I often describe brands as living organisms. Like those organisms, brands change and evolve. Some are mortal and some could be described as immortal. As with any living thing, you have to check that it’s in good health and adapting well to its environment, if not, we make adjustments in order for it to thrive.
Many moons ago when I worked with Unilever brands, we attended a brand health meeting every month. The research company would present their findings on various checks that helped us keep our brands healthy and thriving. Sometimes they would give us the sad news that a brand was not thriving at all calling for us to make decisions on what to do with that prognosis.
The researchers would share information mapped against competitor brands on:
- Brand awareness – do consumers know of our brand?
- Band preferences – what proportion of the consumers would prefer to use our brand over competitors’
- Brand penetration – what proportion of the consumers that actually buy our brand
- Brand advocacy – would consumers recommend our brand?
- Market trends – what was happening in the market place e.g. how is the pandemic affecting consumer behaviour?
- Consumer spend – what’s in their shopping basket and why
- Consumer shopping habits – when do they buy, how often?
- Advert/message recall – do they remember what we say about our brands?
The research company would also arrange for us visit consumers in their homes, where we would spend the day with them observing as they went about their day and how they used and interacted with the products in their homes. All this to gather insights.
Insights. Insights. Insights.
The insights helped us keep a finger on our brands’ pulse. Was the brand in good shape? Was it healthy? Did we need to make adjustments to make the brands work better for the consumer? Were we communicating in a manner the consumer understood and resonated with? Did our communication help their purchase decision? What changes have an impact on our consumers and how they interact with our brand? What do we need to do to keep our brands fighting fit?
The insights shaped product and service innovation, product formulation changes, packaging changes, price adjustments, supermarket display strategy, advertising campaigns, changes in messaging, positioning adjustments, category shifts and more.
I can hear you saying, it’s all well and good for Unilever to do this, they have the budgets for such in-depth research. It’s a good investment to engage specialists and commission research. One big advantage is that you can tap into wider insights that the research company already has at their fingertips on your product category and market. You will have to work a bit harder to obtain those insights. The advantage is that it frees up your time to concentrate on other projects and priorities.
An organisation can easily keep track of their brand’s health. There is a plethora of information within the organisation already. Talking to the customer facing staff will give you insights on how your customers are experiencing your products and services. The sales teams pick up information as they interact with their network and can give you insights on what is happening in the market place. Your social media channels can tell you what customers saying about your brand to the rest of the world? Other checks you can to is to find out if your non customer facing staff know enough about your brand to tell their friends and family about it with ease? If the customer at the centre of your processes and the way you do business? Reporting systems can be put in place to continuously and consistently capture this information.
As marketers and senior leadership you can check if your brand:
- supports your business strategy?
- reflects what your organisation’s about?
- has impact and stand out?
- feels up to date?
- works well for your selling and marketing activity?
If majority of the answers to the above questions are, no. Then its time to review your brand and put in a call to someone like me to help you.