Brand is the marketing term that generates the most suspicion among CFOs. Considered intangible, the benefits of a strong brand strategy are less immediately visible than, say, a product improvement, or change in pricing.
Yet a strong brand can be a game-changer, generating loyalty and creating sustainable sales growth. Creating a strong brand is at once easier and harder than it used to be. The rise of new technologies means it is no longer sufficient for brands to talk to consumers via traditional advertising: instead, they need to create a dialogue with them.
What does this mean for brand strategy?
First, the multiplication of channels and conversations reinforces the importance of your brand platform.
Second, you need to measure – and monitor – your brand equity.
Third, better understanding of your brand, and what it means for your customers, enables you to identify the potential for brand extension.
The result is a cycle of continual improvement and growth.
Define your brand platform
A brand platform is a consensus between a company’s leaders and its customers on what the brand stands for. It sets out the brand’s identity, values, key messages, points of differentiation and visual presentation. As the base of all internal and external communications, it is vital to ensuring coherence. Unfortunately, it is all too frequently neglected.
Strategic Research guides companies through the process of creating and revising their brand platform. It is an in-depth, collaborative process based on extensive qualitative interviews with both management and customers, occasionally supplemented by quantitative research. Tools such as Strategy Canvas enable us to accurately pinpoint key differentiating factors for the brand, and their relevance to consumers.
The completed document enables companies to formulate a convincing sales pitch, and ensure that all future communications are aligned. The result: greater impact and return on investment.
Measure your brand equity
A brand’s value is notoriously hard to measure. We have developed a rigorous approach to accurately assess brand equity, based on our extensive experience, and refined over time.
Several stages are required for a brand to become successful. It must first build awareness, before becoming a brand customers are likely to consider, then buy; finally, it becomes the brand of choice. At each stage, the brand loses customers. The most successful brands retain the highest conversion rates from one stage to the next.
Brand equity is a quantified measurement of the brand’s overall strength in terms of functional and emotional benefits to consumers. To be successful, a brand must be associated with the benefits that are the most highly valued by consumers.
As markets become more mature, brands’ functional performance tend to converge, as weaker competitors disappear. Differentiation – the only way a brand can justify a higher price point – becomes about creating a stronger emotional link with consumers.
How far can your brand go?
Every brand is associated with a core product, an area in which it is seen to be legitimate. But strong brands can extend this legitimacy beyond their core product with no loss in coherence. Strategic Research has developed a series of approaches to measure the potential for a brand’s extension into new categories.