Marketing executives get a gut feeling when the brands they manage aren’t tightly aligned with business goals.
Just as a car needs regular maintenance and the human body needs an annual physical exam, so too a brand needs regular assessments to make sure its core equity stays on track. And any checkup requires a candid warts-and-all conversation with an expert.
The key to this conversation is knowing what to assess. Having conducted thousands of interviews and surveys and studied hundreds of brands, our team has boiled it down to these five areas that are important to any brand evaluation:
- Strategic alignment: Is the brand aligned with the company’s business strategy and can executives clearly articulate the brand promise? In the B2C world, I can think of no better example to underscore this point right now than Facebook and Twitter. Facebook’s brand promise of connections, conversations and communications among its users gets clearer every few months as does its advertising offering for brands. Twitter seems to have lost its way. Sure, many people still use the microblogging service as a news feed and a means to influence others, but how has it evolved beyond that? How can advertisers capitalize on its reach?
- Employee engagement: Do employees understand the brand? Are they motivated by our promise? Can they tell our story? Exploring the brand’s messaging and refining it as necessary is very important, both internally and when executives speak to the media. To determine whether everyone inside the organization is singing from the same hymn book, send an internal online survey that determines how well they know the company’s messaging. They might need a refresher.
- Customer perception: Do customers understand the brand promise? Do they recognize its value? Are they likely to recommend it to others? We all know that a brand is not necessarily what we say it is but what our customers say it is. Delivering on the brand promise again and again is a very effective way to ensure that a brand is perceived well in the market.
- Marketing effectiveness: Simply: Is the team focused on the right priorities, measuring effectiveness and managing the brand correctly?
- Tracking & Informing: Is there a method of tracking and measuring brand performance and is this information being used to inform our strategy?
This is not the most scientific approach to a checkup—consider it a drive-in clinic compared to a visit with a seasoned, trusted practitioner—but it’s a good starting point. And the answers may be surprising. An organization that is numbers-focused and fact-based—as most are—may want to explore using a methodology like the BrandingBusiness Brand Performance Platform™.