I just picked up a book on branding. The last chapter was devoted to brand measurement, especially brand ROI. I am a big believer in measurement, so I read this section with some interest. What I found surprised me.
It turns out that there are many ways to measure brand ROI, however, none of them seemed particularly effective. For example, one measurement was calculating all customer sales that were promoted through branding. That sounds pretty effective until you start thinking about it. Aren’t all sales tied to a brand? Perhaps in some mega-companies that operate multi-brands this makes sense, but to the garden variety for-profit or non-profit business who have only one brand this doesn’t make sense.
There were a number of other measurements. The one that seemed to make the most sense was brand recall – asking people if they remembered the brand. However, this is clouded by advertising campaigns. Brand recall will surely go up if there’s been a big advertising push. So, when McDonalds does a brand recall measurement after a more successful TV ad campaign what are they really measuring? Is it “I’m loving it” (their brand) or the ads themselves?
All this leads me to the conclusion that branding measurement only seems to work when you’re a large multi-national with multiple brands. For non-profits, it is still a very hard thing to gauge.
Branding is important. And it should be measured. But instead of trying to measure ROI or recall why don’t you measure fit and organizational understanding. This is what I mean. Ask your clients, supporters or donors whether your brand makes sense to them. Then ask them if they really, truly understand your organization. If they say yes to both (with some probing on the second question), then you know your brand is effective.