Building and effectively managing brand equity is a priority for firms of all shapes and sizes across various industries and markets. After all, a strong brand presence is the foundation of customer loyalty and consistent profitability.
The problem is, not every firm owner can objectively assess their brand's unique strengths and weaknesses. Most are aware of several areas in which their brand excels, as well as those that could use some improvement. Many, however, would understandably find it tough to identify all the various factors required to create a positive impact.
Immersing yourself in your brand’s day-to-day management can make it difficult to focus on aspects that affect the whole. Regular evaluations and assessments can help you avoid losing sight of the bigger picture, and keep your brand image relevant and fresh.
Relevant Questions to Ask During Brand Assessment
Refreshing your brand can be a fun process when you adopt a proactive approach instead of acting from a place of crisis. This necessitates frequently measuring your company's performance in this aspect with as much objectivity as possible.
Here are some questions every firm owner should consider when assessing their brand:
1. Have you defined all the relevant metrics?
To ascertain if your brand is just where you want it to be, try to look at multiple quantitative metrics such as:
- Brand Awareness - Whether people are aware of who you are, and what your firm does
- Brand Equity - The value you achieve (or lose), thanks to the connections your target audience have with your brand
- Brand Sentiment - The emotion that clients attach to your brand
Decide how you want to measure each of the metrics you choose, collect quantitative data, and analyze it.
2. Have you discussed your brand strategy with your team?
Your team members will most likely have opinions on how branding should take place. It's a good idea to have one-on-one discussions with your firm's brand stakeholders, including core executives and anyone involved in marketing.
Depending on your firm's size and hierarchy, you may also want to speak with client-facing employees. If any inconsistencies exist between how your firm is and how it presents itself, these individuals will know.
These discussions will provide you with a clear idea of what your brand means to specific team members. The added benefit is that you will get employee buy-in, which is crucial. Plus, if you decide to rebrand later, you will want everyone to be on the same page from the get-go.
3. Have you asked your target audience?
This process aims to find out what your clients see in your brand, what their emotional connections are, and the things they appreciate about it. Determine how your target audience (potential clients) perceives your business. Consider conducting surveys and doing live focus groups.
Ask every group the same questions, and then observe how they unpack and discuss your brand. Focus groups are likely to bring up questions you had never considered. Create survey questionnaires based on things you have learned from various focus groups.
A broad survey will help you get a more extensive dataset for practical analysis. Include questions like:
- Do you recognize this brand?
- If so, how do you perceive it?
- If not, what do you believe this firm does?
- What does the feel/look of their ads tell you about their personality?
- How does the firm’s logo make you feel?
Many services allow you to conduct traditional name recognition surveys. These surveys provide you with details including what percentage of your target audiences recognizes your brand. If you know that you don't have extensive brand awareness yet, this is the best place to start. Get a benchmark, set your goal, and get started on achieving it.
4. Is your brand relevant?
In a strong brand, brand equity ties with the service or product quality and various intangible factors such as:
- User imagery - The type of client that uses the brand
- Usage imagery - The brand’s personality (competent, reliable, solid, professional, and more)
The emotion your brand elicits in clients, and the type of relationship you seek to build with them, are other aspects that contribute to brand relevance. Without losing sight of your core strengths, you need to tweak your intangibles. This approach will help you reflect contemporary trends, while simultaneously staying on your service’s leading edge.
5. Is your brand consistent?
Maintaining brand visibility involves striking the perfect balance between changes necessary to stay relevant and continuity in your marketing activities. Continuity means that your brand’s image doesn’t get lost in the noise of marketing efforts that confuse clients due to conflicting messages.
It’s crucial to make good use of all your resources and take extra care to ensure that your brand’s essence is the same across the board. Create a strategy that showcases your firm brilliantly and consistently across all marketing activities, including social media advertising, promotions, direct response, and interactive media.
6: Have you determined the delta?
When you are benchmarking, you must also analyze and aggregate all the brand information you have collated. This step will provide you with visibility of your brand’s current condition. If your firm is still green, and you don't have a good idea of where you would like your branding to be, conduct a thorough internal brand workshop.
The time you invest into doing this will likely provide more clarity, keep you on track with your end goal, and help you determine the delta. Set concrete deadlines and measurable goals. The objective of this process is to determine what's working and discard what isn't.
Follow Through On Changes and Track Performance Annually
Most firms rarely need complete rebranding. It's more likely that you will want to implement a few minor brand refreshes from time to time. Things to consider might be retiring an inconsistent or redundant campaign, retouching your logo, or updating your message map. If you turn this into an annual activity, you will maintain brand relevance without much disruption and hassle.
The true key to success lies in handling how your brand performs on various attributes, and then evaluating changes from all the possible perspectives. Follow through decisively on the things you've learned from your assessment efforts, and you will be well on your way to branding success.