Burn the Brand?

CheckMarket was proud to be partner sponsor of  Marketing Foundation’s International Marketing Conference in Ghent, Belgium.

During the conference CheckMarket conducted a survey of ‘brand metrics‘. Respondents were attendees of the marketing conference and represent marketing professionals of Belgium and the Netherlands.

Survey Results

The theme of the conference was ‘Burn the Brand?‘.
This was a two-sided question asking on the one hand if we should place less importance on brands or on the other hand more importance. Importance, meaning marketing effort and budget. In order to gauge the trend of brand importance we asked respondents if brands are still as effective as they were ten years ago:


As you can see, a majority of 56% feel that brands are either more effective or equally effective as they were ten years ago. These responses clearly indicate that brand marketing budgets will not be going down any time soon.

We then asked the respondents who said that brands are less effective than ten years ago, why they feel this way:


Of these respondents 71% said that consumers are better informed. We’ve seen a large jump in the amount of information about goods and services. The crush of magazines, web sites and forums scrutinising products and services, makes it a lot more difficult to command a price premium based on brand alone. Equally 71% said it was not because brands have less impact on consumers, but because of the pofusion of high quality, well marketed similar brands that exist in today’s marketplace, it is much more difficult to stand out.

Another question probed where the emphasis in brand marketing budgets is going:


Here a small majority of 55% feels that a company’s brand is more important than the individual product brands. Deeper questioning of this group indicates this is caused by the trend of brand consolidation occurring right now. It is just too costly to maintain a large brand portfolio. The focus will differ based on sector and company strategy, ranging from Philips with almost 100% focus on company brand, to Unilever and P&G on the other end of the spectrum. Although even Unilever has started to try to create more company brand awareness and P&G will probably follow.

The next question pretty much speaks for itself:


The response options were displayed in a random order to each respondent, which means the strong convergence of opinion recorded above is real. It seems everyone pretty much agrees on where brand strength comes from.

What is not measured is not managed

The following section covered Brand metrics. We asked respondents if they measure the different aspects of their brand:


Looking at the results of the questions on Brand measurement shows a surprising lack of testing and tracking of one of the most important assets a company has, its brands. Of the three, brand perception is the most measured. It is probably the easiest of the three to measure. Asking consumers if they are aware of your brand and what it means to them and then tracking these points over time is the minimum metrics requirement and yet 40% don’t even do that.

Conclusion about the importance of brands

Brands are still as important as ever, but less effective. Who’s to blame? Well, there are more brands than ever and a new breed of hyper informed superconsumers. These consumers don’t just have to look for a brand they know, and hope they get quality. More and more, they go online and do some research before they buy.
5 years ago Sony charged 44 percent more for its DVD players than the average. Now Sony DVD players cost just 16 percent more than average.

Also marketeers are not measuring the brand’s performance enough. In this ‘What have you done for me lately?‘ economy where things change so fast, it is of the utmost importance to conduct brand metrics, but as this survey shows, it is just not being done.

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