Brand health can be defined as the metrics that determine how effective your brand is and how it’s perceived by customers.
To evaluate your brand’s health, you need to pay attention to all aspects of your brand’s presence including brand awareness, brand reputation, brand equity, employee engagement and brand positioning. By judging each aspect, you’ll get a good idea of your brand’s overall health.
Why measure brand health?
A strong brand can help you achieve your business goals by enabling you to reach new customers and increase brand awareness. In fact, for over 70% of brand managers building an audience is more valuable today than direct sales. Customers choose one brand over another every day, searching for the best option that will meet their wants and needs. There are several things that can sway this decision including:
- Online reviews
- Brand reputation
- Employee engagement
- Brand awareness
A healthy brand is one of the most important assets your business can have — it will differentiate you from competitors and set you apart. B2B companies with strong brands generate a higher EBIT margin than others, and the average revenue increase attributed to consistent branding is 33%.
Looking at the bigger picture and measuring your brand’s health can help you identify any weaknesses and areas where you can improve to better engage customers. It can also help you identify your brand’s strengths, giving you a blueprint for developing a brand strategy. Take the time to measure the factors listed above to get a full view of your brand’s health.
If you need a place to start, follow this scale to determine where your brand’s health falls:
- Unhealthy brand: Your brand is damaging your business. If this is the case, you’ll need to act quickly to make improvements.
- Average brand health: Develop a set of improvements to incorporate into your business.
- Healthy brand: Focus on keeping things as they are, but also take the time to look at innovations to become an industry leader.
Reasons for declining brand health
There are many reasons why your brand health could be failing. If you’re dealing with an unhealthy brand, you may find it’s suffering from one of the following market problems:
- Your brand has been reduced to a commodity.
- You’re playing in a dying market.
- You’ve ignored brand health for too long and signs of fatigue are popping up.
- Your brand has expanded into too many markets, losing its essence.
- Your brand is stuck in the past and hasn’t evolved with new buyers.
- Your brand’s focus is too narrow.
- Your brand has become stale and doesn’t create excitement with employees or customers.
To help you diagnose your brand’s health and find where it falls on the scale, look at quantitative data along with qualitative. This can include asking yourself if your customers believe your brand stays true to its original values. If so, are these values in harmony with the values of your customers? Ask yourself these other questions to help diagnose your brand:
- Are your products solving pain points and delivering value?
- How compelling is your brand’s positioning compared to competitors?
- Is your brand consistent in customer experience, product value and marketing?
- Has your brand’s value proposition and messaging become less desirable?
Unfortunately, many marketing executives may not pick up on the problem with their brand’s health until something sets off an alarm. This can throw a business into a panic, causing poor decisions to be made. Pay attention to the data rather than relying on knee-jerk reactions to solve the problem.
If your brand health needs a boost, start with a game plan by setting goals.
How to measure brand health
Consider these four areas when assessing the health of your brand:
1. Brand awareness
Brand awareness is how familiar consumers are with the image or qualities of your brand. Healthy brands will have high brand awareness along with positive buzz around the brand (e.g., someone tweeting about how much they love your product).
Internet monitoring tools can analyze each mention of your products and show you the grand total of mentions both negative and positive, as well as give you an estimate of how many people your brand reaches through social media.
2. Brand positioning
Even well-known brands will start to see their brand health decline due to outdated brand positioning. As markets shift and emerging markets re-shape the competitive landscape, positioning that once built a strong brand can fall flat. Most brands have to revisit their brand positioning every few years to ensure their message is meeting the needs of the market and effectively differentiating them from their competitors.
3. Brand consistency
Brand consistency doesn’t simply mean using the same logo on all of your products, services and channels. It can also include consistency in responses to customers’ problems, packing and shipping, and the overall tone of your brand’s voice. A lack of consistency leads to a poor customer experience, decreased brand trust and declining customer loyalty.
Here are a few ways to know if your brand is inconsistent.
- Your marketing copy is written in a casual and playful tone, but when someone emails your customer service reps with a question, they receive a very formal reply.
- Your website boasts free and easy returns, but customers have to call one of your representatives to get a return label — they can’t do it themselves online.
- Your art directors don’t have a clear brand style guide, and as a result, your brand colors are often in different color palettes.
4. Employee engagement
This can be the hardest aspect of brand health to gauge. In its simplest form, employee engagement is how passionate your employees are about their job. This passion can be a direct result of leadership’s skills and engagement with the brand.
Are you succeeding in inspiring your employees so they’re committed to your organization and their job? Do you suffer from constant turnover? High employee engagement can result in a higher ROI, a better work culture and a more efficient organization overall.
Brand Health Metrics
To get a holistic view of your brand’s health, there are a few brand metrics you can utilize.
How does your brand behave overall? Do your actions and your employees’ behavior align with your brand promise? Creating a strong and consistent brand position starts with creating an internal company culture that aligns with that position.
Some specific items to measure:
- How many employees know and understand your brand position?
- Are employees perceptions of the brand consistent with your stated brand position?
- Do employees interact with customers in a way consistent with your brand promise and positioning?
- Are executives fully committed to the brand position and supportive of branding efforts?
Brand health can basically come down to perception. Perception metrics look at the way a brand is viewed by its customers along with other key stakeholders. In other words, how is your brand perceived in the marketplace? What feelings does your brand invoke? What do customers believe about your brand?
By measuring customers’ perceptions of your brand, you can discover where your brand stands in the market compared to your competition. You can also determine whether customers follow through with purchasing your product, if they recommend your company to others or if they turn to your competition.
Through things like brand funnels, you can measure if customers are aware of your brand along with its relevance to them. A brand funnel tracks people’s relationship to your brand from the wide top of the funnel where people are aware of your brand to the bottom of the funnel where they love your brand so much, they recommend it to their friends.
The brand funnel
- Awareness: People have seen your brand around.
- Interest: People are interested and consider your brand among others when making a choice.
- Preference: Your brand is preferred over others.
- Purchase: People actually buy your product/service.
- Advocacy: Customers love your brand and recommend it to people they know.
There are a number of metrics executives can use to identify how customers feel about their brands and whether customer’s sentiments match the brand’s stated brand promise.
Net Promoter Score
Your Net Promoter Score (NPS) measures how loyal customers are to your brand. On a scale from -100 to 100, it asks how likely customers are to recommend your brand to others.
Customer Effort Score
A Customer Effort Score (CES) measures how hard or easy it is for customers to interact with your brand when they have a question or need a problem resolved.
Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) is exactly what it sounds like and is measured on a five-point scale from extremely unsatisfied to extremely satisfied.
Net Trust Score
Your Net Trust Score (NTS) is similar to NPS, but measures how much customers trust your brand based on their interactions over time.
Brand equity is the ultimate measure of brand health since it assigns financial value to the brand awareness and customer sentiment you’ve worked to build for your brand.
There are several models executives can use to calculate the financial value of their brand. Cost-based and market-based valuation both center on how much it would cost for an individual buyer, investor or market to purchase the brand or build it from the ground up. Income-based is a more forward-thinking measure that focuses on the amount of revenue a brand can generate were it to continue at its current trajectory.
How healthy is your brand today? Take the quiz to identify your brand health score.