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Brand Key Performance Indicators as a Force
for Brand Equity Management

JOEL RUBINSON

A measurable framework for brand equity is presented that links together financial

Vivaldi Partners

performance, loyalty, and attitudinal dimensions and for understanding the impact of a

jrubinson@
vivaldipartners.com

corporate brand on sub-brands that share the same name. This study describes
specific key performance indicator measures and, most importantly, how to

MARKUS PFEIFFER
Vivaldi Partners
mpfeiffer@
vivaldipartners.com

intelligently set targets for each measure, so that marketers can track and manage
the success of their brands. A case history for a large European telecommunications
company is presented that shows how this framework produced a very different view
of the health of the company’s brands versus prior research, one that was ultimately
accepted as correct. This study discusses organizational problems the CMO had to
address as he tried to implement this new framework, and how to generalize this
approach to other industries.

INTRODUCTION

silos prevent customer-centric thinking from tak-

Imagine the branding challenges that a CMO

ing root because a complete view of the relation-

might face as he or she first joins a new company.

ship that the company has with the customer is

The CMO is likely to start by taking stock of

probably not being obtained.

how brands are managed by each division and

The problem is compounded when there is a

brand group. What they are likely to find is that

“Master Brand,” that is, a corporate brand name

each group operates in a silo and has evolved

that is part of the brand name for each sub-brand,

different brand practices over time. The brand

service, and specific offering. Examples of this

strategy templates and planning processes proba-

kind of brand architecture include Virgin (Virgin

bly are different (or nonexistent) across groups.

Mobil, Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Megastores), Sony

Some brands will have recent brand strategy work

(what don’t they make?), and Verizon (fixed line

and others will not. The methods and measures

service, DSL, wireless). It is likely that the corpo-

that each division uses to track brand perfor-

rate brand has been pulled in different directions

mance usually are inconsistent and probably sub-

by the way that each sub-brand has evolved.

optimal. Some divisions might conduct brand

Because the corporate brand often is not marketed

trackers that produce key performance indicators

(e.g., a customer cannot subscribe to “Verizon”;

(KPI), while others do not. Among those that do,

they subscribe to Verizon WIRELESS, DSL, etc.), it

they probably are using different research proto-

might not even have a brand strategy, leaving that

cols and tracking different measures as the key

up to the sub-brands with some form of loose

indicators of brand success. The lack of corporate

cooperation.

consistency is almost certain to exist for multi-

The CMO must provide leadership to the orga-

nationals across countries. Finally, it is also likely

nization for defining how the marketing function

that there is no corporate level management of the

can help the company win in the marketplace.

customer, because the divisions are siloed. Hence,

This means the CMO must provide a compelling

DOI: 10.1017/S0021849905050208

June 2005

JOURNAL OF ADVERTISING RESEARCH

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BRAND KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATORS

framework for how to create well-

. . . “brand equity” [is] “the differential consumer re-

positioned brands, how to market them
efficiently, and how to establish proper

sponse from knowing the brand.”

KPIs, along with relevant targets for these
KPIs, to drive the organization to brand
success.

suggests that key dimensions of brand

ket share brands almost always exhibit

For a company to effectively manage

equity are linked together in a kind of

the highest levels of behavioral loyalty

and grow its brand equity, it must de-

“choreography” and that modeling these

is well known and often referred to as

velop a framework for understanding how

relationships will become critical to choos-

the “double jeopardy” effect (Ehrenberg,

brand equity contributes to financial per-

ing the right measures and for setting

Goodhardt, and Barwise, 1990).

formance, and then operationalize this

targets to create an effective brand equity

framework with a measurement system

management system.

and a way to set targets for key measures.

Linking loyalty and favorable attitudes.
“A differential response from knowing the

Then, the CMO must orchestrate organi-

Linking market share and loyalty. A “dif-

brand” implies that consumers are buy-

zational buy-in from senior management

ferential response” implies that we put

ing or staying with a certain brand be-

both at the corporate and divisional levels

behavior first and analyze attitudes in

cause of brand knowledge that produces

to play by the rules of this system.

terms of their influence on behavior. Be-

uniquely favorable attitudes toward that

In this article, the authors propose a

haviorally speaking, “loyalty” is revealed

brand on aspects that drive their choice.

measurable framework for brand equity

by a nonrandom consumer purchasing

It is impractical to think that a brand

and present a modeling approach for link-

pattern, often summarized as “customer

can stand out on every driver of choice.

ing together the dimensions of brand eq-

retention” (for subscription services) or

Hence, brand management should distin-

uity so targets can be set in a way that is

“repeat rate” (for frequently purchased

guish between those drivers of loyalty

consistent with financial goals. Then, we

products).

that have been chosen as defining charac-

give a case example where the corporate

Loyalty is a critical marker for brand

teristics of the brand positioning (“points

marketing function was able to establish

equity as the observation that large mar-

of difference”) and those that are impor-

a brand equity management system that
significantly impacted the culture and metrics across the company.
A FRAMEWORK FOR BRAND EQUITY
Conceptualization
Following the work of Keller, we define
“brand equity” as “the differential consumer response from knowing the brand”
(Keller, 2003).
This definition, which probably should
win an award as the shortest published
definition of brand equity, packs a lot of
punch into these eight words. In a way,
our framework could be called the “linkage” theory of brand equity because of
how it emphasizes the connections between aspects of brand equity. Figure 1
illustrates typical brand equity profiles
that we have seen time and time again.
The performance relationship of a leading
brand versus a number two brand, etc.

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Figure 1 Brand Equity Linkage Profiles

June 2005
BRAND KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATORS

tant but not ownable by the brand (“points

Without [KPI] targets, we have a brand equity measure-

of parity”). More aggressive goals should
be set for how the brand is rated on

ment system, . . . not a brand equity management system.

attributes that define its positioning (Keller,
2003).
Linking master brands and sub-brands.

The authors believe that leading brands

rize the probability that a customer will be

If the company has a master brand/sub-

shift their advertising and promotion

re-tained but the aggregated results by

brand architecture, there are some addi-

budget somewhat more toward advertis-

brand should correspond with observed

tional patterns we expect to see. The

ing. In fact, evidence has been published

retention rates to be proven valid. This is

sub-brands should have certain common-

that demonstrates that brands that build

where many brand equity measures go

alities in how they are perceived, and the

loyalty from year to year also show a

wrong, by the way. Often, the survey mea-

perceptions of the master brand should

corresponding pattern of increased adver-

sure sounds logical but simply does not

be correlated with loyalty to the sub-

tising spending over time (Johnson, 1992),

compare well with retention results across

brands, suggesting that the image of the

while brands with declining loyalty re-

brands or does not track well with changes

master brand is providing benefit to each

duce advertising budgets or advertise er-

in retention over time. Such approaches

sub-brand (Aaker and Joachimsthaler,

ratically over time. However, in total, as

have questionable validity.

