Five Steps to Assess Brand Equity
At a time when brand marketers are almost on information overload,
does the world really need yet another way to process data into key
Sure, it’s tempting to stay with the “tried and true.” Yet, given the nature of today’s
fast-moving competitive marketplace, the risk lies in the possibility of “tried” becoming “tired.” At the heart of this is the new reality of brands competing for shoppers’ attention on a global scale while, at the same time, needing the ability to master national and local issues. This, in turn, requires a new degree of flexibility in which course correction is often the norm.
Quite simply, looking back is no longer up to that challenge, nor is only looking at the present. Rather, what is now essential is the ability to look ahead, thereby evaluating the future economic worth of your brands.
How? Imagine being able to “converse” with one million consumer panelists weekly, and then using that feedback to develop marketing and investment strategies to grow your brand’s value. Imagine having the ability to zero in on a global locality (in 87 different countries) to understand how that specific area responds to changes in pricing, packaging or messaging. And imagine – especially since you’re rarely at your desk these days – having an app to access these insights in real time, any time through your smart phone, tablet or laptop.
Beyond such new-found abilities, another reality in the marketing world is that affinity, attachment and loyalty to brands follows the same twists and turns as other human relationships, specifically flirting, dating, love and divorce. Indeed, every day, consumers are falling in and out of love with their chosen brands. The challenge to every marketer is to manage that relationship for maximum results.
So, if love is the ideal that creates assets, how can you determine where your brand sits on that scale? The answer comes from a legion of panelists – global, national and local – who will tell you that brand love must exist over time, meaning that it must be relevant both today and tomorrow, and that the best-loved brands are well invested in both.
What are the returns on love, a love that creates value and sustainable competitive advantage? Well, for one, 96% of the brands one group of panelists have defined as “most loved” outperformed the S&P 500 last year. That’s the kind of productive results when CMOs and CFOs start to speak the same language.
In other words, it is not enough to be a category leader. In fact, those metrics can mislead marketers, giving them a false sense of security and misguided optimism. Think of it this way: What good is it really to be a category leader in decline? What best practices can be learned if a marketer isn’t looking at the brand agnostically?
Achieving short-term loves that sticks is every marketer’s objective. The short-term components for such stickiness (building salience and intimacy) must be measured along with the long-term components (engagement and uniqueness) before they can be managed for optimal brand vitality.
Sherry Turkle, a Ted speaker and MIT Professor, said, “Human relationships are rich and they’re messy and demanding. We clean them up with technology. And when we do, one of the things that happen is that we sacrifice conversation for mere connection. We short change ourselves.”
And that’s the reasoning behind a platform that combines technology and human contact on a previously-unknown scale, with the goal of understanding and building brand love at the epicenter. In all, it’s a five-step process to assessing, building and sustaining brand equity:
1. Voice of the Market: Linking Consumer Insights with KPIs By providing both a current and future assessment of your brand on a weekly basis, globally, nationally and locally, the gap is bridged between marketing and finance.
2. Voice of the Consumer: The Global, National and Local Feedback Loop The Scottish poet, Robert Burns, said it best in his classic “To a Louse” – “O would some power the giftie give us, To see ourselves as others see us.” And when those “others” number in the millions, theirs is a voice to be heard.
3. Conversation Critical: Establishing The Right Brand Dialogue For Ongoing Engagement This is the conversation being held at each of the five points of engagement (Product, Pricing, Promotion, Place, and People).
4. Value and Investment Marketing: Determining the Impact Of Your Strategy on Brand Value Where should you invest? At what levels? How do you allocate against channels? Go after margins or volume?
5. In Market Testing: Assessing Brand Strategies Before, During and After You Go to Market This yields accurate, invaluable learning for scaling and implementing brand strategies and dialogue.
By combining all of these elements with the latest technology and human experience, the way is now clear for a true Brand Equity Relationship Assessment, whose bottom line is quite simple: Once brand marketers really figure out how to measure the economics of brand love, they can readily manage it for growth and profitability.
This article was provided by Ryan Barker, EVP, Marketing & Decision Analytics for Vision Critical, developer of a new platform called BERA (Brand Equity Relationship Assessment). For more information: www.visioncritical.com.