Jenni Romaniuk on better brand health
The Ehrenberg-Bass professor explains the principles and pitfalls of brand health tracking.
When it came time for Jenni Romaniuk, international director of the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute for Marketing Science, to write a new book, she thought about Adam Grant.
Romaniuk had heard the popular science author say that before he decides to write about something he asks himself whether he’d be happy talking about it for the next two years, and she thought: ‘Okay, that’s a good criteria.’
That is not the only reason that Better Brand Health: Measures and Metrics for a How Brands Grow World exists, of course. For another thing, Romaniuk was eminently qualified to write the book. Maybe even uniquely so. She is one of the world’s foremost experts on brand growth and distinctive assets, and she has spent a decade both practising and studying brand health tracking.
With one foot in the private sector and the other in academia, Romaniuk could get to grips with the pointy end of brand health tracking – designing questionnaires for companies, analysing results, etc – and then direct research to fill in the gaps whenever she was unsatisfied with the level of knowledge.
Better Brand Health brings together Romaniuk’s practical insights and research findings and grounds them within the established framework of brand growth to create a comprehensive guide to measuring people’s attitudes and memories.
We spoke to her about some of the core concepts in her book, and some of the ways that marketers get it wrong when they set out to measure brand health.
Let’s start off simple. What are brand health metrics?
Brand health metrics are where we try to capture what effect we’ve had on a category by memories. There’s a whole range of different metrics under that umbrella, but it’s all about getting a window into the category and how what’s been going on in the marketplace has changed how people think and feel about brands. So brand health metrics, in the broadest sense, are anything dealing with memory.
One of the things you set out early on in the book is the mantra, ‘design for the category, analyse for the buyer, report for the brand’. Can you explain what that means and why it’s important?
Basically, it points to three of the things that people get wrong or misunderstand.
‘Design for the category’ means you should have a brand-health tracker that any brand in your category would be happy to use. It shouldn’t be just about you. If another brand in the category, whether it’s a bigger brand or a smaller brand, would not use it, then you’ve got biased measurement. You don’t want that because you don’t know where your brand is going to be in the future. You might be a big brand now, but imagine you launch another brand in the category – then you’ve got to look at it through a small lens, and you’re going to have to design a totally new tracker and that seems a bit counterproductive, particularly when we know how brands compete. Your biggest competitors are the bigger brands.
‘Analyse for the buyer’. It’s amazing how often people will ask for cuts by gender, age, life cycle, economic state, and not realise that the differences between them are trivial. Most of those differences are actually driven by the number of buyers or non-buyers of the brand you have in that segment.
Read the full article in Contagious.