2000).

a percent of sales, the marketing budget

The authors have had success with two

for leading brands is usually lower as a

different approaches—constant sum data

Linking brand equity and profitability.

percent of sales resulting in greater profit

(allocating 10 chips across alternative

If a brand is creating brand equity, it is

margins.

brands) and summating the results across

succeeding at creating loyalty based on

The bottom line is that brand equity,

three to five 5-point scale rating ques-

uniquely favorable customer beliefs. Such

“the differential consumer response from

tions. The specific choice of which ap-

brands enjoy greater market share, mar-

knowing the brand,” positively affects mar-

proach to use should be data driven from

gins, and resulting profits than a generic

keting ROI.

a benchmark study, based on which loy-

product or poorly marketed brand could
generate.

alty measure best compares to retention
Measurement

rates across brands and, when used as a

Loyalty provides the mechanism by

The next step is to translate this frame-

dependent variable regressed on attributes

which increased profit margins arise. As a

work into measures and targets. Without

as the independent variables, permits the

group, loyal customers do not require deals

properly constructed measures, we can

strongest regression model to be built.

to the same degree as less loyal customers

easily be misled about the strength of a

to stay with the brand, nor are they as

brand. Without targets, we have a brand

Measuring favorability. For the case his-

switchable in the face of competitive pro-

equity measurement system, but it is not a

tory to follow, we used 5-point scale

motions. This is most clearly observed in

brand equity management system.

attribute ratings. In other research, we

packaged goods where the average price

Because our case history is on telecom

have used an “endorsement matrix” rat-

paid for a given brand has always been ob-

services, we will describe how to con-

ing approach, where respondents check

served by the authors from consumer scan-

struct brand equity measures for a sub-

off which attributes apply to which brands.

ner panel data to be higher among more

scription service and then generalize the

Either will permit good regression mod-

loyal buyers (as measured by share of re-

discussion at the end of the article.

els to be built.

users (say 50 percent or greater share of re-

Measuring loyalty. A critical point for

lated to the loyalty measure should be

quirements for the given brand) are much

establishing valid loyalty measures is that

turned into KPIs. They should be grouped

more likely to buy the product whether or

they must operate at a respondent level

based on whether or not they are central

not it is on sale. This implies that while the

and then have the property that they can

to the brand positioning. You may also

total promotion budget might be higher in

be aggregated up and shown to align

want to group drivers by theme (e.g.,

the absolute for a leading brand, it is al-

with business results. Hence, at a respon-

products versus service quality) based on

most certainly lower as a percent of sales.

dent level, we are attempting to summa-

factor analysis and then show the attribute

quirements), presumably because loyal

Those attributes that are most corre-

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BRAND KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATORS

ratings as summated measures by theme.

alty, ratings on key attributes) will also be

80 percent for their brand shares to be

This is very C-level friendly.

fair and reasonable.

stable. As Figure 3 suggests, retention and

A critical research issue with attribute

The reason is that they are all linked.

acquisition rates that correspond to a tar-

ratings is whether to score brand perfor-

Let us explore some of the more impor-

get market share can be calculated. In this

mance by using the ratings from all who

tant linkages.

way, targets for retention and acquisition
can be determined based on a desired

are aware of a brand or to analyze the
ratings patterns of customers (Rubinson,

Modeling customer loyalty

market share. Once the retention targets

2005). We will provide clarity on this in

and market share

are set, the target for the respondent level

the discussion on setting targets.

Larger share brands must have greater

loyalty measure can also be set.

loyalty to support their market share
Measuring master brand/sub-brand

(Baldinger and Rubinson, 1996). Consider

Setting targets for key attributes

linkages. At minimum, it is important to

the following proof. Imagine a service

Each brand’s retention rate is the average

have a reduced set of ratings toward the

business with three major brands where

of the underlying distribution of their cus-

master brand in each study about a given

there is some churn from year to year.

tomers’ probability of being retained, as

sub-brand. That way, favorability toward

Assume that the market shares and levels

shown in Figure 4. Because 70 percent of

the master brand can be statistically re-

of churn are as depicted in Figure 2 and

brand A’s customers have an “ultra-high”

lated to loyalty for the sub-brand. The

that brands exchange customers in pro-

probability of being retained (90 per-

pattern of attribute ratings as a function

portion to share. For brand shares to be

centϩ) versus only 55 percent of brand

of the number of services subscribed to

stable, the brands must exchange equal

B’s customers, brand A has a higher re-

can also provide a lot of insight as to

numbers of buyers. However, losing the

tention rate (90 percent versus 80 per-

what it takes to create total customer loy-

same number of customers means that

cent). Hence, brand A’s leading market

alty across all services, implying loyalty

the larger share brand must have a higher

share of 60 percent is dependent on hav-

to the corporate brand. “Special” ques-

retention rate. Here, brand A has a 60

ing more customers with “ultra-high” loy-

tions are also often used to understand

percent market share, churns 6 percent of

alty (Rubinson, 1979).

the impact that bad experience with the

the market, and its retention rate is 90

Now, let us link the distribution of cus-

sub-brand might have on the corporate

percent. Brands B and C, the smaller share

tomer loyalty with patterns of attribute

brand, or the effect that corporate spon-

brands, need have retention rates of only

ratings. The only way that brand A can

sorship of worthy causes might have on
feelings toward the sub-brands.
Measuring profit impact. Any brand
equity scorecard should include business
results. It is also worthwhile to track competitive marketing activity and compare
the “A&P to sales” ratios across brands,
ranked by market share.
Setting targets
Once the measures that will constitute the
brand KPI metrics are determined, the
linkages among these measures can all be
modeled. Hence, once market share targets are established for the brand, targets
for each KPI can be established. By modeling the relationship of each KPI to market share, if the share goal is attainable,
the other targets (e.g., for customer loy-

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Figure 2 Retention and Market Share

June 2005
BRAND KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATORS

sustain a more desirable loyalty distribution is if its customers rate it somewhat
more favorably than brands B and C are
rated by their users, especially on those
attributes that are most important at driving choice. Figures 5a and 5b illustrate a
healthy pattern (from brand A’s perspective) and an unhealthy pattern, respectively.
Note that the difference between a
healthy and not so healthy situation for
market-leading brand A is most notable
on ratings on key drivers among customers versus those of brand B, not among all
aware, where the pattern does not look
much different. This is because of the
“big brand effect,” where a big brand’s
attribute ratings among all of those aware
of the brand will always be consistently
higher, even when there is a problem in
how customers rate their respective chosen brands.

Figure 3 Required Acquisition and Retention Targets

Linking these discussions together, we
see some telltale markers of market leadership, by studying brand A with its 60
percent market share versus competitors
that each have a 20 percent market share:

• Brand A must have a 10-point higher
retention rate than brands B and C.
• Brand A must have about 30 percent
more ultra-loyal customers than brands
B and C.
• Brand A must have higher attribute
ratings among its own customers versus competitors.

These patterns are consistent with the
brand equity linkage profiles shown in
Figure 1.
The clarity of these patterns suggests
that a model can be built to precisely set
targets for retention, percent of customers
who are ultra-loyal, and the average level
of ratings among customers on key driver
attributes, relative to how competitors’

Figure 4 Customer Retention Probabilities

users rate those brands. Furthermore, tarJune 2005

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BRAND KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATORS

. . . if the company has a master brand/sub-brand archi-

periencing across-the-board market share
erosion (see Figure 6 for the development

tecture, the sub-brands should have certain commonal-

in the mobile segment). As competition
was mainly price driven, it became criti-

ities in how they are perceived . . .

cal to identify positioning opportunities
that would provide unique value to customers in order to remain differentiated
from discount offerings and thereby secure the company’s margins.

gets for individual attributes can be fine-

Implementing a brand equity manage-

tuned by considering that, almost by

ment system is critical to managing one

The new CMO focused initially on un-

definition, the advantage should be greater

of the company’s most valuable assets. It

derstanding the status of the corporate

for those attributes that define the brand

will give the company a better way to

brand as well as the line of business (LOB)

positioning and might be closer to parity

inform how to position its brands, be-

brands (fixed, mobile, and internet busi-

on “cost of entry” attributes.

come a living bible of what matters most

ness) by analyzing the more than 60 dif-

To summarize, this discussion of how

for brands to succeed, enable charting

ferent brand and image research studies

measures are linked suggests how KPI

brand progress toward goals, and become

(qualitative as well as quantitative stud-

measures can be created and how targets

a tool for diagnosing and fixing a weak-

ies) that were conducted over the last two

can be set. Furthermore, if the company

ness that might be emerging.

