Awareness used to matter. Or, more correctly, it used to matter more.
When people learned about brands almost exclusively by consuming what brands told them, it was a different world. A brand was better if you’d heard of it. A TV budget conveyed a level of trust. And the loudest brands won.
Fast forward to the modern landscape in which the perception of brands is shaped by consumer opinion that weaves in and out of the fabric of our connectedness, and awareness, though still vital, is but the tip of the proverbial iceberg.
Today, Firehouse advocates that, to understand brand health, you need to look not just at Recognition (or awareness) but at Regard (or brand perception). For our largest clients, we’ve adopted a consistent approach to brand health tracking that measures both and that we believe provides a better set of headlights for illuminating a brand’s challenges and opportunities.
In short, this one-two punch of data can really pack a wallop. While the specific measurements that inform each measure are unique to a client, Regard has three components: Brand Reputation, Brand Advantage and Momentum. Understanding how your brand performs on these measures and how it stacks up to its competition is vital to mapping toward a healthier brand.
For instance, one particular client has an opportunity with Momentum. Versus the competition, their brand is not seen as interesting, dynamic or progressive. That points to an opportunity to market differently. Not only should their choice of media seem “current” and relevant to a younger demo, the experience we use media to invite them into has to be fresh and unexpected.
For another client, we used this methodology combined with marker questions that correspond to a consumer segmentation, to not only diagnose an awareness opportunity with a particular target segment but to determine exactly how we needed to shift perceptions to be seen as the more desirable brand choice by them.
Look, I know brand health measurement is nothing new. I first used brand health metrics to plan marketing efforts back before the turn of the century. What is unique is employing consistent and vetted methodology across client brands. Then, most importantly, it’s about committing to acting on the learnings that come from it in a way that actually makes a difference - in a way that makes the brands we work on, well, healthier.