Measure branding through the Brand Pyramid approach

In this blog post, a branding measurement tool, called the Brand Pyramid, is introduced. It is an approach originally created by Millward Brown (Millward Brown, n.d.). I attended an event organized by the Amsterdam Finance Club and encountered Jan Oostveen, General Director of the European Federation of Associations of Market Research Organizations (EFAMRO), who during his presentation inspired me with his short introduction to the art of measuring branding.

There are five levels of measurement of branding and all of them have different characteristics. First, the levels and then the related characteristics are presented. The Brand Pyramid approach is a useful marketing tool for non-profit enterprises that desire a practical method to measure their branding activities, for for-profit enterprises that want to increase the effectiveness of their branding activities and for marketing consultants that want to improve the branding activities of their clients.

1. Presence

The first level aims to measure the consumer awareness of the company. The research question would be similar to the following: „Are consumers aware of the company?“ There are many potential characteristics to measure presence, however, to avoid redundancy, stick to the following ones: 1. Company name 2. Company design: Is the consumer aware of the basic design features of the company logo? 3. Industry of company: Is it known to which industry the company belongs? 4. Reputation of company: If the company is known, does it has a good or bad reputation? 5. Feelings about company: Feelings can differ from reputation. Consumers can love a brand, even if it possesses a bad reputation.

A ranking questionnaire, with a one-to-ten scale, is the most suited approach when using the Brand Pyramid method. However, when measuring reputation and feelings or other soft factors, a multiple-choice questionnaire or a qualitative research methodology is better suited for gauging consumer perception of a brand.

2. Relevance

Relevance dominates (Aaker, 2012). The second level measures whether the consumer finds the company relevant for his or her needs. The research question could be phrased similar to this: „Are consumers aware of what needs the company fulfills?“ The following characteristics aim to measure relevance: 1. Company products or services: Does the consumer know what kind of products or services the company is offering? Keep in mind that there is a difference in being known and being known for something 2. Company importance: Does the consumer know what value the company is offering? 3. Company fit: Does the consumer know that the value is offered for his or her explicit needs? 4. Company innovation: A company that is not innovative will have less chances to be regarded as being relevant during the buyer decision process.

3. Performance

The third level explores to what extent the offered value maintains its promises: „Is the company successfully delivering its value?“ Customer satisfaction departments will be tested on their effectiveness: 1. Customer satisfaction 2. Customer after-sale services: It is not only important that a company sells but also what it does after the sale is accomplished, especially when there are customer complaints. Add additional characteristics as needed.

4. Advantage

During the STP(D) process, one tries to position and differentiate its brand from its competitors and during the fourth level of the Brand Pyramid, the differentiation effort of the marketers is faced to a test: „What makes the company unique?“ 1. Product attributes: What attributes make your brand stand out? 2. Competitors: What attributes exceed compared to competitors? 3. Price-quality relationship 4. Adaptability: Is the company known for being adaptive towards changing consumer needs? This might be the most important characteristic. As argued by Reeves & Deimler (2011), it is crucially important to have a dynamic and sustainable way to stay ahead.

5. Bonding

This level might be the most important one when measuring branding. Forming a bond is the ability to create a long-lasting impact on branding. This level aims at determining how strong the company values reflect the consumer values. If there is a considerable match, then the bonding will be stronger. For example, I do not have a strong attachment to Apple or Harvard Business Review because of their products or services but because of what values they stand for: 1. Company values: Among a specified list, which values do consumers associate with the company? If consumer values do not match with corporate values, then management needs to realign the values by designing and implementing a change program (Booz & Company, 2004) 2. Brand loyalty: Are clients or customers returning to buy products and services? This characteristic indicates how strong the bond between the company and consumers really is.

After having conducted a market research through the Brand Pyramid method, one ends up with different scores among the aforementioned levels. It is interesting to analyze the resulting data. One can see on which levels the company exceeds and on which levels the company is lacking behind. As a result, the Brand Pyramid approach can lead to a recommendation for specific departments that lack behind on scores. Furthermore, when using the Brand Pyramid method regularly with the same consumer panel, it can as well measure the ROI effectiveness of departments. As a conclusion, the Brand Pyramid method is not only relevant for marketing professionals but also for CEOs who want to gain a deeper understanding of the consumer perception of their brand(s).

References

Aaker, D. (2012, July 23). Four Strategies for Staying Relevant. Retrieved March 20, 2016, from https://hbr.org/2012/05/four-strategies-for-staying-re

Reeves, M., Deimler, M. (2011, July 01). Adaptability: The New Competitive Advantage. Retrieved March 20, 2016, from https://hbr.org/2011/07/adaptability-the-new-competitive-advantage

Booz & Company. (2004). Measuring and Analyzing Corporate Values During Major Transformations. Retrieved March 20, 2016, from http://www.strategyand.pwc.com/media/uploads/MeasuringandAnalyzingCorporateValues.pdf

Millward Brown. (n.d.). The Global Brand. Retrieved March 20, 2016, from http://www.theglobalbrandonline.com/brand-success/

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