The Trouble with Brands

from strategy+business issue 55, Summer 2009   reprint number 09205
by J...
features marketing & media

                                                   Trouble                   ...
John Gerzema                      Ed Lebar                          This article was adapted from
Prices, studying a specific universe of 900 multinational    would expect a positive correlation between brand value
The Anatomy of Energized Differentiation
    2005 to $285 billion in 2006, 81% of consumers could          sumer perceptio...
Every marketer is up against this new reality:
         The world is overflowing with brands, and
      consumers are havi...
1. Vision. Brands with vision embody a clear direc-

Exhibit 2: The Universe of Brand Performance
                                     By plotting a representative group of br...
Brands with energized differentiation drive
                future corporate financial performance
            more than t...
Exhibit 4: Energized Brands Outperform                                              4. Become an energy-driven enterprise....
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  1. 1. strategy+business The Trouble with Brands from strategy+business issue 55, Summer 2009 reprint number 09205 by John Gerzema and Ed Lebar Reprint
  2. 2. features marketing & media 1
  3. 3. Brands THE Trouble WITH Most consumer brands are not creating value. The exceptions share a set of “energized” attributes that companies can identify and exploit. by John Gerzema and Ed Lebar Many companies that produce goods and services 2 features marketing & media 15,000 consumers in the United States. We have stud- for consumers face a serious dilemma — quite apart ied 40,000 brands across 44 countries on more than 70 from the effects of the current global economic down- brand metrics, which include everything from the turn. For at least the past five years, the tried-and-true awareness consumers have of a brand to the particular formulas to boost the sales and market shares of brands ways it makes them feel. have been becoming increasingly irrelevant and have Beginning in mid-2004, we discovered several curi- been losing traction with consumers. Globally, the ous and sobering trends in the data. Consumer attitudes Illustration by Alex Williamson aggregate value of brands to consumers has been falling about all sizes and segments of brands were in serious steadily, and this decline began well before the recent decline. Across the board, we saw significant drops in slump in stock prices. the key measures of brand value, such as consumer “top- We know this through extensive research we have of-mind” awareness, trust, regard, and admiration. This conducted on brands. Since 1993, we have been track- was true not just for a few brands, but for thousands, ing the way consumers perceive and value products and encompassing the entire range of consumer goods and services around the world to explain how brands grow, services, from airlines and automobiles and beverages to decline, and recover. Each year, we interview almost insurance companies and hoteliers and retailers. We 500,000 consumers around the world, and each quarter, found that most brands were not adding to the intangi-
  4. 4. John Gerzema Ed Lebar This article was adapted from ( is chief (ed.lebar@ insights officer at Young & is Rubicam and previously chief executive officer of and How to Avoid It, by John ran Fallon’s international net- BrandAsset Consulting and Gerzema and Ed Lebar work. He has guided brand oversees brand strategy and (Jossey-Bass, 2008). strategies for many global research for Young & businesses, including Coca- Rubicam. He is a former pro- Cola, McDonald’s, Microsoft, fessor of economics at the City SABMiller, Nikon, and Sony. College of New York and Finch College. The Brand Bubble: The Looming Crisis in Brand Value 3 ble value of their enterprises the way they used to. recipe for disaster at two levels. At the macroeconomic The Plunge in Brand Perceptions Instead, the majority of brands seemed to be stalled in level, it implies that the stock prices of most consumer features marketing & media the consumer marketplace. companies are overstated: A “brand bubble” is implied in But at the same time, separate research we did on their stock prices, and once it deflates — or worse, pops the financial performance of consumer companies — it could further drive down valuation multiples and revealed that brands were indeed creating more and stock prices around the world. Meanwhile, for leaders of more value for companies and shareholders. This was consumer-related corporations, the mismatch points to evident in increasing share prices, driven higher by the a serious, continuing problem in brand management. intangible value that the markets were implicitly What can consumer companies do to make sure attributing to brands. This pattern held as equity prices that their brands aren’t among the losers? Our research