Does the brand have a future?
Many top companies will tell you that a brand that can’t make the top two in its category is a brand under threat. It may be a “challenger brand,” it may have potential, but then you have to ask where is the category going, and where is the future of the company?
Does the brand have the right support?
Financial, for starters, and is it from two to twenty percent of revenue depending on the category? McDonald’s admitted underinvestment over the last three to four years in late 2003, opening the door for the competition. It is now busy closing that door.
Now what about emotional support from the chairman down and the receptionist up? All must learn to live the brand.
Is the importance of the brand recognized?
In many companies the brands are the main assets, but is this recognized and understood? In the 100 Best Global Brands rankings, Interbrand/Citigroup estimated that around 36 percent of the total market capitalization comprised brand value. Not something to be looked after by amateurs.
Are you treating the brand-owning company as a brand?
Companies are brands in their own right, but do they have their own brand manager? Rarely. The growing importance of Corporate Reputation Management (CRM) and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) could help change that.
Has the brand gone down or up in value?
Today you can measure most things and monitor them. This improves accountability, and also focuses the management of the brand by all those involved.
And why has the brand gone down or up?
Measuring Return on Marketing Investment (ROMI) means that marketing becomes less of a soft and fuzzy issue, and much more tangible. Marketing issues are less soft than people realize, and financial issues less hard.
Are marketing and brand management discussed in the boardroom?
If not, why not? Marketers are often criticized by fellow executives for not understanding financial fundamentals – a reason boardrooms are often without a marketer. But boardrooms are certainly discussing brands. The next step is to bring in the marketer.
Are you maximizing your budgets effectiveness?
Consistency, focus and alignment of the total brand experience will immediately grow the equity. Last year (2003) turned out a lot tougher toward the end than many expected, resulting in marketing budgets being chopped in Q4. Was that a good idea, and on what basis were they cut?
We are not simply talking of the marketing mix, we must co-ordinate all the touch points of the brand, and for many companies that includes investor relations and staff relations
Do you have too many brands?
Financially and emotionally do you have the ability to support your brand portfolio? Many don’t. In planning for the future we know one thing for certain: it will be more competitive. You had better have all your brands in good shape, and consider less rather than more. And make that corporate brand work as an endorser – as Unilever is doing.
At the end of the day any brand has a set of values and has to deliver on its promise. Think of a brand as a relationship: it has to behave like a good friend with no schizophrenia, no dramatic mood swings – something you can trust at all times. Simple isn’t it!