Brand Measurement – An Approach for the Future
The Concept of Brand measurement Contextualised
What is a brand? Isn’t it simply a name, logo, tagline, advertising or some combination of these? Throughout my career, I’ve had to answer those or similar questions regularly, and the clearest and most concise answer we at SHIFT have developed is: ‘A brand is the promise both made and kept in realising a business’ purpose in accordance with its competitive advantage.’
Defined in this way, a brand is unquestionably an asset, adding value to and having an impact on all stakeholders when they engage with any of a business’ experience points; it is also the totality of those experiences delivered to both internal and external stakeholders. Understanding that a brand is more than a visual or verbal identity permits businesses and their partners to consider how best to deliver a reliable and repeatable experience, one which builds trust and, ultimately, profitability. How do they assess, maintain or even improve this delivery over time, though? Brand measurement.
In light of the above, brand measurement is an indispensable tool for tracking performance to drive business success, in terms of both reputation and profitability, through customer experience. The role of brand measurement is irrefutably important, therefore, in auditing and quantifying a business’ success in making and keeping its promises. It further assures accountability for businesses seeking to maximise impact throughout all their customer experiences.
A Misunderstood Concept
Despite the importance of brand measurement, it is often misunderstood by businesses at large. What’s more, traditional approaches to measurement are also no longer adequate for those seeking lasting and sustainable business growth and success in today’s world. Among the most common misconceptions about brand measurement is that it’s impossible. Because brands are intangible assets and largely subjective, any form of measurement is considered impossible.
SHIFT’s definition of brand earlier shows that it actually is a definable and solid concept. From that foundation, I hold brand measurement to be the metric delineating the market’s point of view on whether a business has delivered in a meaningful, purposeful and actionable way on what it is authentically best at – its competitive advantage. Thus understood, businesses find themselves in a far better position to grasp why and how to measure their brand, a process not only possible but vital.
In addition, brand measurement is often conflated with measuring marketing effectiveness despite brand being a longer term investment than marketing, communication or promotion. Added to these misconceptions is the belief that a brand measurement study is the same as a satisfaction survey, which it patently is not.
Marketing and brand are not the same. The measurement of marketing effectiveness, while incredibly important, can be limited, often focusing on specific instances of tactical marketing activity. Brand measurement, however, should take a long-term approach. Realising a business’ purpose and its competitive advantage through a holistic customer experience strategy requires an investment of time and a mindset transcending delimited customer satisfaction.
Brand Measurement – A Tool for the Future
With those misconceptions dispelled, how, then, is it possible to measure brand success? The realm of business has changed and will continue to do so over the decades to come. From an outdated top-down engagement where stakeholders are presented with systems, services and products as designed by companies, current business trends have moved towards a more user-centric and experiential engagement at various points along the customer journey. This necessitates a synergy between all stakeholders in a business, whether internal or external. The measurement of brand success must, therefore, also evolve if it is to be of use in this holistic approach to design and delivery. To do so, any company undertaking brand measurement needs to take several factors into account in order to understand its inherent value.
From the start, brand measurement must account for the full business experience, specifically stakeholders’ perceived delivery on the business’ competitive advantage across all engagement points: people, products, systems, processes and communication. Said otherwise, any impactful brand measurement tool must be capable of providing meaningful metrics, ensuring the quantification of a brand’s impact and its potential for growth across all variables both inside and outside the business.
With this in mind, the true value of brand measurement becomes clear: by knowing where a business currently stands, it is possible to undertake pragmatic long-term planning, including the potential for interventions and underscoring the need for accountability. Crucially, brand measurement is at its core a diagnostic tool not only focused on a business’ present circumstances but also on its future growth in both its reputation and profitability.
Undeniably, users’ points of view must inform brand measurement. Guided by design thinking best practice, business success in the contemporary market landscape is grounded in being user-centric across all experience points; it is impossible to preclude this element from any brand measurement tool. Therefore, meaningful and valuable brand measurement should focus on targeted user experiences from those who have had a genuine engagement with the business’ experience points. The goal of this is to measure whether a brand is aligning with and delivering on its purpose, competitive advantage and overall experience strategy.
The Key to Measuring Success
Regardless of the misconceptions surrounding both brand and brand measurement, brand measurement is not impossible; in fact, it is crucial. However, this cannot be achieved without a clear understanding not only of the process, itself, but of those variables which constitute the metric. Brand transcends both visual and verbal identity; brand measurement comprises a holistic approach to quantifying a business’ success. By approaching brand measurement in this way, businesses are able to bring about meaningful impact while engaging in authentic transformation.
So, while brand measurement is irrefutably important, the right measurement variables are far more critical.
Ready to unlock the full potential of your brand and drive lasting success through customer-centric design and brand measurement? Contact SHIFT Brand Design Agency today to explore how we can help you maximize impact, build trust, and achieve meaningful transformation.