rose through 2007, but even after the recent collapse of revealed that the most successful brands today — prices, our models show that brand value continues to including Adidas and iPhone and Pixar and Wikipedia account for roughly a third of the total stock market — resonate with consumers in a special way: They value of corporations. In other words, there was — and communicate excitement, dynamism, and creativity in is — a mismatch between the value that consumers ways that the vast majority of brands do not. We call this saw in brands and the aggregate value that the markets quality “energized differentiation,” and we have identi- were ascribing to them. This contradiction comes about fied, out of dozens of brand attributes in our consumer- because the perceptions influencing the dollar votes of research database, the metrics that capture this quality. consumers on Main Street are very different from the By focusing on these attributes, marketers can keep their financial and mechanical analysis used by traders and brands constantly moving and gaining value. In a world analysts on Wall Street. of excess capacity and diminishing trust, creating these When all the facts were put together, we discovered kinds of energy-infused brands can help companies re- that, yes, there was an increasing expansion of the value invigorate their brand management practices. that financial markets are attributing to brands, but this value growth is actually attributable to fewer and fewer brands. Sure, for financial juggernauts like Google, As we set out in 2004 to compare consumers’ and Wall Apple, and Nike, brand value continues to increase Street’s valuations of brands, we were acting much like powerfully, but the number of these kinds of high- meteorologists analyzing the various forces of nature to performance, value-creating brands is diminishing assess which combination causes hurricanes. To measure strategy + business issue 55 across the board, while the actual value created by the how brands affect the current and future financial per- vast majority of brands is stagnating or falling. formance of their enterprises, we merged our brand This overall mismatch between consumer attitudes database with 15 years’ worth of financial data from toward brands and the market values of the universe of Standard & Poor’s Compustat database and the companies that produce and own them is, we believe, a University of Chicago’s Center for Research in Security
  5. 5. Prices, studying a specific universe of 900 multinational would expect a positive correlation between brand value “mono-brands.” These companies stake their entire and the classical metrics of performance and sales. name on a single powerful brand and derive more than Instead, we found a significant negative correlation. We 80 percent of their annual revenue from that brand. looked at other analysts’ brand data to confirm that our They include firms such as Intel, McDonald’s, and measurements and conclusions were sound. Sure Microsoft. Along with marketing professors Robert enough, we found other market researchers around the Jacobson (Foster School of Business, University of world noting some early signs of the same brand melt- Washington) and Natalie Mizik (Columbia Business down. The Henley Centre, a marketing analysis firm in School), we began analyzing many consumer variables London, highlighted an erosion of big brands beginning to see if we could tell which group of brand attributes in 1999 in the United Kingdom. In the firm’s annual came closest to explaining unanticipated changes in study of the 17 largest, most iconic British brands, 16 4 stock price, especially upward valuations. Our emphasis showed a decline in consumer trust. In successive stud- was on unanticipated stock price changes because ies between 2000 and 2007, the Carlson Marketing market values already anticipate a wide range of corpo- Group, headquartered in Minneapolis, found a decline rate financial and performance factors. We didn’t doubt in consumer loyalty to brands. In 2000, four in 10 con- that brand values were rising, and we were not trying to sumers showed a genuine preference for or commitment prove they shouldn’t. We were believers in brand value as to only one brand in a given category, but that measure features marketing & media a driver of intangible value — and we still are. But while dropped all the way to one in 10 by 2007. doing that research, we discovered the enormous anom- The big question, of course, is what’s behind this aly we have alluded to. While Wall Street had been bid- malaise. Why have consumers lost trust in, and respect ding up the aggregate value of brands for the consumer for, brands? What should brand marketers do about the sector, consumers’ overall perceptions of brands were drop in performance and sales, the most meaningful substantially eroding. To our astonishment, because we indicators for the future of their brands? were not even looking for it, we found that