How do we evaluate brand strength? While CEOs deal in a currency of hard and fast measurables (profitability ratios, P&L statements and financial quarters), it seems the metrics to assess a brand's strength tend be somewhat ethereal.
Is "brand" something tangible that can be measured at all?
Firstly, brands aren't really things. A brand exists in the emotions, associations, and behaviour of the public. The awareness people have of a company is where the brand is at. How that prompts their behaviour through trial, purchase or repurchase is how brand is measured, and the reliability and effectiveness of these factors constitute brand value.
And in an era of social media, brand strength can be assessed in real time.
Many branding gurus and agencies have devised their own brand evaluation methodologies. A pitfall many of them fall into is viewing brands as static entities that can be measured through arcane formulas about 'purchasing decisions,' 'future reliability' and other abstract metrics.
Another approach is viewing brand value as going hand in hand with business value. Businesses that are good at what they do tend to have strong brands. Businesses that are ineffective tend to have weak brands. Brand strength and effectiveness should perhaps be measured, not by the sometimes abstract terms used by marketing and branding gurus, but directly linking them to business outcomes. Things such as:
Stronger brands should have the ability to recognise the products their customers want, filling that demand faster and more regularly.
Superior brands should have the resources to makes things quicker and more economically than lesser known brand names.
Brand awareness should result in a much lower marketing expenditure, as high brand awareness makes it easier and cheaper to communicate to the public.
Viral and direct marketing efforts should work better than those of the competition. The brand should serve as an umbrella to make tactical marketing more effective.
When a brand is strong, customers should be willing to pay more for the brand attributes they are acquiring, looking at more than just functional qualities. The weaker the brand, the more functional qualities will pay an exclusive role.
The rate of customers who've experienced product failure, corporate crime or another negative impact related to the brand will be far less than less known brands in the same business category.
Bigger brands should have larger, more frequent, and profitable rates of return business than for weaker ones.
The cost of attracting and keeping staff should be less for strong brands.
Great brands should have more secure supply chains, lowering insurance exposure and raising expectations for reliable business performance.