How Is Your Brand Health?
“How healthy is our brand and what kind of return are we receiving?” This common question looms in the minds of marketers far and wide who wrestle with this on a regular basis. As we begin 2018 and reflect back on 2017, we will inevitably consider each phase of our marketing mix and ask this very question. Upon reflection, it becomes a fair bit more challenging to evaluate how well people are adopting our brand or further yet, verifying if it is supporting what we stand for. So let’s look at one option for the question of “How do I measure our brand?” Here are some simple litmus tests that can be used to measure how "sticky" our brand is... and the health of our brand.
Try this test to give you a rough sketch of your brand, inside your four walls and beyond. Without telling anyone in advance, ask key players inside your organization to write down two sentences. First, ask them to write down one sentence that describes your brand. Secondly, have your team write down what makes your organization different than your competitors. Once everyone has turned in the two sentences, it is time to compare notes. It will be abundantly clear if everyone is on the same page or if there are large or small gaps in understanding on the team. This provides a great opportunity to align the team vision and get everyone on the same page. This is a quick and simple method to spark conversation among everyone participating and for leadership to clarify the direction.
In similar fashion you could do the same exercise with some key clients and even some key prospects. In this scenario, you could accomplish this face to face, via a phone interview, focus group, or doing an online survey. If you get a cross section of each demographic you want to reach, the results can really deliver some gut level information that allows you to make some pretty quick adjustments to your brand and marketing messaging. The cost to pull these tests off can be higher, but it does not have to be astronomically high. In the same regard, you will have to have an incentive that will get the right people agreeing to participate.
To survey clients and prospects alike, you might consider doing the survey at one of your trade shows. They work pretty well because you will have clients and prospects present at the same venue. The best part of this is they come to you! This helps to contain costs because they are already there on the show floor. The average stay in your exhibit space is 3-5 minutes [according to the Center For Exhibition and Industry Research] and if you want to extend that in order to get a survey completed, you will have to have an appropriate incentive to pull this off. With your target audience there already, the incentive may not need to be as expensive because they don’t really have to go too far out of their way.
After gathering the results of these tests, you may find out that you have to provide some additional clarity to certain groups. This may require adjusting your tag line messaging for instance… or adding a tag line to help provide brand clarity. One side note on tag lines and similar positioning statements… avoid words that have become so over used that they carry little meaning. Words such as: Quality, Customer Service, Excellence, Selection or Value. These are words that generally sound good, but really mean very little to your audience, or any audience. If these words are present in your organization, consider doing a word search and changing them to better communicate more descriptive words. For instance consider two contrasting tag lines that could be used for the same company. Tag line number one is “Fast shipping with excellent customer service.” To contrast, tag line number two is “When it absolutely, positively, has to be there overnight.” Both could be used by a shipping company and of course we recognize the second tag line made famous by Federal Express. Interestingly, both tag lines are very similar, except the first one contains several clichés that mean very little and the second spells it out in a very descriptive, sticky way. Set it to a jingle and you have a winner.