Measuring brand performance
“What is not measured is not managed”
Brand evaluation is vital to the success of the brand. It enables brand owners to see where the brand’s strengths and weaknesses lie and what forces are driving these, which in turn points to the nature and level of investment needed to fulfil the brand’s potential. Measuring brand performance is an integral part of brand management.
“The financial value of a brand is not interesting on its own; it’s what we can do to grow it that makes it interesting. The process of benchmarking a brand’s value involves understanding where that brand value comes from and supporting those areas to grow the strength of the brand.” [Shailendra Kumar, FutureBrand, 2001] If brand equity is rising, you’re investing in future performance, even if it’s not showing through in profits today. Brand equity
“The most valuable part of the brand ... the added value bit ... the bit that protects respectable margins and fills up the reservoirs of future cashflow ... the bit that distinguishes a brand from a mere product ... doesn’t belong to it. It belongs to the public.” [Jeremy Bullmore, British Brands Group, 2001] Ambler  defines brand equity as the sum total of learning about the brand by all stakeholders, including consumers, shareholders and employees. It includes all that people feel and think about the brand as a result of direct experience, word-of-mouth, moments-of-truth with the brand and the brand’s marketing activities. It constitutes a storehouse of future cash flow and profits.
The goal of the brand leadership paradigm is to create strong brands – but what is a stong brand, anyway? In Managing Brand Equity, brand equity was defined as the brand assets (or liabilities) linked to a brand’s name and symbol that add to (or subtract from) a product or service. These assets can be grouped into four dimensions: brand awareness, perceived quality, brand associations, and brand loyalty. These four dimensions guide brand development, management and measurement. 1.
Brand awareness is an often undervalued asset; however, awareness has been shown to affect perceptions and even taste. People like the familiar and are prepared to ascribe all sorts of good attitudes to items that are familiar to them. The Intel Inside campaign has dramatically transferred awareness into perceptions of technological superiority and market acceptance. 2.
Perceived quality is a special type of association, partly because it influences brand associations in many contexts and partly because it has been empirically shown to affect profitability (as measured by both ROI and stock return). 3.
Brand associations can be anything that connects the customer to the brand. It can include user imagery, product attributes, use situations, organisational associations, brand personality and symbols. Much of brand management involves determining what associations to develop and then creating programs that will link the associations to the brand. 4.
Brand loyalty is at the heart of any brand’s value.The concept is to strengthen the size and intensity of each loyalty segment. A brand with a small but intensely loyal customer base can have significant equity.
“I believe it to be an increasing human instinct – and an entirely understandable if highly dangerous one – to overvalue that which we can measure and undervalue that which we can’t. There is comfort to be found in figures: they give us a sense of certainty, however false, in an otherwise chaotic world.” [Jeremy Bullmore, British Brands Group, 2001]
Brand equity determines a brand’s health and strength as well as its financial value. Consistent measures of brand equity can helpunderstand a brand’s progress towards its goals. Although these measures need to be adapted to a particular business context and reflect the brand’s strategic milestones, Ambler recommends a mix of the following approaches:
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