What is a Brand Report Card?
A Brand report card is an evaluation system that brands or companies use to periodically audit the strengths and weaknesses of a brand on a few specific and relevant characteristics and comparing those with some of the world’s strongest brands in the same niche.
The concept of brand reporting cards only grew higher when Kevin Keller, a marketing professor by profession, published the brand report card article in 2000 at Harvard Business Review. The article includes ten characteristics that Kevin Lane Keller had gathered from some of the world’s strongest brands that we will discuss later, let us first have a look at his definition of brand report card-
The report card can help you identify areas that need improvement, recognize areas in which your brand is strong, and learn more about how your particular brand is configured.
A brand report card is a chart used for tracking brand equity and measuring a brand’s strengths and weaknesses. A brand report card is based on consumers’ perceptions of value and how a brand excels at delivering the benefits that customers truly desire.
Managers use it as a standardized way for grading the performance of their brands. It helps in checking if a brand is properly positioned, or if it has the right pricing strategy or to understand what the brand needs to do to improve its performance.
It also gives the marketers a hint about how a report is to be constructed to note down the brand profit and areas requiring an improvement. According to what other marketers understand, a brand report is also a marketing strategy that reflects the accurate insights of the brand.
10 Attributes of a Brand Report Card
1. Is the brand offering that customers truly desire
When a brand offers something that customers want, a feeling of satisfaction is developed, which then helps furthermore in the future.
Effective branding is directly proportional to the way we project our products and how customers actually want them.
2. Does the brand stay relevant
Staying relevant can only happen when intangibilities are made to adjust between the tangible factors.
Intangible factors include user imagination, usage imagery, brand personality, brand-customer relationship, etc.
3. Is the pricing strategy based on consumers’ perceptions of value
Price determination defines sales growth vastly. Aligning the price with its quality, feature, cost of production and design is relatively easier than guessing the price based on the customer’s opinion.
Without having a blink of an eye in the customer’s viewpoint, a highly charged item can drag into losses.
4. Is the brand properly positioned
Giving superiority to one specific detail in a brand provides a major perk in being positioned effectively.
For example, fast-fashion brands such as H & M already have a mindset within their customers that their products offer a lower price while the quality isn’t far beyond that of other fashion brands such as ASOS.
Customers have a specific mindset or a position built inside them. The public is aware that the brand is not very different from other alternatives, despite it having a specific reputation that is unique to them.
5. Whether the brand is consistent or not
Consistency results in dominating the marketplace and therefore, it is important to know how to maintain consistency for maintaining that position.
Note that people mustn’t forget about your brand. However, a brand stays relevant via continuous updates as per the change in trends that also helps in optimizing consistency.
6. Does the brand portfolio and hierarchy make sense
It is now common for companies to regulate different brands for different market segments under them. One brand contains a single product line, with each of them carrying another type of power.
Although the brands are different, the starting point of it comes from the same company. Each brand has its participation in the brand portfolio and brand equity. BMW has a particularly well-designed and implemented hierarchy.
For example, BMW, at the corporate brand level pioneered the luxury sports sedan category, plus it also created well-differentiated subbrands through its 3, 5, and 7 series. This segmentation suggests their logical order and hierarchy of quality and price.
7. Use of marketing activities to build brand equity
Brand equity protects the company from its competition. Given that, building one is an essential thing to accomplish.
External branding such as the logos, themes, packaging, signature moves has to be in alignment. You can take references from powerful brands like coca-cola and learn how they regulate customer awareness and live amidst the public.
8. Do the managers understand what brand means to consumers
Any great leader is conscious that every action associated with the brand affects the brand in a way or so. That is awareness, perceptions, opinions, attitudes, and beliefs of customers need to be understood by the managers.
Considering each factor, decisions are made so that none is impacted negatively. Not having a clear idea about a brand and its image is a toxic trait for the business makers.
9. If the brand receives support
Whenever a brand is appreciated or gives a pleasant experience to the consumers, the brand image and awareness are upgraded to a good side.
Managers need to check if the brand is offered the needed support and if that support is sustained in the long run or not to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the brand.
10. Does the brand monitor sources of brand equity
You can prove your brand as a stronger one by utilizing what you already have through brand audits and tracking. Using them, you can get an insight into the performances of the brand.
You can understand the areas that are doing better than others and are still a weakened spot. The strategy is based on how strong brands are supported by formal brand-equity-management systems to assess their brand’s equity.
Creating a Brand Report
Brand reports are a detailed chart giving companies a clear idea of their strengths and shortcomings. Opening up to shortcomings and accepting them as a weak point takes time. It can consume up to months or even years to grab knowledge on the shortcomings.
However, with the help of brand reports, a more accessible mode of calculation has been invented.
The aforementioned ten traits are very much influential when talking about brand report creation. Although most companies find considering each point challenging, maximizing each of them is pretty not possible as a matter of truth.
To combat this, leaders must take the responsibility of having an idea about how both the absence and presence of traits could affect the outcome. You should create your response to the following 10 questions for creating your brand card-
1. Do you have a well-defined brand compass?
The brand compass which is well defined needs to include-
2. Do you know your target audience?
You should check if you know the following information for your target audience segments-
- Education Level
- Job Title
- Income Level
- Company Size
- Favorite Websites
- Top Goals
- Greatest Challenges
- Buying Motivation
3. Is your brand differentiated from the competition?
A well-differentiated brand has a personality that is:
4. Do your employees understand your brand?
You should ask the following questions to any (or all) of your employees to understand how well they understand the brand or not-
- What are the purpose, vision, mission, and values of your brand?
- What is the brand promise?
- How would they describe the business in one sentence?
- Who is the target audience of the brand?
- How is the brand different from the competitors?
