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Circle Research is the B2B market research company.

Circle was founded in 2006 as an alternative to traditional research agencies who are consumer focussed and deliver bland, uninspiring, academic outcomes. Our mission is to uncover hidden truths about your target market and help translate these into marketing and commercial success.

Based in London, we work globally with ambitious B2B firms, including half of the Top 10 B2B Superbrands. In 2016, we won the Market Research Society’s Best Agency Award and we're a finalist again in 2017.

Accountancy, Agriculture, Automotive, Catering/Hospitality, Chemicals, Computers – hardware, Computers – software, Education/Training, Electrical Goods, Energy, Engineering, Environmental, Events/Conferences, Finance/Investment – Business, Food, Government/Local Authority, Healthcare, Industrial, Information Technology, Insurance, Internet/New Media, Legal, Media (Broadcast), Media (Mobile), Media (Print), Office Equipment, Online, Property/Construction/Housing, Public Services/Utilities, Telecommunications, Transportation, Travel/Tourism, Wellness/Fitness
Advanced Statistical Techniques, Benchmark Studies, CATI, Co-creation, Consultancy, Continuous, Copy Testing, Creative development research, Depth Interviews, Desk Research, Diary Studies, Ethnography, Executive/Industrial Interviews, Eye Tracking, Face-to-Face, Foreign Languages, Group Discussions/Focus Groups, Internet Research/CAWI, Mobile Web Surveys, Multivariate Stats and Modelling, Online Communities, Online Surveys, Qualitative, Quantitative, Telephone Interviewing, Tracking
Advertising, Brand/Branding, Business-to-Business, Communications/PR, Competitive Intelligence, Concept Testing, Customer Communities, Customer Loyalty, Customer Satisfaction, Employee Research, International, New Product Development, Pricing, Product Testing, Reputation Management, Usage & Attitude
Africa, Australasia, Canada, Central America, Central Asia, Central Europe, China, Eastern Europe, India/Pakistan, Japan, Northern/Western Europe, Pacific Rim, Republic of Ireland, Scandinavia, South America, UK, USA, Worldwide
Senior Contacts

Andrew Dalglish (Joint Managing Director)
Beth Pearson (Joint Managing Director)

Breakdown of Personnel

Executive/Research staff: 20
Non-research: 2
Total Number of Employees: 21 to 50


71 Hopton Street
Tel: +44 (0)20 7960 3802
Fax: +44 (0)20 7928 6052
Establishment date: 2006

B2B Branding Research - A White Paper
This is the executive summary of the full article. To read the full version please click here.
Defining a Brand
A brand is a perception held in an individual’s mind and created by the sum of their experience. It concerns their view, whether conscious or unconscious, about:
  • What you do and how you do it
  • What you stand for as a company
  • What makes you different from others in your space
  • The functional and emotional benefits to be derived from working with you
Benefits of a strong brand in B2B
As a brand is a perception you have no choice whether you have one or not.  You can however manage it. There are six benefits of building a strong brand:
  • It makes you a must-have on short-lists
  • In riskier buying situations it makes you the safe choice
  • It simplifies the decision for buyers – it’s ‘shorthand’ which conveys a lot of meaning
  • It is a point of differentiation especially in commoditised markets 
  • It allows you to charge a price premium 
  • It builds preference and loyalty
Key features of a strong brand
A strong brand – we call it an Alpha Brand – has seven key features:
  • It is prominent, understood and inspires affinity
  • It is based around a single clear anchoring idea
  • It is perceived to provide a better solution
  • It appeals to the emotional as well as the rational
  • It recognises ‘one size fits all’ doesn’t work
  • It is built to have multi-dimensional appeal to all stakeholders
  • It is true to its word
Three steps to understand brand perceptions
Any strong brand is built on understanding – of how it is perceived and what the market wants. To gather this understanding, follow a three step process.
Successful brands ensure that their chosen positioning is reflective of their core essence and is something everybody’s bought into. That’s why you should start ‘inside-out’ by holding a series of workshops with colleagues to explore what your brand stands for and what they would like it to stand for. Then audit competitor brands to establish their positioning. The output of this activity will be an initial ‘brand statement’.
Stage two adopts an exploratory approach (focus groups or in-depth interviews) and various enabling techniques to gather insights into the perceptions of three key audiences: customers, prospective customers and opinion formers. This deep understanding will allow you to:
  • Position your brand in a way which is relevant, appropriate and resonates 
  • Adopt a differentiated position
  • Identify any gap between the actual and aspirational position
Stage three uses a structured, quantitative survey to establish where your brand is on its journey. It explores five key areas: prominence, functional associations, emotional associations, distinctiveness and performance. It then applies two statistical techniques – Brand Mapping and Key Driver (regression)– to identify the final brand positioning to be adopted. This stage also acts as a benchmark and provides KPI targets.
Source: Circle Research

"I would totally recommend Circle to anyone else who is looking to carry out a B2B research project. The team are brilliant and offer very clever insights, as well as being really easy to work with".  Marketing Director, JLT

"Circle are a great agency - they're B2B specialists, always deliver lots of juicy detail and deliver findings in a way that ensures I can use them immediately".  Global Insights Manager, Vodafone

"Circle came highly recommended to us in the B2B industry and I'd recommend them in turn. Their warmth, intelligence, humour and focus meant they quickly understood the essence of our business. I was delighted with the highly meaningful, tangible feedback they provided that could instantly be turned into action”.  Marketing Director, Teneo

"Circle would always be my number one choice for carrying out market research in the B2B space. They add value at every stage".  CEO, Ogilvy DNX

"Circle gave us a completely fresh perspective which led to a significant repositioning of our business. I'd urge you to use them".  CEO, Randstad Staffing

"Many agencies claim to add value, but Circle is one of a small number who actually deliver. I would certainly recommend them".  Managing Director, McCann Enterprise

"An outstanding job. Circle demonstrated real clarity in strategic thinking, providing focussed and extremely useful insights".  Investment Director, FTSE

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