Monday, May 09, 2011

#MARKETS: "Smarter Enterprises Measure Brand Appeal"

Apple's "I'm a Mac" versus "I'm a PC" campaign was designed to enhance its brand's appeal

Recall Apple's "I'm a Mac" versus "I'm a PC" campaign? Apple, like every other enterprise, wants to establish its "brand" as desirable to consumers, and now there's a better way to measure it, according to university researchers.
Focus-group raves and rip-roaring sales have been the best ways to measure a brand's appeal, but now researchers at North Carolina State University claim to have a better method to calibrate branding.

Each enterprise seeks to establish a brand "personality" that reflects its goals and aspirations, as defined by its board of directors and communicated by its chief executive officer. Many methods have been developed to get the point across to customers, and a few tools, such as Stanford University Jennifer Aaker's Brand Personality Scale, can measure the perceived quality of brands—as rugged, sophisticated, competent, exciting or sincere. However, there has been no objective way to quantify a brand's appeal until now.

North Carolina State University researchers claim to have remedied that problem with a simple, easy-to-use method of measuring the brand personality appeal (BPA). According to David Henard, an associate professor of business management, measuring BPA consists of getting accurate answers to just a few basic questions.

"The only existing scale was Aaker’s Brand Personality Scale," said Henard, who performed the work with Traci Freling at the University of Texas (Arlington) and Jody Crosno at West Virginia University. "What we’ve done is develop a system that digs deeper to help companies link brand personality to concrete outcomes."
The researchers claim that with proper grooming, a brand personality will lead people to favor one product over others, depending on how high its BPA is elevated. The best part is that BPA depends on just three dimensions:

● Favorability—how positively a brand is viewed
● Originality—how distinct a brand's personality is from competitors
● Clarity—how clearly the brand personality is perceived by consumers.
Whether its IBM or Lady Gaga, these researchers claim that brand personality appeal all depends on the mix of favorability, originality, and clarity. Using these three variables, the researcher team has established an objective measurement system for BPA that uses just 16 questions to accurately assess the appeal of an enterprise's brand.

What is even better is that by measuring each dimension separately, it is possible to assess what needs to be done to improve an enterprise's brand appeal. For instance, if an enterprise measures high in originality and clarity, but low on favorability, the enterprise should know to focus its marketing efforts on improving favorability, temporarily shelving campaigns focused on originality and clarity.

However, the researchers caution that BPA does not measure success—indeed many successful companies with low brand appeal, such as military contractors, succeed by focusing on originality. Nevertheless, for most enterprises there are many benefits to a high brand personality appeal, according to the researchers, not least of which is higher consumer trust and brand loyalty.
Further Reading: