The Path to Better Brand Health: A Holistic Approach

Published May 26, 2021

Toluna,

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Just as we go to the doctor to monitor our overall health,  taking a proactive approach to address any issues, businesses must proactively monitor their brand health on a continuous basis to troubleshoot and grow.

But traditional brand health measurement just doesn’t cut it in today’s world. Why? Because of new challenges that businesses face, from the unprecedented pace of consumer change to competitive innovation across industries.

These pressures aren’t easing up anytime soon, so it’s up to brands to modernize or risk being left behind. A more holistic approach is the way forward, and here’s why.

Brands must change to keep up with consumers (and each other).

Sweeping consumer changes were — and still are — a profound impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. People everywhere have been facing financial concerns and have shifted their spending habits as a result. Consumers are viewing the world in new ways, and expecting far more from the brands they choose and support.

They’re also more willing to research, try, and evaluate new brands. This presents a new challenge for established brands and a new opportunity for competing brands to understand, communicate with, and win over these customers.

In addition to changes in spending and demanding more from brands, consumers are also evolving all the time. Their needs, habits, and opinions are ever-changing, and if brands aren’t in tune with these critical changes, they can’t effectively reach their target audience.

Say goodbye to traditional brand health measurement.

It’s not enough to guess how consumers feel or what they want. Brand health metrics must be agile enough to keep pace with consumer change, support informed decision-making, and remain relevant.

Brands relying on brand health metrics that are rear-facing and take weeks to update can quickly become out of touch with consumer sentiment toward their brand. This presents a risk for lost customers, sales, and growth opportunities while allowing competitors to gain precious market share.

A holistic program introduces a set of key health pillars that brands are scored against using a brand tracker, with detailed metrics behind each pillar. The result is a full, diagnostic analysis of what’s driving brand health, where to take action, addressing weaknesses, and making the most of opportunities.

Meet the must-haves for better brand health.

What elements of a holistic approach do leading CMOs of successful brands value most? Experts agree these are key factors to a successful program:

  • Future relevance and vitality metrics: Determines how the brand is expected to perform against consumer expectations, and whether they’re fostering a sense of excitement and belonging (important to today’s consumer)
  • Consumer engagement: Offers an understanding of how well the brand is engaging in a two-way conversation, as well as considering and using consumer feedback
  • Linking brand metrics and marketing outcomes: Assesses and improves the impact of performance and campaigns while re-confirming the brand health program’s ROI
  • Competitive understanding: Empowers brands to stay ahead of opportunities and threats through ongoing benchmarking with established and emerging competitors
  • Highly actionable outputs: Provides a granular and diagnostic view of the brand and category competitors’ strengths, weaknesses, and shifting positions over time
  • Program agility and automation: Delivers timely results to enable impactful decisions faster and adapt quickly to fast-moving developments

Brand equity and future relevancy are key to success.

A more holistic brand health picture means ranking brands as Strong, Building, Compelling, or Challenging against their brand equity and knowledge as well as their future relevancy.

Strong brands are ones with high current equity and penetration. They’re not perceived as being relevant to consumers in the future and tend to have medium to low vitality.

Compelling brands tend to be mass-market with high future relevance. These brands also perform well in terms of vitality.

Building brands have low equity and low penetration with low future relevance, and their vitality score also tends to be small.

Challenging brands are challenging the status quo, and are often niche with good equity but low penetration. These brands possess very high vitality and are considered future-proofed.

In a study of social platforms in the UK, U.S., and United Arab Emirates, brand health varies per individual landscape. For example, the Facebook family of brands and WhatsApp have high future relevancy and vitality in the UK, where YouTube takes the lead in the U.S., with WhatsApp being viewed as more of a challenger. UAE perceptions are more linear in general, although Instagram isn’t seen to have as much future relevancy as it does in the UK and U.S.

These insights provide a better understanding of how these brands are performing and where they should focus.

Put a more holistic approach to work for you.

In considering a holistic brand health approach for your business, it’s important to ask who your target audience and key competitors are, as well as any market differences that could influence your outcomes. Also think about your own custom brand attributes and questions to add, to provide further diagnostics and actionability based on your overall brand position and opportunity.

An enhanced brand tracking model empowers brands to grow with consumers and consider the whole relationship. A holistic brand health approach will help you understand where you’re at, what opportunities are out there, and how you stack up against the competition moving forward.

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