For marketers and advertisers, developing and building a brand is all about connecting with consumers. Successful brands have an identity; whether that be the perception of trust, reliability, or a positive feeling; they can have a personality or convey purpose, and consumers stay loyal to the brands they relate to. Marketers, therefore, take great pains to cultivate their brand and monitor brand perceptions. Regular feedback from customers is essential to maintaining a successful brand and measuring brand health.
Brand association tests are one of the best ways to monitor and measure your brand is perceived. This can be achieved through regular research and survey work:
By employing surveys, you have a way to collect a consistent and measurable metric for understanding customer sentiment. You will want to measure brand attributes that are integral to your brand, but also for your industry as well. Additionally, you will want to monitor the brand perceptions of your competitors. This way you can assess your standing in the marketplace; your strength and weaknesses, and your competitor’s strength and weaknesses.
Brand Purchase Funnel
In 1961, Robert Lavidge and Gary Steiner developed the “Hierarchy of effects” model. More than half a century later, this is still very much an influential model, and marketers have adapted it to develop the brand purchase funnel. The brand purchase funnel is an additional set of metrics that can be used to monitor brand health. But instead of measuring consumer perception about a brand’s identity and attributes, it measures how the brand is performing to drive sales and customer loyalty. The brand purchase funnel posits that a consumer’s relationship to a brand will occur in stages. There is some variation on the definition of those stages, but generally speaking, a consumer’s relationship to a brand evolves towards increasing levels of intimacy – up to the point where the consumer develops brand loyalty and becomes a regular purchaser of that brand.
- Stage 1: Awareness – A consumer must first become aware of a brand or product before having any sort of relationship with it.
- Stage 2: Have Considered – Once a consumer is aware of a brand, they may develop positive feelings or attitudes toward it. As a consequence, they may consider purchasing that brand.
- Stage 3: Ever Tried – After some consideration, the consumer then may try or purchase the brand.
- Stage 4: Most Preferred – This is the last and final stage of the purchase funnel. Here a person has tried a brand and has developed loyalty towards it, becoming a regular purchaser of it. It is their preferred brand.
Like the brand attributes, the brand purchase funnel metrics can be captured through surveys. (Figure 1). And all of your brand data can be reported as a scorecard to encapsulate the health of your brand and where it falls in the market place relative to other brands. Figures 2 and 3, for example, shows how Brand A dominates its market with a brand that has strong equity as ‘the place to go for drinks’ and ‘having a good time.’
Which of these casual dining restaurants have you heard of?
Have you considered eating at any of these casual dining restaurants?
Which of these casual dining restaurants have eaten at in the past three months?
Which casual dining restaurant do you most prefer?
Figure 1: You can capture brand purchase funnel metrics by surveying consumers using a simple series of questions.
Figure 2: A brand purchase funnel reports the different stages of a consumer’s purchase relationship to a brand. Brand A clearly leads the market in customer loyalty. Effective sales, marketing, and advertising can help drive the purchase funnel metrics for brands that lag.
Figure 3: Using a brand association test, we can survey consumers about their perceptions of each brand. The data results allow us to map and see the equity space that each occupies.
Understanding how your brand is perceived in the marketplace is important toward developing and executing your brand strategy. You must survey consumers to understand your brand equity and consumer loyalty towards it. Furthermore, these things change over time. Outside of your sales and marketing strategy, brand perceptions are also impacted by the external market or seasonal demands. Thus, measuring the health of your brand isn’t something you do once or twice, but on a regular basis. Brand health studies, in fact, are often conducted as trackers, allowing you to track your brand’s progress over time. Monitoring gains or losses in brand perceptions during advertising campaigns, current events, or competitive pressures help you assess the impact of these events in the marketplace and helps you stay informed on how your brand is connecting with customers.