A unique methodology to assess a brand's relative strength, vitality & stature

A unique methodology to assess a brand's relative strength, vitality & stature

Posted by Solutions Marketing | Blog |
September 18, 2014
A unique methodology to assess a brand's relative strength, vitality & stature

A quantitative study is required with ideally n=600 target market respondents drawn from areas most likely to find these target respondents.


A quantitative study is required with ideally n=600 target market respondents drawn from areas most likely to find these target respondents. This could be a telephone survey, but the most cost effective method to-day is a web-based survey, around 7.5 minutes in length (or 20 questions) sourced from one of the larger Australian panel providers. An example of target respondents might be – Females, aged 25-69, from the top two Household Income Quintiles, resident in Capital Cities and the ACT or Gold Coast, who have purchased an item from the subject category worth $200 or more in the last 12 months.  Note that in order to assure a valid and committed target market sample, it is important that the potential respondent has no premonition of the subject of the research. The way to guard against this is to ask as many as 7 questions re purchases in the last 12 months up front and reject those who answer yes to all seven questions. Quotas could be set regarding residence in capital cities to facilitate a national weighting.

Now, ‘Brand Strength’ is measured by the following:

  1. Unaided brand awareness (particularly Top-of-mind First Mention awareness
  2. Recent purchase history (including category, number of items and price paid) to compute brand share and average pricing
  3. Favourite brand share within the subject category
  4. Likelihood of recommending this favourite brand to a friend or colleague (where 0 is ‘not at all likely’ and 10 is ‘extremely likely’.  This is the Net Promoter Score (NPS)
  5. Willingness to pay a premium for the brand and the extent of that premium. Here we use an unfolding approach, starting with higher % premiums and progressing to lower % premiums. This is to encourage a range of possibilities
  6. Ever bought incidence and brand share of the subject brand
  7. The 'Buyer Disposition' towards the subject brand i.e., proportion saying:
  • This is the only brand I would ever buy. I insist on it.
  • This is one of my preferred brands
  • This is not one of my preferred brands but I would buy it under certain circumstances e.g., when on sale
  • I would not buy this brand because I don't know much about it
  • I would never willingly buy this brand
  • I have never heard of this brand

The first 5 measures above compare the subject brand versus its key competitors. However all 7 measures together, clearly determine the relative strength of the subject brand and its competing brands. In the case of a brand with a long history, the Unaided Brand Awareness (including First mention Top-of-Mind) and Favourite Brand Share, may be very high but the recent purchase history, Net Promoter Score, willingness to pay a premium and current Buyer Disposition may be significantly lower than newer brand competitors, meaning that the subject brand is losing saliency. On the other hand, if the subject brand performs well versus competitors on all the above measures it would indicate that the ‘Unaided Top-of-Mind First Mention’ share along with Share of unit purchases would be the best indicators of the subject brand’s market share. Note that the current value share is also provided from the pricing data collected as part of the last 12 months purchase history. This allows a comparison of Volume share versus Value share.

Underlying reasons for Brand strength/ Weakness

This part of the research answers the ‘Why’ questions whereas the Brand strength part answers the ‘What’ questions. It is critically important to understand these underlying reasons.

The underlying reasons for the brand strength (or weakness) are revealed by the Brand Asset Valuator – a battery of 18 questions designed to understand the following:

  1.        The brand vitality (Differentiation & Relevance)
  2.        The Brand Stature (Esteem & Knowledge)

The 18 questions are presented as 7 point ‘very good’ to ‘very poor’ semantic-differential (bi-polar) scales and some will vary depending on the subject brand and its consumer category.  7 of the 18 questions are reverse scored, to guard against flat-lining. Respondents deemed to be probable flat-liners or providing silly answers to the earlier brand strength questions are discarded from the end results. We review every individual response for accuracy and sensibility, rejecting those that fall outside the normal range of reasonable responses. Note that the brand strength and underlying reasons (Brand Asset Valuator) are assessed with both the respondent’s favourite brand and also with the subject brand (provided the respondent is at least aware of the subject brand).

Our Brand Asset Valuator is based on initial work developed by the Y&R advertising Agency, described in the literature as follows:                      

 Evaluating a brands effectiveness

 Y & R Advertising Agency say that a successful brand has two qualities:

  1. Brand vitality
    • Differentiated in the consumer's mind
    • The differentiation is relevant to the consumer's needs
  2. Brand Stature
    • Commands high esteem
    • Has high familiarity (awareness) in its target market

 A brand with:

  • high familiarity and low esteem needs improvement in its quality or features before it can be advertised
  • high likeability but low familiarity needs a heavy advertising campaign
  • high vitality but low stature also needs heavy advertising
  • differentiation and relevance slipping, will start losing esteem and then familiarity

 Note that the brand experience must match the brand image. Thus brand building calls for more than brand image building. it calls for managing every brand contact that the customer might   have with the brand (with employees, distributors, dealers etc.)

Consumer profile

This research methodology also provides a bird’s-eye view of the consumer profile for the subject category, as well as the competing brand skews (e.g., Location, Age groups, Household Income, High vs. low spenders, Most favoured brands etc.). Also provided is a key chart on ‘Other brands bought’ by those who have bought the subject brand. The results are further filtered to responses by brand ‘Favourites’, ‘Buyers in the last 12 months’, ‘Aware of the subject brand’ and ‘Aware of the subject brand excluding favourites’

Client Feedback:

The client for this initial study (a world leading Investment Bank) reported as follows: “The survey has provided us with a significantly greater understanding of the brand, the opportunities available and a framework in which to monitor the turnaround”

This Brand Strength study is a cost effective and useful study for any company wanting to evaluate where their brand is positioned in relation to its competitors, regardless of any intention to refresh the brand.

For an obligation free initial consultation call Tony Nix

  02 9955 5133