years.

has a master brand/sub-brand architec-

We would now like to share a case

Soon he realized that the existing ap-

ture, the sub-brands should have certain

history that illustrates the challenges of

proaches to researching customers’ per-

commonalities in how they are perceived,

attempting to implement a brand KPI sys-

ceptions of the brand portfolio were

suggesting that the image of the master

tem, and ultimately, how the CMO suc-

somewhat incomplete as they primarily

brand and its benefit to each sub-brand

ceeded at getting the new system in place.

focused on classic brand image research.

should also be closely monitored. Finally,

In general, the brand’s performance on

to make this dashboard of brand equity

CASE STUDY

most image attributes looked good; in

measures as relevant as possible to senior

In 2003 the new CMO of a major telecom-

fact, the portfolio brands were leading the

management, financial measures should

munication company in Eastern Europe

category on most image attributes and

also be reported, including the ratio of

came on board. While the company had a

the dimensions that were chosen as posi-

advertising and promotion spending to

dominant share position in fixed line, mo-

tioning values (simplicity, customer focus,

sales versus estimates for competition.

bile, and internet services, they were ex-

and innovation). Also the satisfaction num-

Figure 5 Average Ratings on Driver Attributes: (a) Brand A Healthy; (b) Brand A NOT Healthy
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BRAND KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATORS

Figure 6 Development in the Mobile Segment
bers were favorable, in contrast to actually experiencing market share loss.
Furthermore, while each division had
brand KPIs, they were all based on auton-

• Evaluate the actual state of each brand

overall perceptions of the corporate brand

including a valid picture of their

and cross-purchase. In total, more than

performance (beyond the “big brand

8,000 consumers were interviewed across

effect”).

service areas and three countries. Both

omously created, incompatible measure-

• Identify purchase and loyalty drivers

users of the company’s brand as well as

ment methodologies. Regardless, all were

for each market segment across the dif-

competitors’ users were interviewed,

brought together into one single corpo-

ferent LOBs.

thereby drawing a complete picture of the

rate scorecard, which led to the problem

• Quantify interdependencies—that is, the

that apparently comparable KPIs were ac-

potential for brand equity transfer be-

tually coming from different research de-

tween the LOB brands.

signs. Implications on how the master

• Demonstrate the power of a strong cor-

brand and sub-brands in the portfolio in-

porate brand to an organization that

fluence each other and build brand equity

was driven by an engineering heritage

in a coherent way was not reflected in the

and culture that has not proven to an-

current measures. Despite their close vi-

ticipate customer needs and behavior

sual alignment, the divisional brands were

but rather pushed complex technology

basically treated as single brands within a

products into the market.

house of brands, neglecting any potential

• Derive a new set of brand equity KPIs

or actual synergies through brand equity

that would be more valid and become

transfer.

the foundation for an ongoing manage-

Hence, the CMO concluded that the

ment of the brands by top management

research results across divisions were in-

in line with the market share and profit

adequate to turn the business around be-

targets the CEO put into place.

market in multiple ways:

• identification of the importance of LOBspecific purchase and loyalty drivers
through multiple regression modeling
• performance data for all drivers and
brand attributes among users in comparison with all major competitors
• commitment and loyalty rates across
all relevant customer segments and their
linkage to the relevant drivers
• quantification of the brand equity transfer between the LOB brands (i.e., overall influence of one brand on other
brands and relative influence on the
attribute level)

cause the methods were inconsistent and
were not correctly tracking with share
slippage.

The brand equity research was conducted

A summated composite measure of loy-

The CMO commissioned a corporate

through CATI interviews with separate

alty was chosen based on 5-point scale

brand equity study, with the followed main

legs focusing on each division’s service

questions including those relating to com-

objectives:

area, as well as a leg that focused on

mitment, willingness to recommend, will-

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BRAND KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATORS

ingness to switch (negatively scored), and

The first round of results was overwhelming for some of

desire to remain a customer. This composite measure was chosen among a number

the LOBs to accept at first as they drew a very different

of alternatives because it

(but more realistic) picture of the market . . .
1. correlated best with brand-to-brand differences in measured retention rates
across brands

its market share and this was due to a 10

eling interdependencies. Corporate image

percent gap on certain major drivers. Sim-

attributes were shown to predict loyalty

ulations indicated that eliminating this un-

to each given LOB over and above spe-

favorable gap would result in gaining two

cific perceptions of that sub-brand. When

A word about the modeling approach we

share points, which would be worth 100

added into the regression model of

used for assessing the relative importance

million Euros in revenues.

attributes to the loyalty dependent mea-

2. permitted a driver model that had the
highest R 2

of attributes. A separate model was built

The results also indicated new strategic

sure, the ratings of the corporate brand

for each sub-brand. Each model was final-

directions. For example, in spite of the

accounted for 32 percent of the explana-

ized with only variables that had signifi-

price-driven market situation described

tion. By conducting similar analysis on

cant correlations to loyalty, where no

in the beginning, it became obvious (in

the divisional influence on a dependent

independent variable had an unaccept-

the mobile telephony market, for exam-

measure for the corporate brand, we could

ably high Variance Inflation Factor (VIF)

ple) that many customers look for signs

determine the influence of each divisional

(which would indicate extreme multi-

that the company cares about the cus-

brand on the corporate image. By impli-

collinearity) and where the coefficients

tomer, and this can offset not having the

cation, the impact of each division on

were all positive in order to be interpret-

least expensive rates. This learning pro-

each other division could be estimated. In

able. For this model, VIFs were in the

vided an interesting avenue for a high-

other words, for the first time, there was

1.2–2.0 range. Then, the betas (i.e., the

service/high-margin differentiation in the

strong evidence that each manager should

standardized regression coefficients) were

marketplace.

act as if “we’re all in this together” (see

used to calculate the relative importance

Figure 7).

of each variable, rather than using simple

Interdependencies among sub-brands

correlation (Hair, Anderson, Tatham, and

in the portfolio

agement board endorsed the CMO’s new

Black, 1998). All models were quite ro-

The brand equity results also enabled the

approach to brand equity management

bust, with adjusted R 2 values around 60

CMO to make the case for a strong cor-

and the chosen strategy for the corporate

percent.

porate brand that would be positioned

brand that was built from the findings of

consistently by each LOB, based on mod-

the brand equity research. A system of

The first round of results was over-

It was time to act aggressively. The man-

whelming for some of the LOBs to accept
at first as they drew a very different (but
more realistic) picture of the market that
was not influenced by the big brand effects. As previously mentioned, a leading

TABLE 1
Selected Mobile Telephony Rankings

brand should have the most favorable
attribute ratings among users. However,
among users, attribute ratings on key driv-

Model

Competitive

Key Performance Indicator
Importance
Rank
.............................................................................................................................................................

ers were actually lower in many cases

Is caring about customers
22%
3
.............................................................................................................................................................

versus the ratings of competitive brands

Good value for the money
18%
4
.............................................................................................................................................................

among their own respective users (see

Is a safe choice
14%
1
.............................................................................................................................................................

Table 1).
It was shown that the commitment to

Recommended by friends
11%
2
.............................................................................................................................................................

the brand was not sufficient to maintain

Is a technology leader
8%
1
.............................................................................................................................................................

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BRAND KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATORS

A limited number of KPIs were chosen: a

his goal. All LOBs were now thinking

composite measure of commitment (that

about the corporate brand the same way

was proven to relate to customer reten-

and marketing their brands in ways that

tion); key purchase drivers relating to ser-

would support common strategic values.

vice and product quality; and brand

The new culture was continually re-

attributes that were proven to correlate to

inforced by consistent KPIs. Implement-

commitment and were chosen as key re-

ing corporate brand equity tracking also

flections of the corporate and/or sub-

led to immediate savings of 5 million

brand positioning strategies.

