Why All CMOs Should Have a Pulse on Brand Health

Posted by Meghan Smith

Think about the laundry detergent aisle at the grocery store and the diversity of options available. Why would someone choose the bottle of Tide over the bottle of Gain?

There are many factors at play: product quality, awareness and familiarity. These factors all make up a term used by marketers called brand health.

Brand health is how people perceive the value of your brand. Target, Coca-Cola and Southwest are examples of brands that are beloved by consumers and have good brand health. Coca-Cola ranks extremely high for brand awareness. Target delivers a quality product in the eyes of their shoppers—a place where you can get more and pay less. And Southwest is known for its service.

How consumers value your brand is important because it can have a direct impact on ROI. As CMOs continue to demand ROI, one way we help our clients at GS&F is by working with them to establish a customized brand tracking study. Because every client is different, we customize the study to their needs. While each brand study will be unique, there are traditional KPIs that we track for all of them. Those KPIs include:

  • Awareness
  • Familiarity
  • Consideration
  • Trial

Tools for tracking brand health include both quantitative and qualitative data. Surveys and focus groups help audit a brand’s current messaging, gauge awareness and familiarity, and provide informative metrics across different product lines.

If the brand study finds that awareness and familiarity is high but consideration and trial are low, you may need to take a serious look into why consumers aren’t interested in buying your products. Product quality and personnel (customer service) could both need some improvement. On the flip side, if you find positive sentiment from consumers who buy your products, then you’re doing something right—so scream louder! Amp up your marketing plan.

To take it a step further, we can also look at media consumption. Once we understand where people are seeing you the most, what they value the most from your brand and how and why they make buying decisions, we can create an effective media plan with our earned and owned media team.

Having the ability to see clearly into where a brand stands on awareness, perception, consideration, purchase intent, sentiment and other KPIs across various channels and touch-points allows you to be more strategic with every dollar you invest.

Understanding metrics from traditional funnel KPIs to your NPS and specific views on brand attributes, products and services allows for a holistic view of where a business is winning and where it may be losing.

It gives you an opportunity to craft strategies and allocate resources appropriately. It shines a light on where there may be operational, personnel or marketing issues. And it shows where there could be an opportunity to capitalize on or gaps to fill and weaknesses to overcome. While they can never be looked at in a vacuum, your brand health metrics are key to a long-term look at how—and where—you can move the needle.

And after all, in a world where CMOs have more and more pressure to perform, you can’t move the needle unless you truly understand the current state of your brand health.

In an ever-changing environment where consumer empowerment is at an all-time high, more industries are becoming commoditized and the level of competition increases, understanding your brand’s health is more critical than ever.