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31 Mar. 2020 | Comments (0)

Michael Sussman, Ph.D. and CEO of the BAV Group and Sandrine Martin, Analytical Brand Strategist of the BAV Group joined JP Kuehlwein of The Conference Board to discuss how one can assess the “strength of a brand’s equity across time, categories, geographies, social media, and in people’s minds.”

Sussman and his team have spent decades focused on accumulating some ten billion data points on over 55,000 brands across the world, tracking their equity strength and correlating this information to financial and market performance, as well as the brand’s position in the social media world.

Every brand wants to be “real,” but today it’s more important than ever to see that defined quantitatively. BAV measures on four pillars of brand equity and momentum: differentiation, relevance, esteem, and knowledge. Researchers at BAV are constantly collecting data against 70 metrics that ladder up into the pillars above. Researchers also dig into 48 attributes (descriptors like helpful, charming, etc.) and consumer language. Marketing has always been a mix of both art and science, but we now have rigorous quantitative tools that should be utilized to make informed decisions on targeting, media mix, tone, and how to best implement relevant and disruptive data-driven creativity.

Social media must exist for the singular purpose of building a brand, not just “social for the sake of social.” It’s extremely important that marketing leaders are in tune with their brand DNA and connecting authentically with their customers online. For people who shop online, brand is a more decisive purchasing factor compared to consumers who shop at stores because they don’t have the opportunity to physically interact with the products. Brands that get caught up in a cycle of posting three times a day “just to post” risk diluting their essence and generating apathy from consumers. Brands should first look to the four pillars of equity; differentiation, relevance, esteem, and knowledge to determine their levels of social engagement. In the context of social media these attributes can be thought of as: vitality (passion in the online conversation), involvement (engagement in the online conversation), mood (viable respect for the brand driven by healthy discourse), and prominence (a brand’s online footprint measured by referrals and search), respectively. All brands have a different mix of these attributes and will naturally be stronger in some areas than others. However, the most successful players online typically have a healthy mix of all four traits.

Brands now live within culture just as much as they live in the minds of consumers. Products no longer talk at people – they communicate with us by jumping into, or even starting, cultural conversations. Most brands tend to move through four stages of public consciousness in a clockwise motion: Indifference (Myspace), Curiosity (Tesla), Commitment (Facebook), and Fatigue (Gap). But brands can disrupt and re-energize themselves at any stage of the cycle. It’s even possible for brands to maintain an evergreen space in the Commitment category (Nike & Disney) if they can remain disruptive without deviating from their essence and values.

The key to authentic disruption is to create a sense of tension A brand must be different while also being relevant, two things that are fundamentally at odds. Dr. Seuss was able to capture this paradoxical notion with “logical insanity,” Marilyn Monroe with seductive naivety, Swiffer by transforming the mundane chore of cleaning into a fun and exciting activity. Brands, products, and people with tension are much stickier in our minds and are more likely to withstand the test of time. When a brand can communicate this sense of friction it provides a springboard to position itself as purposeful in the broader context of a national, or even global, community. Any brand can achieve meaningful communications, but you must find your own unique tension. If Swiffer can make cleaning fun, anyone can succeed.

This blog is based on March 5, 2020 webcast Boosting Brand Strength: How to benchmark and strengthen brand equity, hosted by The Conference Board. To view the entirety of the webinar or download the presentation click here.

Don’t miss the next one! Register here to join us on April 16th for Beyond the Metrics: Creating Meaningful Engagement Through Communication. Live participants can ask questions and are eligible for one CPE credit.

  • About the Author:Kenzie Kline

    Kenzie Kline

    Kenzie Kline is a Manager of Executive Programs in the Marketing and Communications Center at The Conference Board. Her previous position was with Ogilvy & Mather as a brand strategist working for…

    Full Bio | More from Kenzie Kline


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