Marketers risk destroying brand equity – Brand Property Research part 1

This is the first of two posts on our 8th annual research project on "The Power of Brand Properties". This post covers the results from research with marketing directors. The second post is on the pilot of a quantitative stufy used to measure the recall and meaning of brand properties called IcAT: Iconic Asset Tracking.

Screen Shot 2014-09-19 at 10.01.09

1. Brand properties are key for strong brands

The key role played by brand properties in growing brands and businesses is confirmed by the marketing directors in our survey. A whopping 83% say brand properties are extremely important in creating strong brands, with the remaining 17% saying they were important. Why did our respondents think distinctive brand properties were so important?

First, if properties are distinctively linked to the brand they become ‘iconic assets’ that can help create standout in a cluttered environment. As one respondent comments, ‘Consumers are being bombarded across many different media channels and brand properties help them recognize the brand with less effort’. Second, the most powerful properties go beyond recognition to also trigger brand meaning, as one marketing director observes: ‘A distinctive brand property drives powerful story-telling, an opportunity to build affiliation and connection.’ 

Screen Shot 2014-09-19 at 10.01.00

2. Lack of proper measurement

Screen Shot 2014-09-19 at 10.04.04Most companies have agreed which key brand properties to build. However, almost half lack proper quantitative tracking data to measure the recall and meaning of these properties 50% (in our experience, it is much less than half).

Measurement of brand properties still over-relies on qualitative research (68%). Qualitative research, and most quantitative research, focuses on rational consumer feedback, whereas brand properties work at an ‘implicit’ level; they help us recognize and recall brands without rational thinking. 


3. Destroying memory structure

Over half of marketers surveyed say the main reason for changing brand properties is organisational change, especially changes of marketing director. This premature property changing prevents memory structure being created. One respondent went as far as saying ‘Many managers destroy valuable brand properties for their own career benefits.’

A further 20% of people say change is a judgement call, with a mere 24% saying that a change in brand property is a strategic choice based on quantitative data. This suggests that even amongst the companies above who have quantitative data (54%), only half are using it properly! 

Screen Shot 2014-09-19 at 10.07.44
In conclusion, most companies need a better process for measuring and managing brand properties. This requires putting in place a well designed quantitative tracking survey and then ensuring that this is used when making any decisions. And that is where the second post comes in: we will look at the results from a pilot of the IcAT quant tracking method to do just this!