To keep your brands healthy, you need to measure their performance on several factors. First, what is the basic awareness of the brand? You need to conduct market research to measure the percentage of people that recognize the brand when shown the logo or hear the name of the brand. Basic awareness is especially important within your target audience, so be sure to direct your marketing research effort to those specific customers.
After basic awareness, you also want to measure how well the target audience understands the brand. Can they tell you what the brand stands for? Do they understand its distinctive qualities and characteristics? What do they associate the brand with and how closely does it match with your core promise and brand drivers? You may have a very broad awareness of the brand, but if customers aren’t understanding it the right way, then you need to go back and either sharpen the drivers or communicate your brand more effectively.
Finally, you want to measure how well the brand is creating customer loyalty. For this, you measure customer retention rates or repeat purchases. Or, you might measure how likely they are to recommend the brand to others. If you find yourself slipping in customer loyalty, it could be a sign of several things. First, the brand might be losing relevance. It might not be delivering benefits that are important anymore to the customer. Or, the brand lacks differentiation, the degree to which customers perceive the brand to have a differentiated positioning distinctive from the competition. Or finally, it could be a problem with consistency, in terms of how well the brand delivers across all touchpoints. If you’re inconsistent in keeping the promise, people lose trust.
Now, these are all external factors that you measure out in the marketplace. You should also measure a few key internal indicators. For example, measure the clarity that employees have about what the brand stands for and its values and positioning. How well do your employees understand the target audiences, customer insights, and drivers? Your employees are the ones who keep the promise, so they have to have a clear understanding of it.
Be sure to measure the commitment your company has to the brand in terms of how much support it gets. Is it getting its share of the budgets and investments needed to keep it strong? Are key individuals devoting enough time to it versus other brands or programs?
Finally, try to assess how well protected the brand is. Are other companies infringing on your trademarks or designs? Are others taking unfair advantage of your brand by violating your patents or proprietary methods and materials? You’ve invested a lot to create and manage the brand, so it’s essential that you keep others from diluting it.
If you measure these factors routinely, you’ll be able to spot trends and head off any problems with your brand before they happen.