Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Most Requested Areas of Brand Help

We see and respond to a lot of RFPs and we work on a lot of branding projects. Because we focus on brand strategy, we do not typically receive requests for more tactical initiatives such as social media or direct mail campaigns. However, we do receive requests for a wide variety of brand research and strategy initiatives. Here are the areas in which we have received the most requests in the past two years:

  • We need help repositioning our brand.
  • We need a stronger point of difference for our brand.
  • We need a better brand elevator speech.
  • We want to better tell our brand's story.
  • We need to create a name and a new identity for our merged organizations.
  • We need to create a name and new identity for a new product or service. 
  • We want to build more emotionality into our brand. 
  • We need help with our brand's strategy and our business model strategy.
  • We need to radically transform our brand and store concept. 
  • We want to measure the equity of our brand.
  • Our brand architecture is a mess. We need to simplify it.
  • We want to take our brand out to new customer segments without alienating our current target customers. 
  • We need help merging our organizations (combined through merger or acquisition), including creating a new combined brand and a new combined culture.
  • We need to reenergize our employees in support of the brand. 
  • We need to get the leadership team back on track regarding alignment with our agreed to brand strategy.
  • We need to transform our business and brand from a transactional approach to an engagement approach.
  • We need to become a marketing-driven organization. 
Maybe you recognize some of these needs as ones your organization has. Anyway, I thought you would be interested in the types of requests we have been receiving regarding brand strategy.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Luxury Brands and Exclusivity

Exclusivity is an important aspect of true luxury brands. People who purchase these brands want something that few others can have. A few different things contribute to their exclusivity: limited distribution, prohibitive price points and highly targeted marketing. Often, luxury brands are "insider brands," that is, they are so "high end" that most people have never even heard of them. Only others who are in the same socio-economic circles will recognize and truly appreciate them.

Limited distribution may mean that they are only in high end specialty boutiques in high end shopping districts in only the most elite enclaves around the world. This not only rules out Walmart but also Macy's and maybe even Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus. 

The price points may also be prohibitive for most people, for instance a $5,000 Rubin Singer party dress, a $4,000 pair of Christian Louboutin evening shoes or $600 Vilebrequin men's swim trunks. Or consider the $2.4 million Bugatti Veyron Super Sports car, the $66 million Bombardier Global 8000 private jet, or a variety of super yachts that range from $200 million to $1.2 billion each. And consider purchasing an Ocean Pearl 2-person mini-submarine for your yacht. It is one of several brands that are priced between $80,000 and $4 million+.

Regarding marketing, consider Rolex. Rolex is the primary sponsor of many elite yachting and equestrian events. I doubt you would ever see Rolex sponsoring a hockey, baseball, basketball or football event.

Here is the interesting thing about luxury brands - some of them are also intended to be aspirational brands for people from the next socio-economic rung down who aspire to enter the higher socio-economic circle. Sometimes those brands create lower price point products as entry products to the brand. While this may expand sales significantly, it can also turn off the original customers if they perceive that the brand is becoming less exclusive. The brand loses its mystique or cachet.

What is it about exclusivity that is so appealing? Is it its ability to turn heads and cause hushed conversations? Is it its ability to provoke envy? Is it just knowing that you have something that few others in the world can have? Is it firmly reinforcing your social status? Is it just finding and possessing something that you have never seen before? Or is it the item's rarity itself?

If you are responsible for a true luxury brand, you must consider the notion of exclusivity as part of your brand's essence.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Brand Experience

Back in the 1980s, when I was responsible for new product development at Hallmark, I recall reading an SRI International report that pointed to the emergence of experiences as something increasingly salable even over tangible products. Based on that report and other research, I developed a new business proposal for Hallmark that focused on providing and enhancing gift certificates for "experiences as gifts." These included massages, dinners at nice restaurants, balloon rides, wine tastings, movie tickets, etc. We even included services such as housecleaning and yard clean-up. 

While there is still a need for tangible products as we all still have functional needs, experiences are becoming an increasingly important part of our portfolio of purchases, especially for people with disposable income. 

When I think of my own spending, a significant portion of it is on leisure travel, adventure travel, dinners out, skiing, sailing, scuba diving, massages and similar experiences. Even my tangible purchases include a large element of experience - traveling to Napa Valley, touring wineries and tasting wines before I purchase them and visiting public and commercial art galleries before I purchase art. 