Euros by consolidating brand equity re-

Targeted market share gains were decomposed into components (see Fig-

search from divisional marketing research
budgets.

ure 8). Reanalysis of the brand equity

Figure 7 Brand Portfolio
Interdependencies

database led to setting targets that were

CONCLUDING COMMENTS

consistent with the market share and prof-

While the case history we have shown

itability goals set by the CEO and divi-

comes from a telecommunications B2C

sional presidents. A subset of the final set

service business, the tools and concepts

brand KPIs was put into place company-

of KPIs for brand attributes is shown in

here are completely generalizable. The

wide that, for the first time, came from

Table 2. Note that the targets indicate that

biggest difference is not the relevance of

consistent frameworks and measurement

certain attributes require more dramatic

loyalty but choosing the right survey mea-

systems.

improvement than others, such as “is car-

sure(s) of loyalty. For example, consider

ing about customers,” based on the lever-

fast moving consumer goods (FMCG). The

age of that attribute and the gap that was

best loyalty measure is one that maps not

observed versus competitors’ scores.

to retention, but to share of requirements

The key steps for implementing KPIs
were as follows:
1. organizing a cross-divisional integrated

Hence, after nine months of work, the

(the share of all purchases a given brand

marketing strategy and planning team

new corporate CMO had finally achieved

has with a given consumer). We have had

that worked with corporate marketing
to coordinate the selection of KPIs, setting targets, and marketing activities
across sub-brands
2. choosing which KPIs would be consistently placed on the dashboards in each
division and corporately
3. setting targets for each KPI that would
be consistent with business goals
4. presenting the proposed system for endorsement from the CEO, so that brand
equity KPIs could be integrated into
the corporate scorecard, linked with
other metrics targeted at the improvement of performances and cascaded
down into each LOB organization—
from marketing to customer service and
product development
5. implementing a quarterly tracking of the
KPIs to monitor progress toward goals
and to report on the effects of new
marketing activities that were initiated

Figure 8 Targets for Sales
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BRAND KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATORS

The job of getting an organization that is used to operat-

with is competing based on features and
price. When you compete in this way, the

ing in a decentralized way to adopt consistent brand

desire for more market share leads to
more SKU proliferation and promotions

management practices is tantamount to “change

because those are the only weapons you
have. Strong brands that connect with
their customers provide another path to

management” . . .

growth. Your offerings’ value to your customers comes from much more than features and low prices, it comes from a
great success with constant sum ques-

management,” which is never easy. Divi-

tions (allocating 10 points) as a survey

sions and brand groups will be resistant

based way of approximating respondent

to the loss of autonomy, and their mar-

level share of requirements. In fact, we

keting research departments will fight hard

have validated this measure on FMCG by

for their current brand tracking research

conducting proprietary brand equity re-

methods. It is likely that the first wave

search among Information Resources Inc.

of research results using the new frame-

panelists and in another study, among

work will produce some dramatically dif-

respondents who were also maintaining a

ferent pictures of the brand’s health and

purchase diary. We have applied these

that will lead to challenges to credibility

tools to B2B markets as well as B2C, and

that need to be defended to gain organi-

we find that our brand equity framework

zational buy-in. The acid test of whether

is just as applicable; even in “rational”

or not you have succeeded is the ability

JOEL RUBINSON is managing director of advanced re-

B2B markets, we find statistical evidence

to establish brand KPIs that are corpo-

search for Vivaldi Partners, a New York–based market-

that importance of trust, leadership, and

rately consistent. It is the ultimate sign-

ing consultancy, where he has developed pioneering

relationship mean that it is not all a price

off from the divisions, and it represents

methods for brand equity measurement, customer

and features game.

a living bible that will reinforce through-

segmentation and database scoring, and forecasting

out the organization what matters at man-

the sales potential of innovative products. Prior to

aging a strong brand.

that, Mr. Rubinson had been the chief research officer

The job of getting an organization that
is used to operating in a decentralized
way to adopt consistent brand manage-

This difficult task is worth the battle.

ment practices is tantamount to “change

Without strong brands, all you are left

more enduring connection.
Strong brands require leveraging all the
brand equity at your disposal, which
means creating an effective brand architecture that can utilize the equity from a
corporate brand to fullest advantage.
Would you rather be selling bananas or
Chiquita bananas, chicken or Purdue
chicken? The profit and market share advantages are obvious and worth fighting
for.
................................................................................................

and head of product management/development for
over 20 years at The NPD Group, one of the leading
marketing research firms in the world. For most
of that time, he has served on NPD’s Executive
Committee.
Over the years, Mr. Rubinson has led the development of virtually all of NPD’s advanced analytics and
research methodologies, most notably BrandBuilder,
one of the leading brand equity modeling systems
used by many leading companies such as Procter and
Gamble, AT&T, Yahoo, Coke Foods, Lipton, Shick, Sara
Lee, Campbell Soup, and many others. He is also
acknowledged as having high levels of expertise in
category management, new-product sales forecasting,
market structure and segmentation, tracking, customer relationship marketing, and many research
methodologies. Prior to joining NPD, he led the technical research services function at Lever Brothers.

196

JOURNAL OF ADVERTISING RESEARCH

June 2005
BRAND KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATORS

Mr. Rubinson is a sought after speaker and lec-

Ehrenberg, Andrew S. C., Gerald J.

tion communication and entertainment industries

turer. He has taught the official American Marketing

(e.g., Philip Morris, Siemens-Nixdorf, Burda Media)

Goodhardt, and T. Patrick Barwise. “Dou-

Association advanced tutorial on consumer loyalty and

and as a visiting professor for several German univer-

ble Jeopardy Revisited.” Journal of Marketing

given many talks at AMA and ARF conferences, chair-

sities. As the managing director of a German consult-

54, 3 (1990): 82–91.

ing the one on brand equity research. He has lectured

ing company, he was responsible for new business

at Columbia, NYU, Wharton, Amos Tuck School, and

development and all major client relationships. Prior

University of Rochester, among others. He holds an

to that, he worked in the financial services, media,

MBA in statistics and economics from the University

and publishing sectors.

of Chicago (where he studied under three Nobel

Hair, Joseph F., Jr., Rolph E. Anderson, Ronald L. Tatham, and William C. Black. Multi-

Dr. Pfeiffer is a regular invited speaker to industry

variate Data Analysis. Englewood Cliffs, NJ:
Prentice-Hall, 1998.

Prize winners) and a degree in quantitative methods

conferences and holds a visiting professorship at the

from NYU.

Solvay Business School in Brussels, Belgium. He

................................................................................................

earned a diploma in business administration and a

Keller, Kevin Lane. Strategic Brand Manage-

MARKUS PFEIFFER is executive director of the Munich

doctorate degree from the Center on Global Brand

ment, 2nd ed. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-

office for Vivaldi Partners. In over eight years of expe-

Leadership at the Munich School of Management,

Hall, 2003.

rience in strategy and brand consulting, he served

University of Munich.

many international and smaller clients to solve com-

Johnson, Tod. “Seventeen Years of Brand Loy-

plex marketing and brand strategy problems. He has
a wide range of experience in developing well-founded

alty Trends: What Do They Tell Us?” PMAA

REFERENCES

Conference, March 3, 1992.

solutions to brand strategies, restructure brand architectures, measure existing brand assets, and explore

Aaker, David A., and Erich Joachimsthaler.

new growth opportunities. Specifically, his experience

Brand Leadership. New York: The Free Press,

with clients from various industries and top-level exec-

2000.

