The importance of a clear, well-defined, and effectively implemented brand is clear. A company's brand sets it apart from competitors, helps build stronger connections with customers, and unifies employees.
In 2022, it seems most companies are at least attempting to create their brand, but with one shortcoming: Most are not nurturing their brands.
It may sound corny to have to nurture a brand, but hear me out.
Although it's true that when positioned effectively a brand is more resistant to change than any of the other aspects of a company's marketing foundation, small missteps can slowly lead to a lost voice. A brand requires a distinct voice. If there are too many cooks in the kitchen, as they say, that voice can become diluted.
Also, a brand must align with the wants and needs of its audience. And audiences are often changing, as are their needs and desires.
When to Measure Brand Health
The right time to measure brand health is simply this: regularly.
For larger companies that have brand components in more places, more marketing mediums in play, more employees, and potentially more customers, a health assessment needs to occur more often than it would for a company with a less well-known brand. Some companies may find an annual brand health measurement sufficient, whereas others may want to touch on it each quarter.
No matter how often brand health is measured, that measurement should be an ongoing—not one-and-done—effort.
How to Measure Brand Health
No thermometer can quickly assess a brand and provide an immediate value for its health. That said, asking yourself and your marketing team targeted questions will help determine how the brand is doing. Answer honestly, and know that it's OK to not have an answer on the tip of your tongue for every question (some may take some digging).
1. Does your brand have a clear reason for being?
The answer to that question should be more complex than "to sell widgets." It should speak to the anticipated effect of the core business on the community or world.
That doesn't mean every business must operate as a nonprofit working constantly and selflessly toward the greater good. But it does mean everyone—from the C-suite down—must know why the company is meaningful and important. If the internal team isn't a loyal brand advocate, you can't expect customers to be.
2. Does your brand have a clearly defined target audience or audiences?
Identifying an audience is something many companies do early on in their existence, but people change, as do products and services. That means the target audience or audiences may have changed over time.
Ensure the marketing team as a whole is aware of changes that have occurred in the market that may have affected target audiences.
3. Is the internal view of your brand the same as the external view?
It's common for people working with a brand to see that brand as either something greater than it actually is or, in perhaps more problematic cases, worse than it is generally perceived. Conduct brand research to understand how your brand is truly seen in the marketplace, and conduct internal research to see whether the two are a match.
4. Is your brand differentiated from your competitors?
A brand helps a company stand out. Is your company standing out among its competitors? For example, if you're seen as the underdog, why is that?
Once you understand where your brand falls among the competitive landscape, then you can change the course of those perceptions, if needed.
5. Are your brand communications consistent throughout every channel and market?
Keeping communications consistent across channels ensures a unified brand experience. Imagine being a prospect and finding a brand to be funny and light-hearted on social media, matter-of-fact and boring on its website, and confusing via email. It would feel like interacting with three different businesses. A consistent tone and voice are a major part of brand health.
6. Are your brand assets representative of your brand positioning?
This is a tactical issue that often gets overlooked. Are brand elements such as logo, colors, and taglines accurate and consistent?
Ensuring such coherence is especially important after a major change in your brand such as a rebrand or brand refresh.
* * *
Hopefully, while reading the questions in this article, you were mostly nodding "yes" in response. If there was a "no" or two in there, your brand health is likely struggling a bit. If there were more than two "no" responses, it is time to do a brand deep-dive, which requires some research and time, to bring your brand health back to a passing grade.
A brand is a company's voice, and that voice is used in every communication with prospects and customers. Take the time to nurture it. There are strategic steps to take to fix the problems the previous questions may have unmasked, and brand work is worth the effort.
More Resources on Brand Health
A 12-Point B2B Positioning Health-Check
The Most Significant Challenges to B2B Brand-Building
Brand Engagement for B2B: Avenue CEO Bob Domenz on Marketing Smarts [Podcast]
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