And while charitable giving should be altruistic, we often attend galas in which we have a chance to wear our formalwear,  dance to live bands, enjoy nice food and drink, socialize with old and new friends and bid on silent auctions, which I particularly enjoy. Clearly, galas are experiences. 

Even our local brewery (Genessee Brewing Company) has added tours, tastings, restaurants, bars, a beer museum and views of a 95 foot waterfall in downtown Rochester -- all clearly part of an experience. And, thanks to a local not-for-profit organization, an adjacent bridge across the Genesee River gorge from the brewery will soon be the home of a horizontal garden akin to New York City's High Line or Shelburne Falls, MA's Bridge of Flowers.

So, I would have you consider what sort of experience your brand is creating. When you consider how much we enjoy sensory stimulation - sight, taste, scent, touch and sound - it is important for brands to create experiences that play to these senses. 

I wish you great success in creating your brand's sensory experience. 

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Interesting Brand Extensions

I have featured a number of interesting brand extension examples. You decide if they are or will be successful or not along with your reasons for your assessment. While thinking about these examples, consider what makes a brand extension successful and what works against its success.

Brand Extension

A BRAND MAY enter new product categories, new product formats within a category (line extensions), or new markets or market segments. Examples of the latter include taking a brand currently targeted to women and extending it to the male market, or taking a brand that currently appeals to adults and extending it to the teen market. Another example of extending a brand into new markets is extending it down from its current position to the value segment or up from its current position to the premium segment. Often, to designate a premium version or offering, special words or phrases are used in association with the brand name—words such as gold, platinum, limited edition, signature collection, premier, elite, marquis, reserve, private, professional, or executive class. But, in general, the more subtle the allusion to a brand’s premium status, the more effective the approach. The brand can be extended with or without using another associated brand. If another brand is used, it may be a subbrand or a brand endorsed by the original brand. Another option is cobranding. Hallmark created the “Confections” subbrand to extend into gift candies, but it did so in conjunction with Fannie May Candies Celebrated Collection (premium) subbrand. The product is cobranded with each company’s brand and subbrand. Cobranding may be a faster way to enter a new category and gain credibility within it.

Ways to Extend the Brand

Regardless of the branding treatment, extensions can occur in the following
  • You manufacture the product (or supply the service) yourself.
  • You acquire a company that makes the product (or supplies the service).
  • You source the product or service from some other organization, but put your name on it.
  • You license your name for use by another company that makes the product or supplies the service. Use brand licensing to extend the brand into new categories, expand the meaning of the brand, reinforce key brand associations, build your brand as a badge, or bring your brand to life in new ways. You should avoid licensing your brand where it doesn’t make sense just to make a few extra revenue dollars. Where the licensing department resides in your organization structure will have a large impact on how well licensing is used to build (vs. bleed) the brand.
  • You form an alliance or joint venture with another company to supply the product or service.

Obviously, the pros and cons of the various methods include speed to market, fit with core competencies, upside revenue and profit potential, asset risk, amount of control over the brand delivery, and the degree to which you are committed to the category in the long term.

(c) 2015 by Brad VanAuken, excerpted from Brand Aid, second edition.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Client Taxonomy

Having worked with more than 200 organizations in a consultant-client relationship, I am well qualified to identify the different types of clients. So, I am calling this post "Client Taxonomy." I present it as a form of entertainment rather than a point of reference. Here are my classifications:

  • THE SHEEP: This client has been told she needs to initiate a complete rebranding project and has the budget for it but leaves it to the chosen consultant to structure the project, lead the project and make all of the recommendations. Her understanding and confidence levels in this subject area are quit low. She accepts and implements whatever the consultant proposes without question. 
  • THE CONROL FREAK: This client hires the consultant but then micromanages the consultant. She changes the process, reorders the project steps, asks for different deliverables, reanalyzes the research herself and tells the client what to put on each PowerPoint slide. Sometimes she is knowledgeable enough to make improvements and better tailor the project to her organization's specific needs. But most of the time, she just complicates the process, slows it down, creates gaps in the information and ends up with unusable deliverables. But she is happy because she has been in complete control of the project for its duration.
  • THE DENIER: This client hires to the consultant to discover what the brand's customers think. When he finds out that the customers are not happy and the organization's strategy is not working, he terminates the consultant-client relationship and destroys all copies of the research, which, by design, he had not shared with anyone else in the organization. 
  • THE EMPEROR: This client hires a well-known consultant to add credibility to changes he wants to make. He holds up that the new brand and business direction are the output of a rigorous process. However, he knows where he wants to take the brand and the business before the consultant is hired. If the process leads to alternative conclusions, he artfully steers everything back to what he wants to see happen. Often, this is quite obvious to everyone involved, which is quite enervating.
  • THE POLITICAL WARRIOR: This client hires a consultant to prove a rival wrong. She is in a political battle with another marketing executive to assume the role of the organization's CMO. Throughout the process, the consultant witnesses secret meetings, altered documents, the formation of alliances, destroyed data and other acts of aggression. This is war and now the consultant is a part of it. 
  • THE PROFESSIONAL: This client is the ultimate professional. He is deeply experienced, highly knowledgeable and quite confident. He knows exactly what he wants and hires the consultant with the perfect skill set to help him get it. He is collaborative with the consultant, adds value where he can and knows exactly how to make the best use of the project's deliverables. 
  • THE HOPEFUL ONE: This client knows what he wants but does not have the time or budget to get it. He hires the consultant anyway hoping that the budget might become available and that people in the organization might have time for the project. Neither of these turns out to be true. The project drags on because there is no internal support for it. It dies a very slow death of malnutrition.
  • THE LONELY ONE: This person hires a consultant because she wants a confidant, someone to talk to. She confides in the consultant about her love life, her latest purchases, the dinner party she just threw and her personal assessment of each of her colleagues. 
  • THE STUDENT: While this person has a real project that would benefit from a consultant's input, the person's real motivation is to learn as much as he can from that consultant for his own personal development. He has read the consultant's books and blog posts but now wants intensive one-on-one time with the consultant focused on a real-world problem to become increasingly proficient in the consultant's area of expertise. 
  • THE CONSULTANT'S BENEFACTOR: This client has hired several different consultants and marketing agencies, each of which is working on a separate strategic project for her. But none of the consultants are talking with one another or sharing information with each other. One is working on mission/vision/values, another corporate culture, another brand positioning, another business model refinement, another on an upcoming acquisition and another on the latest marketing campaign. I hope the client is highly skilled at weaving the output of all of these projects together in a seamless fashion. 

Luckily, the vast majority of clients that I have worked with fall under the label, "THE PROFESSIONAL." However, I am sure some of you might recognize a person or two you encountered in your professional career that might have fallen under one or more of the other categories. 

Monday, December 21, 2015

The Power of Focus In Branding

I have had the opportunity more than once to focus an organization's marketing efforts and the results have been extraordinary. I have done this as vice president of marketing for an e-learning company, as the volunteer chair of two not-for-profit organizations' marketing committees and in helping multiple clients craft their brand plans.

It has been my observation that organizations spread their marketing budgets too thin. They invest in too many marketing activities which result in diminished impact and ROI. I worked with one not-for-profit organization that outlined dozens of disparate products and services targeted at as many or more target audiences. Their marketing budget was minuscule and they were trying to spend something for each of these products for each of these markets. I had them perform an analysis of participation, revenues, profits and alignment with core mission (and brand promise) for each product/customer bucket of marketing activities. This process made it clear where they should focus their resources. 

At the e-learning company, I reduced the number of trade shows we participated in from dozens and dozens to three or four key ones. I also focused our marketing efforts on two trade publications and two industry experts along with three industry analysts. We discovered each of these information sources to be the most influential in our customers' decision making in our category. This process helped us to move from one of hundreds of e-learning companies to one of the top five e-learning companies in less than two years. 

The scatter-gun approach to marketing spending demonstrates a lack of strategic thinking and a lack of discipline. 

As you are developing your brand management and marketing plans and budget requests for the upcoming year, consider cutting back on many activities so that you can become the industry leader in other more important activities. And focus on those marketing activities that produce the highest ROI. There is power in focus, not only for brand positioning and messaging, but also for customer targets and marketing activities. 

I wish you great success in unleashing the power of focus for your brand.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Bringing the Brand Positioning to Life


We have just finished a brand positioning exercise. What are the most effective methods of bringing the brand promise to life?


