Tuesday, August 29, 2017

When a Brand's Problem is Not a Marketing Problem

Occasionally, I have encountered brand problems that are not marketing problems. As we conduct brand equity research for companies, we discover that the problem is not with the brand's promise, nor is it with the marketing communication. In fact, it is not with any of the typical brand equity dimensions (such as awareness and relevant differentiation) but rather it is with operational, service and quality issues. These are often detected through open-ended brand association responses and brand personality assessments among other metrics. 

I have always contended that delivery against the brand's promise is at least as important as the brand's promise itself. If a brand is delivering inferior products or horrible customer service or if other points of interaction with customers are broken, it doesn't matter what the brand promises or how good the marketing communication is, the brand will fail. It is important for a brand manager to know if the brand's products and services (including customer service, technical support and online interaction) are of the highest quality and responsive to customers' needs. A comprehensive brand equity measurement system will uncover these problems. 

Sometimes a brand manager needs to inform his or her organization of other issues that are standing in the way of brand and business success. An effective brand manager will know how to do this without placing blame, damaging egos or creating turf battles. The most important thing is to fix the problems.  Certainly, these are the issues about which a CEO needs to be informed.

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