The concept of a “brand” has been evolving over time. The word has been used as the name of a product or service, kind of like a “trademark.” But, in the past 20 or so years, a “brand” has become something that encompasses all that the product or service means to those engaging with or simply observing it; as David Ogilvy, the advertising master guru said: It’s “the intangible sum of a product’s attributes.”
Jerry McLaughlin said in a Forbes blog post (12/21/2011), “your ‘brand’ is what your prospect thinks of when he or she hears your brand name. It’s everything the public thinks it knows about your brand offering – both factual and emotional. Your brand name exists objectively; people can see it. It’s fixed. But your brand exists only in someone’s mind.”
So, as good market researchers, we began looking at assuring that brands are based on perceptions… the perceptions held by those stakeholders who brand owners believe represent their customers and prospects.
In the research we’ve conducted to develop the attributes of a good brand and to measure how these brands reflect what is good, we’ve come up with our (in no particular order) TOP 5: THE HALLMARKS OF A GOOD BRAND.
- Memorability – It goes without saying that people need to know your name; and more than that, they need to know what you do/provide, and think of you when looking for your product or service. This does not necessarily mean you have to have a long history, but it does mean that you have to remind people you’re there and what you do.
- Comprehension – You’ve spent a good deal of time creating a vision for your brand, a set of attributes and/or promises that define it. Or, at least, you think you have. Do your customers and prospects actually understand what it is you offer, what the benefits are of your products or services, why they should choose you over others?
- Trustworthiness – While some brands lose their way through no fault of their own –or because of errors and flaws, the good brands know how to “make good” on mistakes, own up to them, and value their customers and the customer experience more than anything else.
- Timeliness – Consumers today are quick to change. When they value a brand, they want that brand to adapt to today’s challenges and opportunities, while recognizing that it must be true to itself. We might add to “timeliness” some sub-concepts, and they are “relevance” today or “adaptability” without forgoing the brand’s value.
- Consistency – This might be the most difficult, as it is based on expectation and belief… that the brand will live up what people want from it, anticipate it will provide. Consistency allows for changes and shifts, but the overarching need is for customers to know they can recommend the product or service for what it is/stands for – without question.
Does your brand stand up to these five standards? If you don’t know – or if they don’t – it’s time to recognize the importance of measurement to assure your brand is not just a name or a logo, but a true brand. We can help with our brand measurement tools.