The concept of “brand health” initially feels intuitive and easy to understand. After all, we are very familiar with human health, so by association can we not think about Brand Health in a similar way? Human health is often thought of as being without sickness. The Merriam – Webster dictionary defines health as “the condition of being sound in body, mind, or spirit.”
At MMR Research we are concerned with brand health. Our brand health approach, what we call Brand Vitality™, considers a brand’s well-being as the condition of the brand being sound in Brand Presence, Brand Distinction, and Brand Momentum. Combined, understanding these three aspects ensures that you know the vitality of your brand.
Brand Vitality™ at MMR Research Associates
The first pillar in the Brand Vitality™ approach, Brand Presence, addresses how well known your brand is in the marketplace. Traditional measures such as unaided awareness, aided awareness, trial and usage, and familiarity are foundational components of a brand’s presence.
The second pillar, Brand Differentiation, focuses on the way your brand is viewed in the marketplace. What does your brand stand for in the eyes of the consumers? Is your brand recognized as one of the best? Does it stand for something different? Here, brand imagery attributes are critical and often include items such as quality, service, value, innovation, and community involvement. Brands that are highly and appropriately differentiated can command a premium price, and surprising loyalty.
The third pillar, Brand Momentum, measures the trend of your brand’s vitality. Is the brand gaining strength, losing strength or is it steady state? Common measures are willingness to recommend, consideration, purchase intent, and hearing more positive/ negative things lately. Additionally, we can add social media analytics as an option.
While there are many common metrics (weight, blood pressure, cholesterol level…) used to evaluate people’s health, there are other metrics that may be critical for some, but not others (blood sugar levels, white blood cell counts, sleep patterns). This is also true when measuring the vitality of a brand. Two brands using our approach will likely have many metrics in common, but each may have several unique metrics, specific and important to their brand, but not the other brand. This is especially true for brands in different categories and life stages.
Unlike in human health, a disproportionate increase in the vitality of a competing brand may be dangerous to your brand’s health. That is why some of our metrics are a relative measurement of key competitors. While there are exceptions where general category vitality increases perhaps led by one or two brands can lift other brands, typically a brand grows at the expense of other brands.
Time for a check-up?
One Brand Vitality™ study is a snapshot in time. It highlights strengths, and exposes weaknesses and opportunities that may prompt changes in marketing programs and expenditures. The real value results from repeated measurement over time to see how, if at all, various marketing, brand building and sales efforts are paying off. Using the Brand Vitality System™ your brand’s health will not only be thoroughly evaluated and monitored, but guided to improved sales/market share as your brand matures.
Just as with human health, it is important to maintain healthy habits and monitor well-being with periodic check-ups. The MMR Brand Vitality System™ can help you monitor your brand’s well-being, reviewing Presence, Distinction and Momentum to keep the brand healthy and growing.