Than Market Share.” Journal of Advertising Re-

utives helps Vivaldi Partners to translate best practices into company-specific growth strategies.

Rubinson, Joel. “Brand Strength Means More
search 19, 5 (1979): 83–87.

Baldinger, Allan, and Joel Rubinson. “Brand

Prior joining Vivaldi Partners, Dr. Pfeiffer worked as

Loyalty: The Link between Attitudes and Be-

a marketing consultant for different German and inter-

havior.” Journal of Advertising Research 36, 6

Rubinson, Joel. “A Framework for Growth.”

national clients in the consumer goods and informa-

(1996): 22–34.

Marketing Research 17, 2 (2005): 15–20.

June 2005

JOURNAL OF ADVERTISING RESEARCH

197

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Brand Key Performance Indicators as a Force for Brand Equity Management

  • 1. Brand Key Performance Indicators as a Force for Brand Equity Management JOEL RUBINSON A measurable framework for brand equity is presented that links together financial Vivaldi Partners performance, loyalty, and attitudinal dimensions and for understanding the impact of a jrubinson@ vivaldipartners.com corporate brand on sub-brands that share the same name. This study describes specific key performance indicator measures and, most importantly, how to MARKUS PFEIFFER Vivaldi Partners mpfeiffer@ vivaldipartners.com intelligently set targets for each measure, so that marketers can track and manage the success of their brands. A case history for a large European telecommunications company is presented that shows how this framework produced a very different view of the health of the company’s brands versus prior research, one that was ultimately accepted as correct. This study discusses organizational problems the CMO had to address as he tried to implement this new framework, and how to generalize this approach to other industries. INTRODUCTION silos prevent customer-centric thinking from tak- Imagine the branding challenges that a CMO ing root because a complete view of the relation- might face as he or she first joins a new company. ship that the company has with the customer is The CMO is likely to start by taking stock of probably not being obtained. how brands are managed by each division and The problem is compounded when there is a brand group. What they are likely to find is that “Master Brand,” that is, a corporate brand name each group operates in a silo and has evolved that is part of the brand name for each sub-brand, different brand practices over time. The brand service, and specific offering. Examples of this strategy templates and planning processes proba- kind of brand architecture include Virgin (Virgin bly are different (or nonexistent) across groups. Mobil, Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Megastores), Sony Some brands will have recent brand strategy work (what don’t they make?), and Verizon (fixed line and others will not. The methods and measures service, DSL, wireless). It is likely that the corpo- that each division uses to track brand perfor- rate brand has been pulled in different directions mance usually are inconsistent and probably sub- by the way that each sub-brand has evolved. optimal. Some divisions might conduct brand Because the corporate brand often is not marketed trackers that produce key performance indicators (e.g., a customer cannot subscribe to “Verizon”; (KPI), while others do not. Among those that do, they subscribe to Verizon WIRELESS, DSL, etc.), it they probably are using different research proto- might not even have a brand strategy, leaving that cols and tracking different measures as the key up to the sub-brands with some form of loose indicators of brand success. The lack of corporate cooperation. consistency is almost certain to exist for multi- The CMO must provide leadership to the orga- nationals across countries. Finally, it is also likely nization for defining how the marketing function that there is no corporate level management of the can help the company win in the marketplace. customer, because the divisions are siloed. Hence, This means the CMO must provide a compelling DOI: 10.1017/S0021849905050208 June 2005 JOURNAL OF ADVERTISING RESEARCH 187
  • 2. BRAND KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATORS framework for how to create well- . . . “brand equity” [is] “the differential consumer re- positioned brands, how to market them efficiently, and how to establish proper sponse from knowing the brand.” KPIs, along with relevant targets for these KPIs, to drive the organization to brand success. suggests that key dimensions of brand ket share brands almost always exhibit For a company to effectively manage equity are linked together in a kind of the highest levels of behavioral loyalty and grow its brand equity, it must de- “choreography” and that modeling these is well known and often referred to as velop a framework for understanding how relationships will become critical to choos- the “double jeopardy” effect (Ehrenberg, brand equity contributes to financial per- ing the right measures and for setting Goodhardt, and Barwise, 1990). formance, and then operationalize this targets to create an effective brand equity framework with a measurement system management system. and a way to set targets for key measures. Linking loyalty and favorable attitudes. “A differential response from knowing the Then, the CMO must orchestrate organi- Linking market share and loyalty. A “dif- brand” implies that consumers are buy- zational buy-in from senior management ferential response” implies that we put ing or staying with a certain brand be- both at the corporate and divisional levels behavior first and analyze attitudes in cause of brand knowledge that produces to play by the rules of this system. terms of their influence on behavior. Be- uniquely favorable attitudes toward that In this article, the authors propose a haviorally speaking, “loyalty” is revealed brand on aspects that drive their choice. measurable framework for brand equity by a nonrandom consumer purchasing It is impractical to think that a brand and present a modeling approach for link- pattern, often summarized as “customer can stand out on every driver of choice. ing together the dimensions of brand eq- retention” (for subscription services) or Hence, brand management should distin- uity so targets can be set in a way that is “repeat rate” (for frequently purchased guish between those drivers of loyalty consistent with financial goals. Then, we products). that have been chosen as defining charac- give a case example where the corporate Loyalty is a critical marker for brand teristics of the brand positioning (“points marketing function was able to establish equity as the observation that large mar- of difference”) and those that are impor- a brand equity management system that significantly impacted the culture and metrics across the company. A FRAMEWORK FOR BRAND EQUITY Conceptualization Following the work of Keller, we define “brand equity” as “the differential consumer response from knowing the brand” (Keller, 2003). This definition, which probably should win an award as the shortest published definition of brand equity, packs a lot of punch into these eight words. In a way, our framework could be called the “linkage” theory of brand equity because of how it emphasizes the connections between aspects of brand equity. Figure 1 illustrates typical brand equity profiles that we have seen time and time again. The performance relationship of a leading brand versus a number two brand, etc. 188 JOURNAL OF ADVERTISING RESEARCH Figure 1 Brand Equity Linkage Profiles June 2005
  • 3. BRAND KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATORS tant but not ownable by the brand (“points Without [KPI] targets, we have a brand equity measure- of parity”). More aggressive goals should be set for how the brand is rated on ment system, . . . not a brand equity management system. attributes that define its positioning (Keller, 2003). Linking master brands and sub-brands. The authors believe that leading brands rize the probability that a customer will be If the company has a master brand/sub- shift their advertising and promotion re-tained but the aggregated results by brand architecture, there are some addi- budget somewhat more toward advertis- brand should correspond with observed tional patterns we expect to see. The ing. In fact, evidence has been published retention rates to be proven valid. This is sub-brands should have certain common- that demonstrates that brands that build where many brand equity measures go alities in how they are perceived, and the loyalty from year to year also show a wrong, by the way. Often, the survey mea- perceptions of the master brand should corresponding pattern of increased adver- sure sounds logical but simply does not be correlated with loyalty to the sub- tising spending over time (Johnson, 1992), compare well with retention results across brands, suggesting that the image of the while brands with declining loyalty re- brands or does not track well with changes master brand is providing benefit to each duce advertising budgets or advertise er- in retention over time. Such approaches sub-brand (Aaker and Joachimsthaler, ratically over time. However, in total, as have questionable validity. 