How do you measure ‘How Brands Grow’?
This spring saw the release of Better Brand Health: Measures and Metrics for a How Brands Grow World by Jenni Romaniuk. In the book, Romaniuk describes how brand research fits in with Byron Sharp’s theories about brand growth. This provides useful and practical insights that every brand manager and brand researcher can and should immediately use. But don’t immediately throw your existing brand research in the trash. Sharp and Romaniuk’s focus is primarily on buyers and buying, while brands have broader strategic value.
How do brands grow again?
In How Brands Grow , Byron Sharp describes a number of laws in buying behavior and how these determine brand growth. Sharp emphasizes that brands compete with all other brands in the category and that brands mainly grow through penetration. This requires mental and physical availability of the brand. Mental availability means that buyers easily think of the brand when buying and recognize it quickly. Physical availability means that buyers can buy the brand in a variant, quantity and price that matches their purchasing needs.
Brand research takes too little account of the insights from Sharp’s How Brands Grow.
For mental brand availability, brands must have easily recognizable and eye-catching brand assets and develop associations with category entry points . Brand assets are all observable characteristics by which buyers can recognize brands and brand expressions. Category entry points are all thoughts or motives that buyers may have to buy within a category. For example, you can buy chocolate ‘to treat yourself’, but also ‘for the children’, ‘as a snack’ or ‘to thank someone’. By connecting a brand to more category entry points, you increase the chance that it will be bought.
Although Sharp does write about how brands grow, he writes little about how marketers should approach this in practice. His colleague Romaniuk does. She previously published the book Building Distinctive Brand Assets . This concerns the question of how brands can make informed and reasoned choices when it comes to brand assets. Better Brand Health is largely about category entry points and research into these. She also describes a number of new metrics that are useful for assessing brand associations and brand strength and warns against shortcomings in existing brand research.
Read the full article in Marketing Facts.