What Makes a Brand Strong

brand-as-business bit:  By now you’ve probably read about Interbrand’s latest report on the Best Global Brands.  While most people were focused on the rankings, I was more interested in the piece about the valuation methodology which was buried in the report.

Interbrand’s methodology is part art and part science, as evidenced by the inclusion of a “Brand Strength Score” in the competitive analysis portion of the valuation process.  The firm judges Brand Strength on ten key factors:

internal factors:

  • Clarity – internal clarity about what the brand stands for, its values, target audiences, etc.
  • Commitment – internal commitment to brand as evidenced by the support it receives in terms of time, influence, and investment
  • Protection – legal, proprietary ingredients or design, etc.
  • Responsiveness – ability to respond to market changes, challenges, and opportunities

external factors:

  • Authenticity – based on internal truth and capability
  • Relevance – fit with customer/consumer needs, desires, and decision criteria
  • Differentiation – perceived differentiated positioning
  • Consistency – experienced without fail across all touchpoints
  • Presence – feels omnipresent and is talked about positively by customers, consumers, and opinion formers
  • Understanding – in-depth knowledge and understanding of distinctive qualities

While different from the factors I usually use in my brand evaluations, these seem to cover all important dimensions of brand strength except perhaps the most critical:   operationalized — brand is driven into the culture and delivered in the customer experiences.

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