2000). a percent of sales, the marketing budget The authors have had success with two for leading brands is usually lower as a different approaches—constant sum data Linking brand equity and profitability. percent of sales resulting in greater profit (allocating 10 chips across alternative If a brand is creating brand equity, it is margins. brands) and summating the results across succeeding at creating loyalty based on The bottom line is that brand equity, three to five 5-point scale rating ques- uniquely favorable customer beliefs. Such “the differential consumer response from tions. The specific choice of which ap- brands enjoy greater market share, mar- knowing the brand,” positively affects mar- proach to use should be data driven from gins, and resulting profits than a generic keting ROI. a benchmark study, based on which loy- product or poorly marketed brand could generate. alty measure best compares to retention Measurement rates across brands and, when used as a Loyalty provides the mechanism by The next step is to translate this frame- dependent variable regressed on attributes which increased profit margins arise. As a work into measures and targets. Without as the independent variables, permits the group, loyal customers do not require deals properly constructed measures, we can strongest regression model to be built. to the same degree as less loyal customers easily be misled about the strength of a to stay with the brand, nor are they as brand. Without targets, we have a brand Measuring favorability. For the case his- switchable in the face of competitive pro- equity measurement system, but it is not a tory to follow, we used 5-point scale motions. This is most clearly observed in brand equity management system. attribute ratings. In other research, we packaged goods where the average price Because our case history is on telecom have used an “endorsement matrix” rat- paid for a given brand has always been ob- services, we will describe how to con- ing approach, where respondents check served by the authors from consumer scan- struct brand equity measures for a sub- off which attributes apply to which brands. ner panel data to be higher among more scription service and then generalize the Either will permit good regression mod- loyal buyers (as measured by share of re- discussion at the end of the article. els to be built. users (say 50 percent or greater share of re- Measuring loyalty. A critical point for lated to the loyalty measure should be quirements for the given brand) are much establishing valid loyalty measures is that turned into KPIs. They should be grouped more likely to buy the product whether or they must operate at a respondent level based on whether or not they are central not it is on sale. This implies that while the and then have the property that they can to the brand positioning. You may also total promotion budget might be higher in be aggregated up and shown to align want to group drivers by theme (e.g., the absolute for a leading brand, it is al- with business results. Hence, at a respon- products versus service quality) based on most certainly lower as a percent of sales. dent level, we are attempting to summa- factor analysis and then show the attribute quirements), presumably because loyal Those attributes that are most corre- June 2005 JOURNAL OF ADVERTISING RESEARCH 189
  • 4. BRAND KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATORS ratings as summated measures by theme. alty, ratings on key attributes) will also be 80 percent for their brand shares to be This is very C-level friendly. fair and reasonable. stable. As Figure 3 suggests, retention and A critical research issue with attribute The reason is that they are all linked. acquisition rates that correspond to a tar- ratings is whether to score brand perfor- Let us explore some of the more impor- get market share can be calculated. In this mance by using the ratings from all who tant linkages. way, targets for retention and acquisition can be determined based on a desired are aware of a brand or to analyze the ratings patterns of customers (Rubinson, Modeling customer loyalty market share. Once the retention targets 2005). We will provide clarity on this in and market share are set, the target for the respondent level the discussion on setting targets. Larger share brands must have greater loyalty measure can also be set. loyalty to support their market share Measuring master brand/sub-brand (Baldinger and Rubinson, 1996). Consider Setting targets for key attributes linkages. At minimum, it is important to the following proof. Imagine a service Each brand’s retention rate is the average have a reduced set of ratings toward the business with three major brands where of the underlying distribution of their cus- master brand in each study about a given there is some churn from year to year. tomers’ probability of being retained, as sub-brand. That way, favorability toward Assume that the market shares and levels shown in Figure 4. Because 70 percent of the master brand can be statistically re- of churn are as depicted in Figure 2 and brand A’s customers have an “ultra-high” lated to loyalty for the sub-brand. The that brands exchange customers in pro- probability of being retained (90 per- pattern of attribute ratings as a function portion to share. For brand shares to be centϩ) versus only 55 percent of brand of the number of services subscribed to stable, the brands must exchange equal B’s customers, brand A has a higher re- can also provide a lot of insight as to numbers of buyers. However, losing the tention rate (90 percent versus 80 per- what it takes to create total customer loy- same number of customers means that cent). Hence, brand A’s leading market alty across all services, implying loyalty the larger share brand must have a higher share of 60 percent is dependent on hav- to the corporate brand. “Special” ques- retention rate. Here, brand A has a 60 ing more customers with “ultra-high” loy- tions are also often used to understand percent market share, churns 6 percent of alty (Rubinson, 1979). the impact that bad experience with the the market, and its retention rate is 90 Now, let us link the distribution of cus- sub-brand might have on the corporate percent. Brands B and C, the smaller share tomer loyalty with patterns of attribute brand, or the effect that corporate spon- brands, need have retention rates of only ratings. The only way that brand A can sorship of worthy causes might have on feelings toward the sub-brands. Measuring profit impact. Any brand equity scorecard should include business results. It is also worthwhile to track competitive marketing activity and compare the “A&P to sales” ratios across brands, ranked by market share. Setting targets Once the measures that will constitute the brand KPI metrics are determined, the linkages among these measures can all be modeled. Hence, once market share targets are established for the brand, targets for each KPI can be established. By modeling the relationship of each KPI to market share, if the share goal is attainable, the other targets (e.g., for customer loy- 190 JOURNAL OF ADVERTISING RESEARCH Figure 2 Retention and Market Share June 2005
  • 5. BRAND KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATORS sustain a more desirable loyalty distribution is if its customers rate it somewhat more favorably than brands B and C are rated by their users, especially on those attributes that are most important at driving choice. Figures 5a and 5b illustrate a healthy pattern (from brand A’s perspective) and an unhealthy pattern, respectively. Note that the difference between a healthy and not so healthy situation for market-leading brand A is most notable on ratings on key drivers among customers versus those of brand B, not among all aware, where the pattern does not look much different. This is because of the “big brand effect,” where a big brand’s attribute ratings among all of those aware of the brand will always be consistently higher, even when there is a problem in how customers rate their respective chosen brands. Figure 3 Required Acquisition and Retention Targets Linking these discussions together, we see some telltale markers of market leadership, by studying brand A with its 60 percent market share versus competitors that each have a 20 percent market share: • Brand A must have a 10-point higher retention rate than brands B and C. • Brand A must have about 30 percent more ultra-loyal customers than brands B and C. • Brand A must have higher attribute ratings among its own customers versus competitors. These patterns are consistent with the brand equity linkage profiles shown in Figure 1. The clarity of these patterns suggests that a model can be built to precisely set targets for retention, percent of customers who are ultra-loyal, and the average level of ratings among customers on key driver attributes, relative to how competitors’ Figure 4 Customer Retention Probabilities users rate those brands. Furthermore, tarJune 2005 JOURNAL OF ADVERTISING RESEARCH 191
  • 6. BRAND KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATORS . . . if the company has a master brand/sub-brand archi- periencing across-the-board market share erosion (see Figure 6 for the development tecture, the sub-brands should have certain commonal- in the mobile segment). As competition was mainly price driven, it became criti- ities in how they are perceived . . . cal to identify positioning opportunities that would provide unique value to customers in order to remain differentiated from discount offerings and thereby secure the company’s margins. gets for individual attributes can be fine- Implementing a brand equity manage- tuned by considering that, almost by ment system is critical to managing one The new CMO focused initially on un- definition, the advantage should be greater of the company’s most valuable assets. It derstanding the status of the corporate for those attributes that define the brand will give the company a better way to brand as well as the line of business (LOB) positioning and might be closer to parity inform how to position its brands, be- brands (fixed, mobile, and internet busi- on “cost of entry” attributes. come a living bible of what matters most ness) by analyzing the more than 60 dif- To summarize, this discussion of how for brands to succeed, enable charting ferent brand and image research studies measures are linked suggests how KPI brand progress toward goals, and become (qualitative as well as quantitative stud- measures can be created and how targets a tool for diagnosing and fixing a weak- ies) that were conducted over the last two can be set. Furthermore, if the company ness that might be emerging. years. has a master brand/sub-brand architec- We would now like to share a case Soon he realized that the existing ap- ture, the sub-brands should have certain history that illustrates the challenges of proaches to researching customers’ per- commonalities in how they are perceived, attempting to implement a brand KPI sys- ceptions of the brand portfolio were suggesting that the image of the master tem, and ultimately, how the CMO suc- somewhat incomplete as they primarily brand and its benefit to each sub-brand ceeded at getting the new system in place. focused on classic brand image research. should also be closely monitored. Finally, In general, the brand’s performance on to make this dashboard of brand equity CASE STUDY most image attributes looked good; in measures as relevant as possible to senior In 2003 the new CMO of a major telecom- fact, the portfolio brands were leading the management, financial measures should munication company in Eastern Europe category on most image attributes and also be reported, including the ratio of came on board. While the company had a the dimensions that were chosen as posi- advertising and promotion spending to dominant share position in fixed line, mo- tioning values (simplicity, customer focus, sales versus estimates for competition. bile, and internet services, they were ex- and innovation). Also the satisfaction num- Figure 5 Average Ratings on Driver Attributes: (a) Brand A Healthy; (b) Brand A NOT Healthy 192 JOURNAL OF ADVERTISING RESEARCH June 2005
