Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Common Problems in Brand Equity Measurement

Our brand management equity measurement system is comprehensive, measuring each of the five drivers of customer brand insistence – awareness, relevant differentiation, value, accessibility and emotional connection – along with other factors such as brand vitality, brand loyalty, brand personality and brand associations.

In the process of measuring brand equity, one should avoid making the following mistakes:
  • Not specifying up front the purpose of the brand equity study, how you will use the results and what actions you might take based on the results.
  • Defining the product/service category too narrowly, too broadly or otherwise incorrectly. Doing so will create the wrong competitive frame of reference in the respondents’ minds.
  • Getting feedback on the wrong competitive set. Failing to include key competitors or including ones that don’t matter.
  • If your brand has multiple levels of branding (parent brand, sub-brand, etc.), testing the wrong level that has less meaning to category customers.
  • Asking questions in the wrong order so that there is order biasing. One should always begin with the most general open-ended questions and conclude with the most detailed brand-specific questions.
  • Not randomizing the response choices so that there is response choice order biasing.
  • Not crafting a compelling enough survey invitation letter so that the response rate is very low.
  • Biasing the respondents’ responses by sending the survey invitation from a specific brand. In particular, it will skew the open-ended top-of-mind brand awareness responses but it will skew other responses as well.
  • Making the survey too long so that the complete rate is very low. People become fatigued and drop out of the survey before they have answered all of the questions.
  • Asking leading questions, ones that beg certain responses.
  • Not being consistent in how one presents response choices. For instance, modifying some with superlatives while not doing so for others. Or, presenting some in an active voice and others in a passive voice.
  • Not planning for or achieving a large enough ending response rate so that the results are not projectable. Generally, for most populations, 383 or 384 ending responses will result in a confidence level of 95% +/- 5%. If you want to perform analysis on subsets of the data, you will need this many responses for the subsets too.
  • In closed-ended questions, not giving the respondents all of the possible (or at least probable) response choices. I have seen some situations in which more than 50% of the respondents chose “other” for a particular question. This provides little insight unless you allow the respondents to specify “other” in an open-ended response.
  • Not providing an “other” option as an answer to close-ended questions.
  • Not providing a “don’t know” choice for most close-ended questions.
  • Not having carefully thought through and vetted the category’s and brand’s top attributes, benefits and values before populating them as response choices for a close-ended question.
  • Asking how important “brand” is in selecting a product within the category. Brand will always be rated as less important than more tangible attributes, benefits and values.
  • Not including emotional, experiential and self-expressive benefits and shared values with functional benefits in a close-ended brand benefit importance or brand benefit delivery question.
  • Not carefully thinking through how you intend to analyze the results before you design the survey.
  • Not setting the questions up in a way that allows for easy filtering or reporting of responses.
  • Mixing responses from different populations – such a national consumer panel and a customer list and Facebook fans.
  • Asking people who have little awareness of a particular brand to assess the brand in great detail. They will only be guessing at best. Only ask people to rate the brand with which they are the most familiar.
  • Not including mandatory brand personality attributes (such as trustworthy, innovative and responsive) in the brand personality question choices.
  • Conducting in-depth analysis on a brand that has little to no awareness. How can people react to a brand of which they are not aware and with which they have no experience?
  • Not including the following critical brand equity components:

Unaided brand awareness – first recall and other recall
Relevant differentiation
Emotional connection to the brand
Attitudinal loyalty to the brand
  • If you ask an open-ended top-of-mind brand association question, asking it in such a way that most of the responses will just be a mention of the product category with which the brand is most associated. For instance, here are four different ways to ask this question:

Thinking about the XYZ brand, what comes to mind?
What makes the XYZ brand superior to or different from the other brands in its category?
What is distinctive about the XYZ brand?
What would you miss most if the XYZ brand ceased to exist?
  • Not using the most powerful type of chart or graph to make the key points for the responses to each question.
  • Not using the proper/optimal scale for each chart or graph.
  • Presenting results that have so few responses that the responses are meaningless and could even be misleading.

I hope this has helped you think about how to create and implement a more robust brand equity study.

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