Now that your brand positioning is determined, it is time to bring your brand promise to life.  The first thing to do is to communicate that new promise. One way is though your brand’s identity system from its name and logo to its tagline, colors, type fonts and other brand identity elements.  The tagline, in particular, should communicate the brand’s promise. Even if you do not change another element of the brand’s identity, the tagline should at least allude to your brand’s unique value proposition or promise.  Next, the brand promise should be translated to carefully crafted messages intended for various audiences  - an elevator speech for internal audiences, a selling script for salespeople, a press release boilerplate and an “about us” section for your website. Additionally, you can craft brand stories that reinforce what your brand stands for and what it is promising.

In conjunction with developing the brand promise communication, it is important to focus on the brand promise proof points and “reasons to believe.”  First, it is useful to identify all of your current brand proof points and reasons to believe and make sure they are visible to your customers and potential customers.  It is also useful to articulate these in support of your brand’s promise in written brand communication.

Next, you should identify all of your brand’s customer touch points to understand what platforms you have to reinforce your brand’s promise. Following this, you can ideate new brand proof points at each customer touch point and even ideate new touch points at which you can reinforce your brand’s promise. The proof points typically are real customer experiences that your brand creates, especially those that are beyond simple brand communication. These might be delivered through product functions or features, new job functions, specific customer services, the selling environment, system or process improvements or focused employee empowerment.

Once your employees are grounded in the brand’s new promise and positioning, you can offer training and incentives for employees to find individual ways to reinforce the brand’s promise in their day-to-day work. You can even invite them to brainstorm new ways to deliver on the brand promise.  Some organizations have even implemented brand behavior recognition and reward systems for their employees.

The opportunities for bringing the brand’s promise to life are almost endless. Once there is organizational consensus around what the brand stands for, then it is easier to rally employees in support of brand’s values and promise.

I hope this is enough to get you started in bringing your brand’s promise to life.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Brands and Competitive Frame of Reference

When executives are positioning their brands they should not forget about determining their brands' competitive frames of reference, or put another way, the product or service categories in which their brands are operating. 

I have already shared the example of Strong National Museum of Play. By choosing the category of "museums of play" (of which it is the only one) instead of "children's museums," not only does it stand out as a category of one brand but it also allows it to offer a variety of play experiences for adults, giving the museum a broader appeal and audience. 

Another example is Artisan Works. Artisan Works crams 500,000 art objects in 50,000 square feet of space, however it does not consider itself an art museum or art gallery. Rather, it is an event space. It hosts more than 300 events per year and has a rent-to-own art program. 

I am working with one brand that is trying to decide whether it is a gas station, convenience store, gas/station convenience store combination or something entirely new (we have tested many out-of-the-box new store concepts for them).

Urgent Care emerged as a new category that is separate from hospitals, doctor's offices or outpatient clinics. 

I worked with one industry trade association that broke out of its mold as a membership organization to become more of an industry think tank, expert center and consultancy.

What was Cirque du Soliel when it was first created? A circus? A theatrical production? Or something entirely new? What are Fringe Festivals? What is their category? What makes them different from other types of events or festivals?

Is this brand of food a snack food, a healthy food, a food for children, or a meal component? How it is defined makes a difference. The same goes for restaurants. What type of restaurant is your brand trying to be? To whom does it cater for what type of occasion (or non-occasion)?

Not that we have to put brands into small boxes, but thinking through a brand's competitive frame of reference will have an impact on its target customers, competitive set, type of usage and frequency of usage.

When one considers competitive frames of reference carefully, often it even has an impact on business models and potential revenue streams.

Don't neglect considering your brand's frame of reference.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Words That Sell

There is a book by this name. It was written by Richard Bayan and first published in 1984. A companion book, Phrases That Sell, was written by Edward Werz and Sally Germain and first published in 1998. I have both books. 

My last post was about Using Symbols in Branding. Symbols are triggers to emotions associated with hopes, fears and self-image reinforcement. Words and phrases can also be powerful. They can evoke strong emotions - both positive and negative.

When I was a new business strategist at Hallmark, I knew how to increase the score of a new business concept (in concept testing) by using the right words that I knew would evoke positive imagery and emotions. I didn't however because I did not want to inflate the results. I used neutral language to describe the concept so that its score would be more predictive of its market potential in our volumetric forecasting.   

