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Peter Shaw, our resident branding expert, looks at ways to measure how successful your brand is
The marketing genius John Wanamaker, the man who in the late nineteenth century pioneered the concept of the department store, famously said “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half”. Well over 100 years on and this statement still resonates with anyone trying to understand the impact of their marketing efforts. The influence of brand identity on sales performance cannot be overstated as it directly impacts perceptions of existing and potential customers, employees, partners and suppliers. Brand identity consists of the logo, brand colours and all the various designed elements, including: packaging, signage, uniforms, retail space, web, advertising, brochures, vehicles and more. Assessing the effectiveness of such a multifaceted entity is not straight forward but arguably essential for a business to optimise its marketing efforts.
The DBA (Design Business Association) is a not-for-profit organisation established to promote the commercial effectiveness of good design. The DBA runs an annual awards programme to showcase design that has been proven to meet significant commercial objectives, sales growth being the major consideration. To get a sense of how a strong brand identity can impact sales performance it’s worth a few minutes scanning some of the case studies on the Design Effectiveness Awards website: www.effectivedesign.org.uk While many of the brands in these case studies are famous the principle of good design having a direct impact on commercial success holds true for any brand-led business. The principle sitting at the heart of these effectiveness awards is the ‘before and after’ test: Can improved design be proven to have grown sales, or other key commercial metrics such as awareness, propensity to purchase and so on? These awards require a lot of effort, very rigorous measurements and proven data, however the principles hold good for an internal ‘before and after’ assessment of the effectiveness of your brand design.
Sales figures are what most of us would focus on when assessing the impact of an effective brand identity, but you can also measure the ‘before and after’ effect in terms of customer enquiries, retail footfall, job enquiries and even competitor response – if your competition are spurred into action they clearly believe that you have upped your game.
If you haven’t recently re-designed your brand identity you can get a sense of how strong it is by talking to your customers. Make sure that they aren’t looking at any elements of your brand identity and ask them to describe it to you. If they have difficulty recalling your identity it could probably be improved to impact your sales performance. You can of course deploy a research agency if you want some more robust and specific information on how your brand identity is performing.
If you are a start-up and creating a new brand it would be worthwhile showing your new logo to some prospective clients, partners, suppliers and of course your colleagues, and ask them their views. You should of course assess those views in the context of your intended brand message. The logo and brand identity surrounding it are your decision and you shouldn’t be pushed off track if your conviction is strong, but some external objectivity is usually no bad thing.
We quite rightly have our customers front of mind when we think brand, but don’t underestimate the importance of your brand identity to your colleagues, it is very important that they feel pride and ownership of it. A great identity will motivate everyone in the business and make it easy for them to tell your brand story.