Your brand is one of the most important ways you have of convincing customers to spend their money with you. It’s the character customers build from every different interaction they have with your business (or hear about: word of mouth is a potent force) which allows they to relate with it on a human level, to feel affectation, loyalty and all those positive associations that turn occasional shoppers into regular customers.
Understanding the core of your brand – what your customers see in your business – is vital for making the right decisions at difficult times: if you look at the Lego business strategy since 2017 it’s all about finding success by returning to the first principles of their brand, and making sure they could do for customers what their customers expected: put Lego in children’s hands.
The solution to both issues, understanding your brand and quantifying its value, is in market research.
What is Your Brand?
The first thing you need to understand is that your customers tell you what your brand is. You might try to influence their perception of your business’ identity, but as customers construct your brand from the pieces you give them (in your marketing materials, and from their experience in store, online and every other place they interact with your business), you need to listen to them to get an accurate idea of its strengths and weaknesses.
A brand tracker survey can help you here. This asks consumers to rate your brand for the key characteristics that define success in your industry, both in absolute terms, and relative to your rivals. This helps you to understand what customers think of your business, and whether their impression diverges from yours. If, for example, you think you provide good value for money, but your customers don’t, and it’s not part of your brand identity, you need to make some changes in your marketing material to help highlight the value of your offering!
Quantifying Brand Value
A good market research company can help you quantify the strength and value of your brand, so you can track how well it helps to bring in customers, and the effects your other decisions have on your brand. This lets you adopt brand performance based marketing, where you focus on strengthening your brand, and review campaigns based on the benefit or harm to your brand.
The key metrics for assessing the strength of a brand are unprompted recall, or ‘have they heard of you?’; purchase intention (‘are they going to spend money with you?’); and NPS or Net Promoter Score (‘will they recommend you to their friends?’).
Actions that improve these metrics boost your brand strength, and actions that reduce them harm it, so tracking them can lead you to a better understanding of how your decisions affect your brand.