1. Characteristics of World-class Brands
l The brand excels at delivering the benefits customers truly desire
l The brand stays relevant
l The pricing system is based on consumer’s perceptions of value
l The brand is properly positioned
l The brand is consistent
l The brand portfolio and hierarchy make sense
l The brand makes use of and coordinates a full repertoire of marketing activities to build equity
l The brand’s managers understand what the brand means to consumers
l The brand is given proper support, and that support is sustained over the long run
l The company monitors sources of brand equity
2. Truth's Basic Research for Brand Equity
The single most important element of managing your brand is to have well defined and clearly differentiated brand equiy. This allows you to focus all of your company’s efforts and resources to building your ownership of that position and facilitates your brand being known for one compelling attribute in the mind of the customer.
Brand equity can be considered from the firm’s perspective and from the consumer’s. The firm-based viewpoint of brand equity focuses on outcomes extending from efforts to enhance a brand’s equity, such as achieving a higher market share, increasing brand loyalty and being able to charge premium prices. From consumer’s perspective, a brand possesses equity to the extent that consumers are familiar with the brand and have stored in their memory warehouses favorable, strong and unique brand associations. They are brand awareness and brand image.
Brand awareness - it is an issue of whether a brand name comes to mind when consumers think about a particular product category and the ease with which the name is evoked. It is the basic dimension of brand equity. Two levels of awareness: brand recognition and brand recall. Brand recognition reflects a relatively superficial level of awareness, whereas brand recall reflects a deeper form of awareness. Consumers may be able to identify a brand if it is presented to them on a list of if hints or cues are provided. However, few consumers are able to retrieve a brand name from memory without any reminders or cues. It is brand recall to which marketers aspire.
Brand image – types of associations that come to the consumer’s mind when contemplating a particular brand. An association is simply the particular thoughts and feelings that a consumer has about a brand. It can be conceptualized in terms of type, favorability, strengths and uniqueness. Types of brand associations include attributes (non-product-related / product-related), benefits (functional / symbolic / experiential) and overall evaluation (attitude).
3. Truth's Positioning Research for Building the Brand Equity
The classic brand equity statement, derived through brand positioning research, is a key tool to establishing a strong Brand Equity:
- Target Market = Who are you trying to attract?
- Competitive Value = From the target audience’s viewpoint, what are the relevant options they see to purchasing your brand?
- Unique Core Value = What makes your brand different and unique to the other brands in the competitive set?
- Supporting Value = What attributes and benefits support your claim?
We will use IMC Positioning research to build customer based brand equity. Tactically, we can build brand equity in three major ways:
(1) through the initial choice of the brand elements making up the brand,
(2) through marketing activities and the design of the marketing program, and
(3) through the leverage of secondary associations that link the brand to other entities.
Guidelines emerged in this picture for each of these approaches:
4. Truth's Auditing Research for the Health of Brand Equity
A brand auditing is a comprehensive examination of a brand, which involves activities to assess the health of the brand, uncover its sources of equity and suggest ways to improve and leverage that equity.
In making an informed strategic decision on brand management, it is important to learn what consumers know about the brands and products. Brand managers should then conduct a brand audit to gain new insights.
Brand audit is an in-depth look at all current aspects of your brand and its key competitors. This may also involve the relationship of your brand within its brand “family”. The process typically includes:
- one-on-one interviews on senior management and other key brand stakeholder.
- analysis of your existing research reports: reviewing issues, mining for 'hidden' information and insights; defining any information gaps.
- design and management of additional research into the needs and perceptions of customers, suppliers and employees.
Going through the process of brand audit, it not only increases your knowledge about the brand, but also helps to identify effective brand management strategies.
The content of brand audit will vary depending on the company’s requirement. The mindmap below shows the typical elements in a brand audit:
5. Truth's Tracking Research for Optimizing Brand Equity
Effective brand management relies on getting timely and accurate information from the target audiences. Brand tracking involves designing a program of measurement that is completed on a regular schedule to allow for trend analysis and comparison.
Conducting a brand track and audit will give you a baseline measurement of your key brand attributes. Periodic measurement of key brand elements then makes sure that your messaging and other actions are moving your brand in the right direction, or that you are maintaining a desired position. In either case, it is essential that you monitor the marketplace for successful brand management including reinforcement and revitalization:
Brand Equity position tracking research enhances your ability to develop a compelling and advantageous position by giving you accurate and timely information about these areas. Guessing what your customers might think about your brand will not work; knowing for sure will help you get it right the first time.