the consumer Clearly, the issues are complex, with diverse factors ratings on four key classical attitudes toward brands — dragging down brand perceptions among consumers, trust, awareness, regard, and esteem — were tumbling. and we investigate many of those issues in our book, Generations of marketing professionals have long The Brand Bubble (Jossey-Bass, 2008). But we believe accepted these four attributes as the defining measures the problem can be summarized by three fundamental of brand health, which they refer to as brand equity. causes that are collectively diminishing consumer desire These are the classical metrics that drive current brand for brands, each of which intensifies the others. performance and sales. High scores in trust, awareness, Although none of these phenomena are entirely new, regard, and esteem indicate that consumers are likely to they’ve never before operated simultaneously or quite so continue purchasing the brand and remain loyal to it. intensely. And set against the dramatic changes of a new The data showed consumer attitudes toward brands digital landscape, they’re taking a far greater toll on had fallen into steep decline. Despite the fact that the brands than anyone had previously thought. stock market’s valuation of brands had been rising since The first major problem with brands is excess we had begun collecting our data in 1993, brand trust- capacity. Every marketer is up against this new reality: worthiness rankings had dropped more than 50 percent, The world is overflowing with brands, and consumers perceptions of quality had fallen 24 percent, awareness are having a hard time assessing the differences among of brands was down 20 percent, and esteem and regard them. In 2006, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for brands had fallen 12 percent. We saw thousands of issued 196,400 trademarks, almost 100,000 more than well-respected brands that had, on average, lower scores it had in 1990. The average supermarket today holds on these metrics — results low enough that marketers 30,000 different brands, up threefold since 30 years ago. would consider them indicative of “commoditized atti- Globalization and increased competition compound the tudinal patterns.” For these brands — including such number of new brands. According to a Datamonitor household names as Century 21, Alpo, and Prudential report, 58,375 new products were introduced world- — the numbers basically said that consumers knew wide in 2006, more than double the number from them well but were not inspired to buy them. 2002. The report points out that “despite the fact that This discrepancy was enormously puzzling. We advertising spending was up from [US]$271 billion in
  6. 6. The Anatomy of Energized Differentiation 2005 to $285 billion in 2006, 81% of consumers could sumer perceptions that drive current sales only for today. not name one of the top 50 new products launched in They skip along happily, stressing reason over emotion 2006, an all-time high for lack of recognition and a huge and persuasion over inspiration, still believing that cus- leap up from 57% in the previous year.” tomers can be programmed to form lifelong relation- The second major problem is lack of creativity. In ships, and that brands can forever maintain their intan- a world with Hulu, Yelp, YouTube, and Twitter, con- gible elixir of attraction and cachet. This manner of sumers are continuously exposed to and able to share marketing pays too much deference to the brand’s exist- brilliant content. Witness how Tina Fey’s characteriza- ing equities, a reflection of past accomplishments. A re- tion of Sarah Palin on Saturday Night Live ricocheted liance on brand equity can create a false sense of security, around the globe, or the fact that directors of music as though past recognition can generate an endless videos are now factoring the diminutive screens on stream of future profits. Using only historic brand data 5 Exhibit 1: The Collapse mobile phones into their production techniques. The to plot a course in today’s dynamic market is like driv- in Consumer Trust result of this democratization of creativity is that it has ing 90 miles an hour looking out the back window. raised the consumer’s “creativity quotient.” Consumers expect more big ideas from brands, and they expect to get them faster. Through our studies, we began noticing that consumers The final major problem with brands is loss of trust. were concentrating their passion, devotion, and pur- features marketing & media Our data shows that the amount of trust consumers chasing power on an ever-smaller portfolio of brands. place in a brand today is a ghost of what it was 10 years We then noticed a correlation between these successful ago. In 1997, more than half of all brands enjoyed high brands and a set of interrelated consumer metrics that all Percentage of Trustworthy Brands levels of consumer trust. But society’s faith in institu- add up to a more exciting, dynamic, and