How do I conduct a brand review?
I am renovating my company's portfolio. I have a bunch of brand's and want to study their life-cycle so I can determine their place in the market among their competitors. What's a good way to get started with a brand review?
My first step is always to do a quick audit of where the brand(s) stands in the minds of the employees, customers, and key stakeholders. I use this questionnaire - http://bit.ly/1hdBrwl - and send it to all of those people. Then I do a gap analysis to see where the perceptions are on or off, especially in terms of how people are speaking about the brand, its value proposition, and its position in the market.
One way is to do a customer survey. The idea is to find out what knowledge they have of your brand, and what they associate your brand with. Then you can find out more about how it stacks up against its competitors. McDonald's has been going though the debate of over whether to rebrand. http://first.emeraldinsight.com/samples/mcdonalds2.pdf
Here's another article, discussing the pros and cons of McDonald's rebranding strategy. This should offer you lots of insight of what can happen should brand recognition not work as anticipated. http://www.caledonvirtual.com/mcdonalds-rebrand-brilliant-strategy-or-foolish-failure/.
McDonalds will never be seen by me as anything like Starbucks. But I disagree with the people who wrote this article that people won't hang out and work on their computers there. I have done so, and I've seen lots of others do it too. They tend to do it more while they are visiting and eating, instead of hanging out for long periods of time. They tend to spend a bit longer than if they were just eating.
Your brand is a measure of how you make your customers feel. Its viability depends on how well your messages, products and services fulfill their desires, and reflect their personal values.
It's important that your brand resonates with your most valuable customers.
How do you know for sure who they are? Measure key attributes, and score each customer. For instance, you could judge and tabulate attributes such as these:
3. Biggest need for your products/services
4. Enthusiasm (they spread the word, give referrals, etc.)
5. Growth potential
6. Difficulty factor (a high score for low difficulty)
7. Cash flow (do they pay promptly)
8. Willingness to try new products
9. Willingness to give you feedback
Then you (or an independent researcher) should conduct interviews with a sampling of your top scoring customers. You want to understand them better—on a personal level rather than a transactional level. Before asking them about your company, start with their lives and their businesses. Before you'll get any useful answers about your brand, you need to find out about their feelings. Ask about their aspirations and their challenges. Then, once you've established that the conversation is all about them, segue into questions about what they like about your brand/company/services/products, and how you could do more for them.
Again, tabulate responses, and analyze their answers.
Why conduct research only among your best customers? Because you'll generally find that the top 20% of them generate 80% or more of your profits and business momentum. You want to focus on them and attract more just like them!
Use this simple type of research to uncover how your brand is doing, as well as how particular product lines are being received. Then you can make adjustments to your brand messaging, your practices and your products accordingly.
Here is a blog that has many posts regarding brand reviews and values, maybe it will help.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but it sounds like you talking about product reviews, not brands. Products have inevitable life-cycles due to new technology, fashion trends etc. But a brand should be bigger than that and not expire with the products.
The life-cycle of your products can be seen in your sales curve and if you can compile a list of competitors and your market share.
But brands do get old and need to be revitalized. To do that start with fundamentals Keith suggests - the brands positioning, vision, purpose and USP - but not your own. Evaluate all your competitors in this way first. Then when you move on to looking at your brand you can better determine not just the relative strength of your brand positioning, but just as importantly, how unique it is in your sector. Your potential to own it completely in the minds of your target market is essential to your ability to protect from your competitors. That is the foundation of a brand that survives multiple product cycles.
Once place to start is to consider the Purpose, Mission, and Vision for your company and how the Customer Value Propositions represented by your brands contribute to its delivery. Can you clearly articulate what you stand for in your marketplace, does it enthuse your staff and attract your customers? Can you easily explain who and how you add value? Do your brands add to your ability to do this, or do they make your message more diffuse?
This may not be a traditional marketing led way to conduct a brand review, but I always look to who and how business is adding value, then consider how it should be structured and how it should go to market. Put the client at the centre and you'll rapidly start to see how you can add to your results.