Why are some brands loved and respected by consumers while others aren’t? Why do some products generate long lineups while similar offerings from other brands fizzle?
Many CEOs spend a lifetime figuring out how to make consumers love their brand. Making an emotional connection with consumers is the key to long-term profitability—and brands that fail at this task eventually bore consumers and lose their business.
The art of brand building has been around for ages, but the science piece is relatively new. In my opinion, organizations with low brand equity got to where they are because they measure and compensate executives for the wrong brand KPIs.
The decades-old AIDA model (which stands for Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action) proposes that brand awareness eventually leads to purchase as long as you can move consumers along the sales funnel. AIDA is an intuitive sales funnel model, but when it comes to building love, it is a misleading framework. Establishing a sustainable emotional connection with customers is a lot more complex than building Awareness and Interest.
Similarly, CMOs should refrain from equating customer satisfaction to brand loyalty. As its name suggests, customer satisfaction is simply a customer saying "I like it". Essentially, it’s a way for customers to say that the product or service is good enough. Competitive advantage is not built off satisfaction alone.
I’m not saying brands should disregard brand awareness and customer satisfaction; these metrics are important pieces of the brand equity puzzle. If you want consumers to fall in love with your brand, however, these metrics should not be top priority.
So what metrics should brands focus on instead of brand awareness and customer satisfaction? I see at least two opportunities:
- Competitive Uniqueness. With the proliferation of choice, the most important ingredient for brand loyalty is competitive uniqueness. The best brands distinguish themselves from other global names (even those outside their own categories) to a point that customers are willing to pay a premium.
- Meaningful customer relationships. Developing our brand equity relationship assessment platform, we discovered that a meaningful relationship between a brand and its customers can result to deeper consumer consideration and higher sales volume. Engaging customers in a two-way dialogue through insight communities, offline interactions, and social media platforms are just some of the ways that top brands nurture long-term relationships.
Before the explosion of big data and social media, it was difficult to quantitatively measure brand uniqueness and consumer sentiment. Today, advances in technology allow innovative brand equity solutions to measure these and more. For example, VC BERA identifies consumer perceptions and shows where brands sit on the BERA relationship lifecycle in real-time.
Forward-thinking business leaders recognize that the modern consumer is more informed, knowledgeable, and fickle. A new set of metrics is required to stay ahead of the curve.
Do you still measure brand awareness and customer satisfaction? How are these metrics helping your organization? Share your thoughts with us.