creative expe- 52% tions, corporations, and leaders has been severely rocked rience — in short, one that reflects the brand’s energy. by scandals and betrayals, from misconduct at our Energy was linked in the data to three main factors. First investment banks to salmonella in our peanut butter to was the vision the brand presents to consumers, often human growth hormone in our baseball players. One by originating from the leadership, convictions, and repu- one, such revelations have battered corporate credibility, tation of the company behind the brand. Second was 22% leaving few brands immune. By 2008, consumers voted the invention consumers perceive in the brand, through just over one-fifth of brands as trustworthy, more than product or service innovation, design, or content. Third halving the number of trusted brands in just over one was the dynamism consumers feel — how the brand 1997 2008 decade. (See Exhibit 1.) creates a persona, emotion, advocacy, and evangelism Where does this leave those of us who are re- among consumers through its marketing and other sponsible for marketing and managing brands? How forms of conversations with them. can brands build sustainable long-term value to get back Brands that rank high on our energy metrics into alignment with Wall include Adidas, iPhone, Nike, and Microsoft. The data Source: Young & Rubicam Street’s expectations and shows that energy is not a function of brand maturity: BrandAsset Valuator valuations? The answer is Many established brands have as much energy as young- not found in simply redou- er, flashier ones. Both McDonald’s and Walmart, for bling efforts to win back example, are highly energized. Energy plays a particular- consumer awareness, es- ly powerful role in commoditized industries where teem, and respect. Too brands usually struggle to build attributes like loyalty. much has changed in the In the airline sector, for example, the highest-energy world to just return to the brands include Southwest, JetBlue, and Virgin Atlantic; old methods of marketing those brands have evoked much greater loyalty among and expect better results. consumers than low-energy brands like British Airways strategy + business issue 55 We contend that con- and Delta. ventional marketing con- As we analyzed 48 different brand attributes in our tinues to operate in a database to isolate the metrics that capture brand energy, time warp. Most marketers we began to find explanations for the anomaly we had keep striving to build con- discovered, and a way for brand managers to succeed in
  7. 7. Every marketer is up against this new reality: The world is overflowing with brands, and consumers are having a hard time assessing the differences among them. 6 today’s changed marketing environment. We now know, Without relevance, the brand will languish. The brand and we can demonstrate, that brand energy is what may stand out with energy but have no meaning to features marketing & media keeps brands constantly moving and that it is critical to consumers. Relevance is the pathway to strong con- maintaining ongoing consumer appeal, loyalty, and suc- sideration, trial, preference, and ultimately share of cess. To show how this works, we need to give you some wallet. This is especially important in today’s downward- background on the methodology we use to measure spiraling market. brands. Our BrandAsset Valuator (BAV) — the empiri- The unique measure of energized differentiation cal model we’ve built with our database of consumer establishes a direct link between brand momentum survey information — has become well known in mar- and creativity, financial earnings, and stock perfor- keting venues and is cited in many marketing textbooks. mance. Brands that currently have energized differentia- Numerous major marketers rely on the validity of this tion in vast quantities include Amazon, Axe, Facebook, research methodology and its powers of measurement Innocent, IKEA, Land Rover, LG, Lego, Tata Nano, and prediction. Twitter, Whole Foods, and Zappos. Given the impor- The BAV is constructed with two categories of met- tance of energized differentiation in determining overall rics. Brand stature captures what a brand has achieved Brand Strength, it’s useful to look more closely at its up to the time of this survey. It incorporates such met- subcomponents. rics as esteem (consumers’ perceptions of quality and Differentiation not only represents the brand’s loyalty) and knowledge (consumers’ awareness of and point of difference, it also creates the meaning, margin, experience with the brand). This reflects the brand’s cur- and competitive advantage in the brand. Differentiation rent position in the market and its current value, and is is made up of the way consumers perceive three brand a lagging indicator: It tends to be affected after the brand attributes: the offering, or the measure of the brand’s has changed. special characteristics in terms of products, services, and Brand strength