A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of riding on the beautiful Carol Anne’s Carousel in Cincinnati’s Smale Riverfront Park. It’s not the typical carousel ride on the standard fancy, painted horses; rather, it’s a surprising mix of unexpected characters. The research behind choosing the unique characters on this carousel is a solid example of letting customers have a voice.
Artworks, a non-profit organization that employs and trains local youth to create impactful community art, helped the Cincinnati Parks design team gather information from the community. The outreach initiative included gathering input about the choice of figures and decorative panels. The research included design sessions, an online survey and questionnaires. Area schools and the general public were invited to participate.
The outcome is a carousel with figures (pigs, tiger, horse, bearcat, elephants, cicada, passenger pigeon, lightning bug, and others) that represent what the customers connected with rather than the Cincinnati Park Board making decisions sitting around a conference table.
Getting input from your key audience—clients, students or alumni—makes them feel more connected to your brand because they have a stake in the game. For professional services and higher education organizations, research helps you:
- Deviate from the norm and make your brand more unique
- Uncover opportunities to do more business with your target audience
- Discover the true perception of your brand
Don’t go around in circles making brand assumptions without input from your key audience. Use research for a more effective path to get from point A to point B.