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Every good marketer understands the importance of their brand. Given adequate product distribution, the most important predictor of market share is brand power. At Vision Critical, we believe that the source of a brand's power ultimately comes from within the brand itself. Everything relates back to the product, including its performance and perception as well as the product's marketing messages. As a result, brand power should only be measured with attributes specific to the product category, rather than from overarching concepts such as "satisfaction", "performance", "relevance" or "recommendation" that cut across businesses and categories. While these overarching concepts may be indicators of a brand's general popularity among consumers, the true measurement of a brand's power derives from how well the product actually delivers on those promises.

The Brand Advancement Measures (BAM) are a set of performance scores that summarize how well a brand is doing on attributes tailored to the relevant product category. One of these measures, called the Power Score, indicates how well a brand delivers on the most important category drivers.

In a recently completed brand tracking study for a major consumer packaged goods product, we validated this approach using data from 13 brands across 10 major urban markets. The results demonstrated a strong relationship between the brand power scores and their respective market share.

Of course, a powerful brand can't drive sales if the product isn't available for purchase - distribution has an overpowering impact on market share. Even the most powerful foreign brand can suffer from a lack of distribution channels and therefore fall short of its brand potential. The same fate can await small independent brands.

Market data also demonstrates the well known "Double Jeopardy" syndrome. Less powerful brands tend to attract a small numbers of consumers who each buy small quantities of the product. The most powerful brands draw large numbers of consumers who each buy larger quantities of the product. As a result, the leading brands garner disproportionately large market shares. This "doubled-up" relationship between brand power and sales means that for any given change in a brand's power score the impact on market share will be even larger.

Our analysis clearly demonstrates the validity of the Brand Advancement Measures (BAM) approach. This technique is also, in theory, very straightforward - measure a brand's power by assessing how well it delivers on the product attributes most important to the consumer. In practice, deriving the proper measures requires great care. It takes well-informed insight into the category by the market researcher and the product manager to understand what factors truly drive a brand's perception and ultimately market share.

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