measures the brand’s growth poten- other content that the consumer experiences; unique- tial. It incorporates the brand’s relevance (consumers’ ness, the brand’s essence, positioning, and brand equity; perceptions about how appropriate the brand is for and distinction, the reputation the brand has earned them) and its differentiation (consumers’ perception of through existing communications and brand image cre- the brand’s unique meaning to them). Brand strength ated up to this point. reflects the brand’s future value, and is a leading indica- But energy is where the action is. It reflects the con- tor: an early visible sign of change. sumer’s perception of motion and direction. It sustains Once we identified the attributes and importance of the brand’s advantages. High-energy brands create a brand energy, we found that it fit closely with differen- constant sense of interest and excitement. Consumers tiation, and thus combined them into the single metric sense that these brands move faster, see farther, and are of energized differentiation. The impact that energized more experiential and more responsive to their needs. In differentiation has on relevance is extremely important. our correlations, we see a definite pattern in energized
  8. 8. 1. Vision. Brands with vision embody a clear direc- 3. Dynamism. Brands with dynamism create excite- brands: The more energy they have, the greater consid- A brand’s invention can never be static. It requires a eration, loyalty, pricing power, and brand value (as a per- commitment to continuous innovation, service excel- centage of firm value) they command. lence, and new forms of brand experience. The three attribute clusters that make up energy The brands that possess demonstrably strong inven- have all been associated with momentum and industry tion include W Hotels, which offers its guests Wi-Fi in 7 leadership. They are: the lobby, “fashion emergency kits” from Diane von Furstenberg, and products from Bliss Spa; Zappos, tion and point of view on the world. They convey what which excels at customer service, including free returns they’re on this planet to achieve. Some brands promise on shoes purchased over the Internet; Nike and Apple, to change the way people think; others seek to shift which teamed up to create Nike+, where Nike shoes expectations about the way things are done. Vision- transfer workout data to an iPod Nano; and Kidfresh, features marketing & media driven brands see farther; they galvanize and inspire con- which introduced nutritious fast food for children with sumers to join in, allowing the brand to travel into new playful presentation and packaging. categories and create new meaning. A parent company’s reputation can play a signifi- ment in the marketplace through the way they present 2. Invention. Brands that score high in invention Putting the Metrics to Work cant role in driving brand vision: How does the com- themselves to consumers. Dynamism is the most emo- pany act and behave toward its consumers, its employ- tional and immediately visible of the three components. ees, or the world beyond commerce? Does the company It reflects the brand’s ability to inspire consumer affinity. have an inspiring reputation that consumers admire? Is Traditionally the outcome of a big ad campaign, guer- the company a great place to work? Does it care about rilla marketing event, or highly visible marketplace social issues? Does it have a unique and powerful cul- event, dynamism engenders a persona, community, and ture? In a transparent society, consumers don’t divorce evangelism among a brand’s users. Dynamic brands their perceptions of the brand from overarching com- penetrate popular culture. They give consumers some- pany values and conduct. They expect visionary brands thing to talk about, facilitating enthusiastic word-of- to stand for higher-order benefits — and that also goes mouth discussion across consumer social networks and for the company behind the brand. brand ecosystems. Brands that score strongly on vision include The brands with top scores in this category illus- General Electric, Walmart, and Toyota, which have led trate the many flavors of brand dynamism: Harley- in their categories on energy savings; Southwest Airlines, Davidson, which holds a rally in Sturgis, S.D., each which says “Employees are our first customers” — and August that marks the largest concentration of motorcy- means it; IKEA, named one of the world’s most ethical cles on the planet; Twitter, which took SMS messaging corporations in 2007 for its employee practices and its to a fluid form of social networking used by millions; promotion of environmental issues and children’s wel- Design Barcode in Tokyo, which patented its idea to fare; and Subway, which invented a new category of turn ordinary barcodes on products into forms of visual quick-service restaurant, healthy fast food. communication; and Mini Cooper, which mailed own- ers RFID chips with customizable messages that flash up change how people feel and the way they behave. As the on Mini billboards when they pass by. most functional element of energy, invention is built on strategy + business issue 55 the tactile and sensory associations that come from product and service experiences and other physical By plotting a brand’s scores for measures of both brand interactions. Invention can be built through inno- brand strength and brand stature, we can paint an ac- vation, brand iconography, packaging design, applied curate, holistic picture of its status as a forward-looking technology, retail environments, and customer service. measure of performance. We accomplish this by charting
