So you’ve got yourself a brand… But how do you know if it’s working for you?
September 20, 2018
The first step toward determining whether your brand is working for you is to discover the degree of brand awareness amongst your customers.
Just because someone patronises your business doesn’t mean they understand your brand. Have you ever pulled into a petrol station because you needed gas without paying attention to the name of the station? At times like this we just need petrol and convenience matters more than brand identity, quality, and perhaps even price.
Compare that to needing petrol and seeing two stations on the next intersection, but driving to the farther station because you believe the quality of their petrol is better, or you have their rewards credit card.
How do you know your customers are coming to you for your brand and not merely for convenience? You might say, what’s the difference? The difference is you own your brand, but you can’t own convenience. The convenient petrol station is at risk from a competitor that opens up in a more convenient spot. But the branded station will still attract customers for its unique offerings.
But what about potential customers?
You should also measure how far your brand travels. Are people in other cities, states, and countries aware of it? Aussie Rules is wildly popular, but ask someone in Argentina or Switzerland to name their favourite player and you’ll likely draw a blank stare. But ask them to name their favourite player in the Australian Open and the Argentinians will probably answer Juan Martin del Potro and the Swiss Roger Federer.
Of course brand reach isn’t just geographical. It’s not just the physical distance of your brand awareness that matters, but reach in other demographics, such as age, gender, even sexual orientation. Until recently the reach of wedding planners extended only to heterosexual couples. Now of course they can market their services to same-sex couples as well.
Measure for measure’s sake, and measure some more
But how do you actually know if your customers are aware of your brand, or what your brand reach is?
There are many ways to research this, from casually asking customers what they think of your brand to doing your own surveys through a platform like Survey Monkey to hiring a research expert or agency to do statistically rigorous surveys and focus groups. For reach studies there are firms that offer lists based on the demographics you want to target and they will send the survey to them, or solicit participants for a focus groups.
But measurement shouldn’t be a one-time solution. Can you think of brands you use who continually ask you to answer a few questions after a purchase or send you surveys? If major corporations understand the importance of brand research, why shouldn’t you?
But the good news is once you start and create a baseline measurement, the follow-up is easier, until soon this will become a natural part of running your business, like re-stocking inventory or sending out invoices.
But research can take weeks or months, you might say. What can I do today to make my brand work for me better?
I think one of the most effective tools for jump starting your brand is the SWOT analysis. I use this, with variations, with many of my clients, but you can do it yourself as well. You may have heard of SWOT, and may have had one done, but like research, it needs to be updated at least annually.
SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. Like most things in life, you get what you pay for. This can be a simple list you compile in 30 minutes for free, or it can be an expensive process that involves conversations and research, but avoids tunnel vision and bias and often results in valuable insights into your business.
But for our purposes here you can simply jot down your Strengths and Opportunities. Perhaps consult your team, or other stakeholders. Then ask yourself whether you are doing everything you can to leverage those strengths and opportunities. The answer, you will find, is almost certainly no. And that’s an opportunity for you to get your brand working for you immediately!