Asssessing brand strength
Lenovo has a well-established process for assessing the strength, or otherwise, of its brands. Once each quarter, the company measures various elements of brand image and strength in ten countries. These range from awareness at the top level, where consumers are asked to name all the PC companies they know of, to recall image, image, consideration (ie, which brands you would consider if you were going to buy a PC) and a number of other metrics.
Merrigan says he is largely satisfied with the methodologies that exist to assess the performance of a brand, including the brand value reports produced by Interbrand. But with the increasing influence of the internet, he would like to see some changes. One is a methodology for modelling how changes in brand strength can affect changes in a brandâs share of a market.
The other is a means of coming to terms with the power of the internet to influence the perception and performance of a brand.
âI think there needs to be a predictive capability for how quickly you can build your brand and what are the associated investments that need to be made,â? he say. âThe fundamentals of brand value have been the same for some time, but now new brands can be built and destroyed almost overnight, and the web is a substantial factor in this, so I think we need to become more sophisticated in anticipating how this might happen.â?
Initiativeâs Gee, meanwhile, says that he would like to see companies putting more effort and money into measuring the quality of the relationships they have with their customers.
âSimple U&A (understanding and awareness) measures such as awareness/trial/adopotion/repeat purchase donât tell us much about the quality (ie, depth and strength) of the relationshipâ?, says Gee. âWhereâs the value in research that tells us what the âaverageâ buyer looks like? If I were BMW, Iâd want to know whoâs desperate to get into one of my cars, and how best to make that happen. Iâd probably also like to know who thinks my brand is for losers and wouldnât be seen dead in one â and how many others there are who think like that. Tracking the balance of love and hate is far more interesting than watching mean numbers flatline along the graph.â?
Brands will always exist, and companies will always do what they can to build and nurture them. But in the Web 2.0 world, where everyone has a voice and companies are, to some extent, losing control of the influence they have over their brands , the challenge for market research is to develop new metrics that give brand owners a clear view of how well â or how badly â they are performing.
This article origianlly appeared in Research World June 2007. It was written by David Murphy.