting key market differentiators. The challenge was for Luminous in entering an emerging space: Applied and Luminous' senior management identified more than 150 terms and attributes being used by the market to describe their technology and brand differentiators.
In order to build an effective messaging platform, Applied designed and conducted a comprehensive media analysis study to assess the media’s current understanding of Luminous, its markets and competition. The purpose of the study was to identify current media discussions, provide considerations for competitive message platforms and create support for key company attributes in the MAN market.
Applied Communications conducted a series of executive interviews, a review of collateral material and preliminary analysis of relevant market coverage and media discussions. The purpose was to define the full parameters of the market in which Luminous competes. Applied then structured market data in a proprietary research database designed to meet the following objectives:
· Determine the share of coverage among competitors
· Determine trends in competitive coverage volume
· Identify subjects driving coverage
· Test discussion levels and topics
· Assess competitive messaging and positioning
· Measure competitive brand positioning
· Identify the media outlets which are covering this topic
Applied utilized a QuickStart study methodology whereby data were culled from Applied’s database of over 6,500 English-language and English-translated publications. Advanced database queries were structured to retrieve the most relevant results possible based on the competitive information outlined in this proposal. Four specific sub-studies were included in the Luminous QuickStart research program.
The Luminous MediaShareÔ is a quantitative media benchmarking and tracking study that analyzed all relevant coverage in the market. Using an index score, the study demonstrated the media performance of Luminous’ key competitors in relation to one another. MediaShareÔ helped identify top-tier competitors, providing both a hard target and a measurement system to track branding efforts.
A Discussion Driver study analyzed the subjects, ideas and trends that were driving media coverage in Luminous’ market. This study demonstrated which subjects were driving coverage and which were likely to drive coverage in the future. Moreover it provided an accurate profile of the market, demonstrating which technologies have positive momentum and which are outdated or lack relevance in the market.
The Brand Association study analyzed coverage of specific products, features, attributes and subjects and how strongly each was associated with companies in Lumious’ competitive set. The study identified which company owned a technology discussion and how much of the pie was owned by each competitor.
Finally a Media Targeting Analyses provided a volume ranking of online and print media covering the market. This study demonstrated which publications most frequently cover Luminous’ competitors and assisted in the creation of a focused media targeting list.
All of these individual components were then compiled and analyzed as a whole. Key findings for each metric summarized strategic opportunities for the Applied account team. A research report was compiled and submitted to the account team and client for review.
EVALUATION OF PROGRAM SUCCESS
The resulting report that the CR team produced generated a media plan and strategy that enabled Luminous to accomplish the following:
Identify and rank key differentiators
Build a message platform
Solidify brand positioning
Identify strategies to incorporate Luminous into media discussion, coverage opportunities
Build internal consensus for both public relations and branding strategies