What are some of the words and phrases that can help a brand? Here are some:

  • Imagine
  • Finally
  • Now
  • Long-awaited
  • Unique
  • New
  • Irresistible
  • Enchanting
  • Captivating
  • Stunning
  • Amazing
  • Adorable
  • Picture-perfect
  • Engaging
  • Innovative
  • Leading-edge
  • Revolutionary
  • Groundbreaking
  • Unparalleled
  • Unsurpassed
  • Authentic
  • Original
  • Legendary
  • Refreshing
  • A breath of fresh air
  • Empowering
  • Passionate
  • Bespoke
  • Heir apparent
  • The chosen one

Now think of some words and phrases and other labels that have been used to turn people off. Politicians and political parties use these to create negative emotional associations for their enemies. Here are some more recent ones:
  • [insert the issue]gate (to imply a cover up of an illegal or immoral activity)
  • He's a flip-flopper
  • He's a carnival barker
  • He's a Nazi
  • He's another Hitler
  • He's a socialist
  • She's out of touch
  • She's ambitious
  • She's a liar
  • He's a wackadoo
  • He's a terrorist
  • He's a racist
  • He's a government insider
  • He's polarizing
  • He's a dinosaur

Or, consider modifying or replacement words to make people feel better about something (often resulting in oxymorons). Here are some examples of that:
  • Peacekeeper missile
  • Peacekeeping force
  • Clean coal
  • Sanitary landfill
  • Compassionate conservative
  • Friendly fire
  • Smart bomb
  • Troops (instead of soldiers/humans)
  • Partial cease-fire
  • Energy Citizens

My point in all of this is that words can evoke strong associations and emotions. Words can also mollify situations and people. And they can change the meaning of things and make them more acceptable and even compelling. As marketers, we need to be masters of words and phrases. 

Using Symbols in Branding

I have repeatedly talked about brands needing to stand for something and how people increasingly use them as self-expression vehicles. Brands can become a way for people to express who they are (or who they want to become) and what they stand for (or how they want to be perceived). People aspire to high social status, wealth and power. They want to be perceived as smart, capable, nice, amiable, witty, well-travelled, well-read, knowledgable and creative. They want people to know that they care about others and that they are trying to make a difference in the world. These are just some of the ways people view themselves or want to be perceived. Let's take just one of these as an example. 

Many people like to be perceived as having high social status. What are some indicators of this? Having attended an elite boarding school or other private school. Living in an expensive, highly cultured city such as New York or San Francisco. Living in a highly desirable upscale neighborhood. Having attended an elite college or university. Having the right job - surgeon, attorney, CEO, private equity firm partner, etc. Participating in an elite hobby or sport - art collecting, yacht racing, fox hunting, etc. Belonging to the right country clubs and other social clubs. Enjoying ballet and opera and symphony concerts. Driving an Audi, Porsche, Mercedes-Benz or similar vehicle. Summering in Nantucket, Tuscany or the south of France. Having a residence with a wine cellar, a library, a home theater, a swimming pool and a tennis court. Having more than one residence. Attending the right sporting events - US Open, PGA Championship, Kentucky Rolex, America's Cup. Not attending the wrong sporting events - NASCAR, World Championship Wrestling, Monster Mudder events, etc. Fly fishing for trout, not entering a bass tournament with a Ranger motorboat. Shopping at Sacks Fifth Avenue, Bergdorf Goodman and Barney's, not Sears, Wal-Mart and Gander Mountain. Subscribing to Vanity Fair, Wine Spectator, Architectural Digest, Travel + Leisure and The New Yorker. Not subscribing to People, Field & Stream, Reader's Digest and Consumer Reports. And I could go on and on.

I could list a number of indicators or symbols for other lifestyles, aspirations and self-expressive targets. The point is, marketers need to understand the indicators or symbols for each self-expressive target, aspiration or lifestyle. For instance, there is an entirely different list of triggers or symbols for people who want to be perceived as being highly intelligent or intellectual. A competent marketer could compile this list from common sense, observation or marketing research. 

The astute marketer will pick a self-expression target that aligns with his or her brand and begin to develop indicators or symbols that reinforce that self-expression target. For instance, in the case of high social status, creating a retail environment that mirrors that of an elite country club.

I hope you can see the utility of identifying all of the indicators or symbols of a certain self-expression or lifestyle target and then incorporating those into your brand experience. They will work at a sub-conscious level with your target customers. 

What to Look for In a CMO


"My organization is creating a new CMO role. What should that entail? How should their performance be measured?"


