What Is Necessary For A Branding Exercise?

Today, another question from the BSI Emailbag. Mark, a marketer from San Diego, California writes:

“Can you share the essentials of a branding exercise? Specifically, what workshops, surveys, etc. do you use to give the corporation a better idea of how their current brand is perceived and how the corporation goes about changing the brand over time?”

Mark, thanks for asking. First, I would try to understand how the brand in question is perceived by its most important audiences. I would survey its primary and secondary target customers on the following dimensions of brand equity:

* Unaided top-of-mind brand awareness within the appropriate product/service categories
* Brand differentiation (open ended question -- "What makes this brand unique and compelling compared to competitive options?" -and- closed ended scaled question: importance versus brand delivery for the most important category-related customer benefits)
* Brand value perceptions
* Brand convenience/accessibility perceptions
* Emotional connection to the brand
* Brand loyalty -- behavioral and attitudinal
* Perceived brand vitality
* Brand personality perceptions
* Other brand associations

I would measure the same for the top competitive brands and compare the results to that of the brand in question.

I would then lead the brand management and marketing team in an exercise of refining the brand strategy and position based on the aforementioned survey/analysis. Once we achieved consensus on the brand's revised strategy and position, we would translate that into a multi-year (2 to 3 year) brand plan, complete with objectives, strategies, tactics, resources required, timeline, expected outcomes, etc. I might also conduct a customer touch point design workshop to identify new ways to deliver on the brand promise at each point of customer contact. The top ideas from this ideation session would be built into the brand plan.

I would also translate the revised brand strategy and position into an updated brand identity, including potential revisions to the brand name, logo, tagline, architecture and guidelines.

This is the 60,000 foot perspective on the steps that I would follow. I hope this helps.

(Pictured above: a brand positioning workshop with a major contact lens manufacturer)

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