5. Is your brand relevant?
To check the relevancy of your brand, you should ask questions like-
- Is your brand relentlessly customer-centric?
- Is your brand focused on experience?
- Do you remember what features make your brand different?
- Are your brand decisions aligned with your purpose?
6. Is your brand consistent?
You should check the consistency of your brand on the following dimensions and touchpoints?
- Visual Identity
- Voice and Messaging
- Market Positioning
- Social Media
7. Does your brand architecture make sense?
For evaluating your brand architecture, you should check-
- If your products and/or services are arranged in a simple and intuitive way or not
- If your customers are aware of the complete breadth of your products and/or services
- If your products and/or services effectively cross-promote each other
- If the extended identity system of your brand like naming conventions, symbol placement, colors, etc align with your overarching brand strategy
8. Is your marketing effective?
Some of the KPIs you should measure
- Cost per Lead
- Return on Investment
- Customer Lifetime Value (Average Order Value, Purchase Frequency, Customer Value)
- Revenue Growth
9. Does your visual identity capture your brand’s essence?
Some of the key elements you should evaluate while evaluating the identity of your brand are-
10. Is your brand well-maintained?
Few signs that should if your brand is slipping on brand maintenance or not-
- Your site traffic is increasing but you are not converting them into sales
- Your verbal or visual messaging is no longer relevant
- You are feeling that you’ve moved away from what your business was at the beginning
- You find that your content is no longer pertinent
How to grade the brand in a Brand Report?
You need to start from the basic principle of honesty. Because the end value determines your position, sugar coating anything in between can have a not-so-great impact. Just how schools are expected to create a report card out of honesty, business makers are supposed to follow the same pattern.
There are several ways to grade your brand to calculate its strengths and improvement needing areas. For example, you may give a point between 1 – 7 for every question. Each number has its value. Add the scores in the end and accumulate them into the chart to get back your final grade.
You may add instructions for your score ratings like-
- Strongly Disagree
- Slightly Disagree
- Slightly Agree
- Strongly Agree
Then you should ask the aforementioned 10 brand questions to evaluate the brand performance as per the score ratings which will give the overall Brand Score. You can then have grading for the achieved brand score, for example-
Grade A – Brand Score (53-70)- Excellent work! You have a world-class brand
Grade B – Brand Score (35-52)- Good job, solid effort. Focus on areas for improvement
Grade C – Brand Score (18-34) – Room for improvement. Identify weaknesses and fix
Grade D – Brand Score (0-17)- Needs work… Your brand is becoming a commodity.
Who can audit a brand Report Card?
A brand report card is used by most marketing consultants, agencies, and brand managers. Auditing a brand becomes more important for beginners.
This is mainly due to the little experience they have in comparison. Although minimal experience with the industry and customers, a brand report becomes extremely necessary to curb the weaknesses.
Initially, the report card has to be listed more regularly. However, the number can go down to only once a year after sustaining in the saturated market with time.
Pepsi’s Brand Report Card
1. Customer Desired Benefits
Pepsi has been successful in capturing the Youth Spirit.It has also ventured out to different customer segments with different offering for e.g. Diet Pepsi was introduced to cater to the health conscious people. Pepsi’s entire Product Portfolio caters to the different customer segments.
It’s my can offering is considered to be a new generation drink, the drink has managed to grab the imagination of Teens and young Adults alike. Pepsi through the combination of innovative ideas (like Pepsi Blue even though a failure), effective communication and aggressive advertising has been able to stay relevant to its customers.
is based on consumer’s perception of Value : The Price are primarily market determined in case of soft drinks. But Pepsi never got involved in a price war with coke as it would have eaten into the brand equity of Pepsi as consumers perceive that the basic price they pay for brands like Pepsi is justified as its more about the refreshing cola experience rather than a just a thirst quencher.
4. Brand positioning
Pepsi’s Brand positioning has always been as a refreshing cola drink for the youth, ubiquitous on just about every social occasion. The positioning has remained same since its inception in 1898. The brand positioning was prompted primarily by the market segments largely untapped by coca cola (young generation) and its sweet sugary taste suited for its young consumers. Thus it was able to create a Point of difference from Coca cola.
Pepsi has maintained continuity in its brand image and has been consistent in its brand promise of refreshing drink for Youth. It has always depicted a defying attitude and continued to challenge the market leader (Coca cola even though not in India) Its campaign have been about making a mark.
6. Brand Portfolio and hierarchy
Pepsico’s brand portfolio in the beverage market includes Gatorade, 7UP, Aquafina, Mirinda, Mountain Dew, Nimbooz, Tropicana, Slice and finally Pepsi. All these brands cater to different market segments and rarely cannibalize each others sales. It also gives Pepsico optimum market coverage. 7. Repertoire of marketing Activity : Pepsi’s Brand Elements are distinctive and the depth and breadth of awareness is very high. It has an extensive distribution network from super markets in metros to Mom and Pop shops in the interior heartland of the country. Promotional campaign have also been innovative and the usage of social media like Facebook’s Pepsi photography contest and internet campaigns like ‘Change the Game’ have been phenomenal.
8. Internal Branding
Pepsi’s give it brand manager the liberty to experiment as we can see Geetu Verma’s (VP-Innovation) idea to capture the next tier of customers at the bottom of the pyramid was received with great enthusiasm by the Company. Pepsi also has predefined set of rules that brand manager should follow which is meant to develop a sense of ownership for the brand.
9. Sustainable and support marketing programs
Pepsi marketing team is probably the most innovative team when it come to determining go to market strategy for its product. The company’s marketing expenditures are very high. 10. Monitoring Sources of Brand Equity : Pepsi has a series of monitoring programs like periodic brand audit, routine brand sales tracking, monitoring brand performance, etc.
This was all about Brand Report Cards
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