  • 7. BRAND KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATORS Figure 6 Development in the Mobile Segment bers were favorable, in contrast to actually experiencing market share loss. Furthermore, while each division had brand KPIs, they were all based on auton- • Evaluate the actual state of each brand overall perceptions of the corporate brand including a valid picture of their and cross-purchase. In total, more than performance (beyond the “big brand 8,000 consumers were interviewed across effect”). service areas and three countries. Both omously created, incompatible measure- • Identify purchase and loyalty drivers users of the company’s brand as well as ment methodologies. Regardless, all were for each market segment across the dif- competitors’ users were interviewed, brought together into one single corpo- ferent LOBs. thereby drawing a complete picture of the rate scorecard, which led to the problem • Quantify interdependencies—that is, the that apparently comparable KPIs were ac- potential for brand equity transfer be- tually coming from different research de- tween the LOB brands. signs. Implications on how the master • Demonstrate the power of a strong cor- brand and sub-brands in the portfolio in- porate brand to an organization that fluence each other and build brand equity was driven by an engineering heritage in a coherent way was not reflected in the and culture that has not proven to an- current measures. Despite their close vi- ticipate customer needs and behavior sual alignment, the divisional brands were but rather pushed complex technology basically treated as single brands within a products into the market. house of brands, neglecting any potential • Derive a new set of brand equity KPIs or actual synergies through brand equity that would be more valid and become transfer. the foundation for an ongoing manage- Hence, the CMO concluded that the ment of the brands by top management research results across divisions were in- in line with the market share and profit adequate to turn the business around be- targets the CEO put into place. market in multiple ways: • identification of the importance of LOBspecific purchase and loyalty drivers through multiple regression modeling • performance data for all drivers and brand attributes among users in comparison with all major competitors • commitment and loyalty rates across all relevant customer segments and their linkage to the relevant drivers • quantification of the brand equity transfer between the LOB brands (i.e., overall influence of one brand on other brands and relative influence on the attribute level) cause the methods were inconsistent and were not correctly tracking with share slippage. The brand equity research was conducted A summated composite measure of loy- The CMO commissioned a corporate through CATI interviews with separate alty was chosen based on 5-point scale brand equity study, with the followed main legs focusing on each division’s service questions including those relating to com- objectives: area, as well as a leg that focused on mitment, willingness to recommend, will- June 2005 JOURNAL OF ADVERTISING RESEARCH 193
  • 8. BRAND KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATORS ingness to switch (negatively scored), and The first round of results was overwhelming for some of desire to remain a customer. This composite measure was chosen among a number the LOBs to accept at first as they drew a very different of alternatives because it (but more realistic) picture of the market . . . 1. correlated best with brand-to-brand differences in measured retention rates across brands its market share and this was due to a 10 eling interdependencies. Corporate image percent gap on certain major drivers. Sim- attributes were shown to predict loyalty ulations indicated that eliminating this un- to each given LOB over and above spe- favorable gap would result in gaining two cific perceptions of that sub-brand. When A word about the modeling approach we share points, which would be worth 100 added into the regression model of used for assessing the relative importance million Euros in revenues. attributes to the loyalty dependent mea- 2. permitted a driver model that had the highest R 2 of attributes. A separate model was built The results also indicated new strategic sure, the ratings of the corporate brand for each sub-brand. Each model was final- directions. For example, in spite of the accounted for 32 percent of the explana- ized with only variables that had signifi- price-driven market situation described tion. By conducting similar analysis on cant correlations to loyalty, where no in the beginning, it became obvious (in the divisional influence on a dependent independent variable had an unaccept- the mobile telephony market, for exam- measure for the corporate brand, we could ably high Variance Inflation Factor (VIF) ple) that many customers look for signs determine the influence of each divisional (which would indicate extreme multi- that the company cares about the cus- brand on the corporate image. By impli- collinearity) and where the coefficients tomer, and this can offset not having the cation, the impact of each division on were all positive in order to be interpret- least expensive rates. This learning pro- each other division could be estimated. In able. For this model, VIFs were in the vided an interesting avenue for a high- other words, for the first time, there was 1.2–2.0 range. Then, the betas (i.e., the service/high-margin differentiation in the strong evidence that each manager should standardized regression coefficients) were marketplace. act as if “we’re all in this together” (see used to calculate the relative importance Figure 7). of each variable, rather than using simple Interdependencies among sub-brands correlation (Hair, Anderson, Tatham, and in the portfolio agement board endorsed the CMO’s new Black, 1998). All models were quite ro- The brand equity results also enabled the approach to brand equity management bust, with adjusted R 2 values around 60 CMO to make the case for a strong cor- and the chosen strategy for the corporate percent. porate brand that would be positioned brand that was built from the findings of consistently by each LOB, based on mod- the brand equity research. A system of The first round of results was over- It was time to act aggressively. The man- whelming for some of the LOBs to accept at first as they drew a very different (but more realistic) picture of the market that was not influenced by the big brand effects. As previously mentioned, a leading TABLE 1 Selected Mobile Telephony Rankings brand should have the most favorable attribute ratings among users. However, among users, attribute ratings on key driv- Model Competitive Key Performance Indicator Importance Rank ............................................................................................................................................................. ers were actually lower in many cases Is caring about customers 22% 3 ............................................................................................................................................................. versus the ratings of competitive brands Good value for the money 18% 4 ............................................................................................................................................................. among their own respective users (see Is a safe choice 14% 1 ............................................................................................................................................................. Table 1). It was shown that the commitment to Recommended by friends 11% 2 ............................................................................................................................................................. the brand was not sufficient to maintain Is a technology leader 8% 1 ............................................................................................................................................................. 194 JOURNAL OF ADVERTISING RESEARCH June 2005