  9. 9. Exhibit 2: The Universe of Brand Performance By plotting a representative group of brands’ scores for both strength and stature, this matrix derived from the BrandAsset Valuator shows an accurate picture of a brand’s status and overall performance. These brands have low brand strength but high These brands have become irresistible, potential. They have built some energy and combining high brand strength with high brand relevance, but are known to only a relatively stature. They have high earnings, high margin small audience. Consumers are expressing power, and the greatest potential curiosity and interest. to create future value. Pixar Nike Microsoft Dr. Pepper Wikipedia IKEA Nintendo Wii Apple Target Crocs LG GE Harley-Davidson AMD Toyota Mini Cooper Amazon iPhone Pom TiVo Netflix Xerox Adidas Tylenol Lindt BlackBerry Tazo SanDisk Verizon DirecTV Glacéau Palm Nikon Vitamin Burger King Lenovo Water NICHE/MOMENTUM Kodak LEADERSHIP Method Patagonia Xbox NASCAR Advil Grameen Bank Staples Silk Soymilk Facebook Nordstrom Blockbuster Zara Moet & Chandon Shiseido Absolut AOL Red Bull Autotrader Bausch & Lomb Garnier Denny’s Bank of America Lacoste NBA Sprint NEW/UNFOCUSED Gerber American Airlines Flickr HIGH Michelob BitTorrent Kia Napster Viacom ERODING/DECLINING H&R Block Second Life 8 Vespa Finesse Vonage Taster’s Choice Midas Joost Century 21 Greyhound Dristan Camper Prudential STATURE Diners Club Efferdent Alpo Schlitz Energized Differentiation and Relevance features marketing & media Esteem and Knowledge STRENGTH These brands, with both low brand stature These brands show why high brand stature and low brand strength, are not well known by itself is insufficient for maintaining a among the general population. Many are leading position. They struggle to overcome LOW HIGH new entrants; others are middling brands what consumers already know about and that have lost their way. expect from them. Source: Young & Rubicam BrandAsset Valuator a two-by-two matrix that plots strength against stature. As Exhibit 2 shows, the BAV matrix uses per- This can be done for a single brand at a time or for as formance to plot a brand into one of four quadrants, many as thousands of global brands, creating a sort each of which is indicative of brands’ status in a very spe- of “brand constellation,” something that resembles a cific way. stargazer map showing where all brands are at any given When a brand generates abundant energy, it be- moment in comparison to one another without regard comes more irresistible, which creates greater preference to brand categories. and usage, in turn attracting new users. We analyzed
  10. 10. Brands with energized differentiation drive future corporate financial performance more than the traditional brands that dominated the market for decades. Exhibit 3: The Power of Irresistible Brands Brands packed with energy break out of their categories. Among these high performers, 9 for example, Axe has 3.6 times the level of energized differentiation as the average brand in the deodorant category, and Google, iPod, and Target all scored at least two times as high on consumer emotional commitment as their category averages. more than 2,000 brands in the BAV database over brands — one with energy. These brands offer con- a four-year period and found that brands with higher sumers a palpable sense of movement. Brands with ener- Google NICHE/MOMENTUM iPod features marketing & media Subway energy-to-equity ratios in a given year showed substan- gized differentiation drive future corporate financial Target tial growth in usage and preference over the following performance more than the traditional brands that year. One revealing exercise is to plot high-energy dominated the market for decades. ES Whole OR brands against their category averages and array them There’s an old adage, “Something that’s truly in- LEADERSHIP D ST Foods OO NT TF Building the Energy-driven Enterprise Axe FAS ME in the grid of stature and strength. These brands, thanks novative can’t be measured.” But we’re now able to RT W Hotels PA DE CH AR to energized differentiation, zoom upward out of their demonstrate the economic value of creativity in brands SE industries into much higher realms of performance. and explain how brands can break out to affect the This exercise shows that