If a brand manager could only focus on ten measures of brand vitality, these are the measures that I recommend:
1. Top-of-mind unaided awareness – Without this nothing else matters. Research shows that the primary impact of any marketing communication is to increase awareness. Brand awareness is highly correlated with brand favorability and quality perceptions.
2. Relevant differentiation – This is a key indicator of brand health. The primary purpose of a brand is to create relevant differentiation, leading to strong preference among competitive alternatives, at least among the most important target markets. Brands that are perceived to be strongly differentiated tend to grow in share and command price premiums over time.
3. Perceived value – Value has a numerator and a denominator. That is, there are a bundle of benefits delivered for a certain price. That ratio of benefits to price should deliver a good or superior value as perceived by the target customer.
4. Perceived accessibility – People should perceive the brand to be easy to find, purchase and use. This is especially important for consumer products, retail dependent brands and other brands highly dependent upon distribution. While the number and location of distribution points is important to this measure, so are hours of operation, payment methods accepted and other factors that contribute to the overall ease of purchase. That is why we measure this as the overall perceived ease of purchase and usage.
5. Emotional connection – Do people connect with your brand on an emotional level? If so, this is an indicator of high potential for loyalty and referrals.
6. Loyalty – The lifetime value of loyal customers is often not fully appreciated. The rule of thumb is that it is 7 to 10 times more costly to gain a new customer than to keep an existing one. The primary measures of this are:
a. Actual loyalty as measured by ‘share of requirements’ or ‘share of purchases’ and the following attitudinal measures:
b. Willingness to recommend the brand to a friend,
c. Repurchase intent (willingness to repurchase the brand considering all of the experiences the customer has had with the brand), and
d. Switching propensity given different competitive price discount scenarios or brand out-of-stock situations.
7. Market share – The brand’s share of market for its targeted market segments.
8. Price premium – The average price premium the brand commands over other brands in its product categories. This can be based upon the actual price premium achieved or customer research that measures the hypothetical premium that the brand could achieve (if it is not charging a significant premium).
9. Brand as a badge – Brands that serve as self-expressive badges for their customers tend to be very successful. If the brand is perceived to say something important about its customers or if it is perceived to stand for something important to them, then the brand’s customers usually have very high emotional connection and loyalty to the brand.
10. Brand associations/personality attributes – While the relative importance of different associations/attributes vary by product category, the following tend to be important across most product categories – trustworthy, admirable, leader, friendly, reliable, responsive, innovative, customer-focused.
If your brand is delivering well against these ten measures, it is certain to be one of your organization’s most valuable and leveragable assets.
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Branding Strategy Insider is a service of The Blake Project: A strategic brand consultancy specializing in Brand Research, Brand Strategy, Brand Licensing and Brand Education