Instant Online Brand Research

Here’s something kind of cool. A short post about a nice little web-site that was programmed by one person, but which leverages the power of the connected web (Web 2.0) pretty nicely. A few people have sent me the link already to Brand Tags.

Here’s the story on it from the Wall Street Journal’s blog. As the story says, a blogger strategist at Naked Communication, Noah Brier, created this web-site, Brand Tags, as an exercise in programming. The site that has a simple premise. It shows visitors brand logos and then asks them to type in the first word or phrase that popped into their head upon seeing the logo. The results are presented graphically, as a tag cloud where the most common answers are shown biggest.

The results are interesting, not only for the meanings they reveal, but for the diversity they show. Although the Wall Street Journal entry journalistically emphasizes the negative side, mentioning the association of “fat” with Burger King, “boring with Toyota, and “evil” with Wal-Mart.

But I checked out Coca-Cola. Whoah. Coca-Cola covers the alphabetical spectrum, from acid, Atlanta, American, brown, bubbles, classic, capitalist, crap, to evil, global, good, high fructose, monopoly, original, Pepsi, red, refreshing, Santa, soda, tasty, unhealthy, worldwide, yummy, yuck, and zero. What a vast, contradictory array of findings. What an amazing sample. I suspect that the same person might have different responses to the logo at different times, across different experiences. As I’ve written about with Stephen Brown and John Sherry, brands have this amazing inner contradiction, this “schismatic core” (to borrow Alex Shakar’s phrase), this polarity that powers them and keeps them vital.

Take a look at brand tags and relish its amazing diversity.

As consumer researchers, how might we use this tool? How might we build similar tools? What suggestions would you have for how the site might be extended or improved?

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