they have become NEW/UNFOCUSED irresistible brands that transcend their cate- Geico gories and redefine their own markets. (See Exhibit 3.) ERODING/DECLINING NCE Energized brands like those shown in U RA INS STATURE Exhibit 3 become market leaders that set Esteem and Knowledge new expectations for the way things should HIGH be. They don’t aim for mere awareness. IC S Instead, they upend ideologies, challenge ON convention, and market themselves to con- Energized Differentiation and Relevance TR EC LOW HIGH EL sumers’ value systems. They tap into mind- Source: Young & Rubicam BrandAsset Valuator sets that find business in a broader cross- section of the marketplace, attracting new RANT STRENGTH users and growing their categories. And they SUP DEODO ERM go where the money is, creating greater ARK margin power and future value creation. HOT ETS ELS Companies with energized brands also deliv- er superior returns for shareholders over time. (See Exhibit 4.) strategy + business issue 55 We now know that the brands that are thriv- ing even in today’s difficult markets, and that will succeed in the future, have a more powerful form of differentiation than other
  11. 11. Exhibit 4: Energized Brands Outperform 4. Become an energy-driven enterprise. Man- $20,000 A $10,000 investment in 50 stocks with top energized differentiation The Energy scores consistently returned more than the S&P 500. Top 50 Index $15,000 $10,000 S&P 500 5. Create a loop of constant reinvention. The final — and even grow into irresistible ones. + $5,000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 Source: Young & Rubicam BrandAsset Valuator, Yahoo Finance agement must next focus on formalizing this way of 1. Perform an “energy audit” on your brand. Your working throughout the organization. Stakeholders need to transfer their energy and passion to their busi- Reprint No. 09205 ness units and functions. Once management’s aspira- tions for the brand and business become part of the culture, the process of building an energized brand enterprise is propelled forward. stage is to make sure that the organization and its brand 2. Make your brand an organizing principle for the are in a state of constant renewal. Brand managers must business. Do this by finding an essential brand thought 10 be ready to reshape themselves over and over again. Resources Brands, like business, are in permanent flux. We must listen carefully to the market, and continuously modify, personalize, share, and improve upon our offerings. Especially in today’s economic environment, the bene- future financial performance of their firms. We can link fits consumers are looking for in brands are evolving. By features marketing & media brand momentum and creativity with predictive finan- being keenly aware of these shifts in consumers’ percep- cial performance. tion and values, marketers can help their brands survive The results suggest that there is a comprehensive five-step framework for companies that wish to build an 3. Create an energized value chain. The organiza- irresistible brand by infusing it with energy. goal is to capture a baseline that identifies the current sources and level of energy so you can understand your brand’s strengths and weaknesses and detect how well your brand management is aligned with the dynamics of the new marketplace. As an entry point to the energy audit, we invite you to draw upon our proprietary BAV database at that everyone can buy into. We call this process “build- ing the energy core” — and it should be a lens through which every aspect of the customer experience, includ- ing products, services, and communications, is defined. A strong core allows a brand to segment customers by Gregor Harter, Edward Landry, and Andrew Tipping, “The New attitude and values, reorganizing its products and ser- Complete Marketer,” s+b, Autumn 2007, vices with regard to customer insights and deeper emo- press/article/07308: Organizations with strategically focused, tional needs. A powerful core aligns the organization broadly responsible CMOs may produce better results than their tradi- tionalist peers. and allows it to more aggressively shape its future. Leslie H. Moeller and Edward C. Landry, “Measuring Your Way to Market Insight,” s+b, Spring 2009, tion’s goals for the brand must become real for everyone; press/article/09107: Marketers can develop their analytical prowess to all participants must understand how their own actions better understand their customers. boost the energy level of the brand and fuel the core. Nick Wreden, “Marketing: By the Numbers,” s+b, Winter 2006, This process needs to begin in the C-suite and extend to A review of books about marketing’s new accountability. all functional areas — sales, manufacturing and opera- For more business thought leadership, sign up for s+b’s RSS feeds at tions, distribution, information technology, customer relationship management, and human resources.
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