C level responsibility
Brand health – like finance, operations and vision – is ultimately the responsibility of the CEO, and savvy leaders know that continual measuring of brand health is a critical component in keeping the brand strong. Marketing groups feel pressure to generate sales today and routinely measure performance by number of impressions, clicks on digital ads, and time that customers spent reviewing websites. Measuring brand health is different – a high stakes investment in both present and future performance. Resources dedicated to advertising, social media, events and public relations are always stretched. A healthy brand means your tactical spend accomplishes more for less – an improved ROI.
Measuring Brand Health
A directional brand audit provides sufficient insight to determine if more in–depth research and branding work is necessary. Online tools allow for easily producing a quantitative view of specific markets and of broad groups of customers. These tools also provide opportunities for qualitative probing through phone and video interviews. (A word of caution – the magic of directional research is in knowing the right questions to ask.) At a minimum, the audit should focus on three areas:
- Awareness and affection – if prospects are not aware of your brand, they can’t consider it for purchase. And determining customer affection is an important asset – or liability, to understand. While quantitive questions to large audiences are helpful, the answers are at best directional. One on one interviews yield more useful insights,
- Distinctiveness – What do your customers say your brand stands for? This is a major pillar of your brand promise. Every brand, directly or indirectly, makes a promise of some reward to its customers. To reach the truth, be careful that questions are presented in such a way that you don’t give leading information. If your prospect doesn’t understand your brand promise, the brand is losing leverage at best, and at worse, risks becoming a commodity.
- Satisfaction – Does the customer believe the brand promise is being delivered? Is the customer satisfied that your brand deserves to be trusted? Your research here will yield more truth and insight when using a combination of prompted and unprompted questions. Of the three measures, customer satisfaction is the strongest determinant of brand health.
Healthy Brands find undiscovered opportunities
All brands occupy specific places in society. Companies that understand brand health have an unparalleled view of their importance in the customers personal or business universe. Trust is part of a healthy brand and today’s CEO operates in a world marked by distrust and political divisiveness – ironically, an environment that provides golden opportunities for healthy brands. In times of uncertainty and widespread suspicion, people want to be able to trust. Brands with consistent values (Affection, Distinctiveness, Satisfaction) stand out in troubled times and even serve as social stabilizers. Organizations that measure and understand the power of their brand health have the confidence to find paths to market opportunities during turbulent, as well as calm times.
Is measuring brand health a priority?
Answering these two questions will help you decide (ask not Google, or your analytics group, but yourself):
“How would our results be different if our customer felt more satisfied with the benefits claimed by our brand?
“How would our results be different if our customer trusted our brand more than they trusted our competitor’s brand?”
Directional audits are relatively quick and inexpensive and can provide important insights. To discuss the impact that a directional brand audit can have on your company, contact us. We’ll be happy to arrange a call.