Market research is playing an increasingly important role in corporate identity programmes. Such programmes call for action-oriented research to guide specific decisions on current and desired image, in monitoring the marketing environment, and in testing corporate identity executions such as names, logos and advertisements. On the one hand, market information is an essential planning tool; on the other, there are many pitfalls in establishing an efficient and effective market research function. This paper examines some of the perceived barriers to more effective use of research in decision making. The application of research to a specific strategic area building a corporate identity program is then explored. The recent case studies of British Petroleum and Digital are assessed in some depth. Lessons are extracted from these examples for designing effective research programs and some general rules suggested for management of the research/marketing interface.