  • 9. BRAND KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATORS A limited number of KPIs were chosen: a his goal. All LOBs were now thinking composite measure of commitment (that about the corporate brand the same way was proven to relate to customer reten- and marketing their brands in ways that tion); key purchase drivers relating to ser- would support common strategic values. vice and product quality; and brand The new culture was continually re- attributes that were proven to correlate to inforced by consistent KPIs. Implement- commitment and were chosen as key re- ing corporate brand equity tracking also flections of the corporate and/or sub- led to immediate savings of 5 million brand positioning strategies. Euros by consolidating brand equity re- Targeted market share gains were decomposed into components (see Fig- search from divisional marketing research budgets. ure 8). Reanalysis of the brand equity Figure 7 Brand Portfolio Interdependencies database led to setting targets that were CONCLUDING COMMENTS consistent with the market share and prof- While the case history we have shown itability goals set by the CEO and divi- comes from a telecommunications B2C sional presidents. A subset of the final set service business, the tools and concepts brand KPIs was put into place company- of KPIs for brand attributes is shown in here are completely generalizable. The wide that, for the first time, came from Table 2. Note that the targets indicate that biggest difference is not the relevance of consistent frameworks and measurement certain attributes require more dramatic loyalty but choosing the right survey mea- systems. improvement than others, such as “is car- sure(s) of loyalty. For example, consider ing about customers,” based on the lever- fast moving consumer goods (FMCG). The age of that attribute and the gap that was best loyalty measure is one that maps not observed versus competitors’ scores. to retention, but to share of requirements The key steps for implementing KPIs were as follows: 1. organizing a cross-divisional integrated Hence, after nine months of work, the (the share of all purchases a given brand marketing strategy and planning team new corporate CMO had finally achieved has with a given consumer). We have had that worked with corporate marketing to coordinate the selection of KPIs, setting targets, and marketing activities across sub-brands 2. choosing which KPIs would be consistently placed on the dashboards in each division and corporately 3. setting targets for each KPI that would be consistent with business goals 4. presenting the proposed system for endorsement from the CEO, so that brand equity KPIs could be integrated into the corporate scorecard, linked with other metrics targeted at the improvement of performances and cascaded down into each LOB organization— from marketing to customer service and product development 5. implementing a quarterly tracking of the KPIs to monitor progress toward goals and to report on the effects of new marketing activities that were initiated Figure 8 Targets for Sales June 2005 JOURNAL OF ADVERTISING RESEARCH 195
  • 10. BRAND KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATORS The job of getting an organization that is used to operat- with is competing based on features and price. When you compete in this way, the ing in a decentralized way to adopt consistent brand desire for more market share leads to more SKU proliferation and promotions management practices is tantamount to “change because those are the only weapons you have. Strong brands that connect with their customers provide another path to management” . . . growth. Your offerings’ value to your customers comes from much more than features and low prices, it comes from a great success with constant sum ques- management,” which is never easy. Divi- tions (allocating 10 points) as a survey sions and brand groups will be resistant based way of approximating respondent to the loss of autonomy, and their mar- level share of requirements. In fact, we keting research departments will fight hard have validated this measure on FMCG by for their current brand tracking research conducting proprietary brand equity re- methods. It is likely that the first wave search among Information Resources Inc. of research results using the new frame- panelists and in another study, among work will produce some dramatically dif- respondents who were also maintaining a ferent pictures of the brand’s health and purchase diary. We have applied these that will lead to challenges to credibility tools to B2B markets as well as B2C, and that need to be defended to gain organi- we find that our brand equity framework zational buy-in. The acid test of whether is just as applicable; even in “rational” or not you have succeeded is the ability JOEL RUBINSON is managing director of advanced re- B2B markets, we find statistical evidence to establish brand KPIs that are corpo- search for Vivaldi Partners, a New York–based market- that importance of trust, leadership, and rately consistent. It is the ultimate sign- ing consultancy, where he has developed pioneering relationship mean that it is not all a price off from the divisions, and it represents methods for brand equity measurement, customer and features game. a living bible that will reinforce through- segmentation and database scoring, and forecasting out the organization what matters at man- the sales potential of innovative products. Prior to aging a strong brand. that, Mr. Rubinson had been the chief research officer The job of getting an organization that is used to operating in a decentralized way to adopt consistent brand manage- This difficult task is worth the battle. ment practices is tantamount to “change Without strong brands, all you are left more enduring connection. Strong brands require leveraging all the brand equity at your disposal, which means creating an effective brand architecture that can utilize the equity from a corporate brand to fullest advantage. Would you rather be selling bananas or Chiquita bananas, chicken or Purdue chicken? The profit and market share advantages are obvious and worth fighting for. ................................................................................................ and head of product management/development for over 20 years at The NPD Group, one of the leading marketing research firms in the world. For most of that time, he has served on NPD’s Executive Committee. Over the years, Mr. Rubinson has led the development of virtually all of NPD’s advanced analytics and research methodologies, most notably BrandBuilder, one of the leading brand equity modeling systems used by many leading companies such as Procter and Gamble, AT&T, Yahoo, Coke Foods, Lipton, Shick, Sara Lee, Campbell Soup, and many others. He is also acknowledged as having high levels of expertise in category management, new-product sales forecasting, market structure and segmentation, tracking, customer relationship marketing, and many research methodologies. Prior to joining NPD, he led the technical research services function at Lever Brothers. 196 JOURNAL OF ADVERTISING RESEARCH June 2005
  • 11. BRAND KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATORS Mr. Rubinson is a sought after speaker and lec- Ehrenberg, Andrew S. C., Gerald J. tion communication and entertainment industries turer. He has taught the official American Marketing (e.g., Philip Morris, Siemens-Nixdorf, Burda Media) Goodhardt, and T. Patrick Barwise. “Dou- Association advanced tutorial on consumer loyalty and and as a visiting professor for several German univer- ble Jeopardy Revisited.” Journal of Marketing given many talks at AMA and ARF conferences, chair- sities. As the managing director of a German consult- 54, 3 (1990): 82–91. ing the one on brand equity research. He has lectured ing company, he was responsible for new business at Columbia, NYU, Wharton, Amos Tuck School, and development and all major client relationships. Prior University of Rochester, among others. He holds an to that, he worked in the financial services, media, MBA in statistics and economics from the University and publishing sectors. of Chicago (where he studied under three Nobel Hair, Joseph F., Jr., Rolph E. Anderson, Ronald L. Tatham, and William C. Black. Multi- Dr. Pfeiffer is a regular invited speaker to industry variate Data Analysis. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1998. Prize winners) and a degree in quantitative methods conferences and holds a visiting professorship at the from NYU. Solvay Business School in Brussels, Belgium. He ................................................................................................ earned a diploma in business administration and a Keller, Kevin Lane. Strategic Brand Manage- MARKUS PFEIFFER is executive director of the Munich doctorate degree from the Center on Global Brand ment, 2nd ed. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice- office for Vivaldi Partners. In over eight years of expe- Leadership at the Munich School of Management, Hall, 2003. rience in strategy and brand consulting, he served University of Munich. many international and smaller clients to solve com- Johnson, Tod. “Seventeen Years of Brand Loy- plex marketing and brand strategy problems. He has a wide range of experience in developing well-founded alty Trends: What Do They Tell Us?” PMAA REFERENCES Conference, March 3, 1992. solutions to brand strategies, restructure brand architectures, measure existing brand assets, and explore Aaker, David A., and Erich Joachimsthaler. new growth opportunities. Specifically, his experience Brand Leadership. New York: The Free Press, with clients from various industries and top-level exec- 2000. Than Market Share.” Journal of Advertising Re- utives helps Vivaldi Partners to translate best practices into company-specific growth strategies. Rubinson, Joel. “Brand Strength Means More search 19, 5 (1979): 83–87. Baldinger, Allan, and Joel Rubinson. “Brand Prior joining Vivaldi Partners, Dr. Pfeiffer worked as Loyalty: The Link between Attitudes and Be- a marketing consultant for different German and inter- havior.” Journal of Advertising Research 36, 6 Rubinson, Joel. “A Framework for Growth.” national clients in the consumer goods and informa- (1996): 22–34. Marketing Research 17, 2 (2005): 15–20. June 2005 JOURNAL OF ADVERTISING RESEARCH 197