To answer this question adequately would require more words than typically occur in a blog post. First, presumably, this person would be a corporate officer reporting to the president or the CEO. So, the person should have had at least one successful vice president of marketing stint in his or her career. While the person does not need to have experience in all aspects of marketing, the more experience he or she has in each marketing discipline the better. Ideally, the candidate would have experience in the following areas:
  • Product management
  • New product development
  • Brand management
  • Brand licensing
  • Advertising
  • Promotion
  • Social media
  • Big data analytics
  • Marketing research
  • Pricing strategy
  • Distribution strategy
  • Public relations
  • Trade marketing
  • Trade relations
  • Sales
  • Customer service
  • Sales support
  • Retail merchandising (depending on the industry)

In general, the CMO would have responsibility for each of these areas except maybe the following, depending on how the organization is structured:
  • Sales
  • Trade relations
  • Corporate communications (including public relations)
  • Product management
  • New product development

Any individual assuming the CMO responsibility would need to possess these personal qualities, at a minimum:
  • Outstanding communicator, orally and in writing
  • “Big picture” thinker
  • An understanding of how the various marketing elements are successfully integrated
  • Assertiveness
  • Likeable, approachable
  • Strong analytical skills
  • Intuition regarding human motivations
  • An understanding of financial management
  • Good budgeting skills
  • General management/P&L management experience is a plus
  • Strong people development and mentoring skills

CMO metrics might include any of the following:
  • Sales/revenues
  • Market share (dollars/units)
  • Brand “share of wallet”
  • Brand awareness
  • Brand preference
  • Brand loyalty
  • Successful product launches
  • Return on marketing investment

A large part of this person’s job is to develop a strong marketing capacity for the organization. This includes establishing the right mix of marketing disciplines as well as staffing them with skilled professionals and providing the proper levels of resources. It also includes succession planning and professional development opportunities for the marketing staff. Further, the role includes championing the marketing function on the leadership team and throughout the organization and weighing and balancing the needs of the marketing function against other organizational functions and investments. Ultimately, this person is responsible for increasing revenues and building and leveraging brand equity.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Measuring A College or University's Brand Equity

Someone recently asked me how one should approach measuring a college or university's brand equity. Here is what I told her.

We would use the same approach outlined in the article I wrote whose link you attached to your question. However, here are some additional considerations for universities:
  1. I would target the following audiences: high school students who applied to the school in question (whether they were admitted or not and whether they decided to attend or not), parents of those students, high school guidance counselors, admissions directors at peer institutions, faculty, staff, current students at the school in question, alumni and board members.
  2. We would keep track of which students were accepted and which of those had decided to attend to determine how the answers varied by each of these groups.
  3. I would ask the students to which other colleges and universities they applied for admission.
  4. I might have students rank order the list of colleges and universities to which they applied in order of preference.
  5. I would customize the list of brand benefits to the college or university in question and to colleges and universities in general.
  6. This list would include these benefits at a minimum:
    • Overall reputation or prestige of the school
    • Value of a degree from this school after graduation
    • Quality of the student experience
    • Campus amenities
    • Campus aesthetics
    • Food quality
    • Campus housing quality
    • How leading-edge the labs and equipment are
    • Caliber of the student body
    • Educational quality/effectiveness
    • Quality of campus social life
    • Desirability of the neighborhood and municipality in which the school is located
    • Region of the country in which the school is located
    • Weather
    • Quality of the sports programs
    • Variety and quality of extracurricular activities
  7. I would also customize the selection of brand personality attributes to those most appropriate to colleges and universities.
  8. I would have people rank program quality for each major division – liberal arts, engineering, science, medicine, law, business, architecture, etc. This could be done at a more detailed level – sociology, psychology, anthropology, etc.
  9. We would identify correlations between answers to a variety of the questions and the overall reputation of and preference for the school.
  10. We might ask an open-ended response question regarding why they chose this school (if they did).
  11. As in all brand equity studies that we conduct, we would ask them what makes this school unique or better than the other schools that they considered (another open-ended response question).
  12. If the college or university had the resources to do this, we would conduct focus groups prior to the quantitative brand equity study to build a more robust study based on qualitative insights regarding the factors that most influenced people’s perceptions and decisions. We would conduct these groups separately for each different target audience.

While all of our brand equity studies are based on our BrandInsistence system of brand equity measurement, each study is tailored to the brand in question. I hope this helps you think about how one might develop a brand equity measurement system for a college or university.

I wish you the best.

Brad VanAuken