Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Brand Equity Measurement

According to a well-known axiom, you can’t manage what you don’t measure. This is true of brand equity as well. Any strong brand equity measurement system will accomplish the following objectives:

  • Measure the brand’s equity across a variety of dimensions at different points in time over time.
  • Provide diagnostic information on the reasons for the changes in brand equity.
  • Gauge and evaluate the brand’s progress against goals.
  • Provide direction on how to improve brand equity.
  • Provide insight into the brand’s positioning vis-à-vis its major competitors, including its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
  • Provide direction on how to reposition the brand for maximum effect.

When I was named director of brand management and marketing at Hallmark, I was given two primary objectives: 1) to increase Hallmark market share and 2) to increase Hallmark brand equity. Market share is a relatively straightforward objective for which we already had metrics. Brand equity was much less well defined. I spent the better part of the next three years drawing upon the knowledge of various consultants, researchers, and scholars and dozens of different brand equity models to define brand equity in a way that was useful to Hallmark. To be useful to Hallmark, it had to show how to move people from high brand awareness to brand insistence. Since then, this work has resulted in a validated and refined measurement system that is used by scores of organizations across dozens of industries.

Components of a Brand Equity Measurement System

Here are the components that a brand equity measurement system should

  • Brand awareness (first mention, or top-of-mind unaided recall, and total unaided recall)
  • Brand preference
  • Brand importance/rank in consideration set
  • Brand accessibility
  • Brand value (quality and value perceptions and price sensitivity)
  • Brand relevant differentiation (open-ended question and perceptions
  • on key attributes)
  • Brand emotional connection
  • Brand vitality
  • Brand loyalty (multiple behavioral and attitudinal measures, including share of requirements/wallet)
  • Brand usage
  • Brand imagery (against a standard battery of category-independent brand personality attributes proven to drive brand insistence, and a customized battery of brand personality attributes for the particular organization and its product/service category)

Most Important Brand Equity Measures

The most important brand equity measures are:

  • Unaided brand awareness, especially first recall.
  • Remembered/recalled brand experience.
  • Knowledge of the brand’s promise.
  • Brand’s position in the purchase consideration set.
  • Brand’s delivery against key benefits. (We have found two separate approaches to be insightful: mapping benefit importance against brand benefit delivery—a scaled response—and an open-ended question, “What makes brand XX different from other brands in the YY category?”)
  • Emotional connection to the brand.
  • Price sensitivity.
  • Relative accessibility.

Excerpted from Brand Aid, second edition. © 2015 Brad VanAuken. Available here now.

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