How to Assess Your Brand’s Health and Take Action

It is simply sound business practice to assess the health of your brand(s) on a reasonably regular basis (but at least annually) to tweak or even overhaul your brand strategy. After all, brands often are your most valuable business asset and the market is a dynamic place where competitors come and go, and where customer tastes and behaviors change.

So, how do you assess your brand’s health? The following is our basic 3-step process for assessing brand health.

Step 1: Basic Assessment

The first step is to categorize each of your brands to determine the fundamental type of action most warranted for each brand. This is particularly important if brand health has not been assessed in a while. To do this, we use the following model that segments brands like actors or actresses into one of four categories:

Fundamental brand categoriesStars are both high in revenue growth/momentum and have a large comparative share of the market (e.g., Google among search engines).

Starlets are high in revenue growth/momentum, but don’t have a high overall market share or market footprint. In other words, they are good in a niche, or are too new to have “made it big” yet—but the promise is there. A good example of a Starlet is Tesla.

Both Stars and Starlets are important to assess in more detail, and so, they move to the second step.

Former Stars are Stars who have faded with age and time. While they still have sizeable awareness and equity in the market, there is limited revenue growth/momentum to be expected from them. They are frequently also referred to as “cash cows” and their equity is ready to be “milked” without further investment being made in them—as any such investment would not likely pay off. A good example of this is Ivory Soap.

Nobodies are brands without growth momentum or market share. Like unknown actors, they are risky and generally not deemed worthy of much investment. They are usually sold, wound down or shelved and the brand graveyard is littered with their kind.

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Step 2: Detailed Assessment

In Step 2, Stars and Starlets are now subjected to a thorough assessment. This assessment involves analyzing each brand on three intersecting questions:

What (1) differentiates the brand from competing brands …
That is (2) desirable to customers and prospects simultaneously …
And is something the brand can (3) credibly provide right now or in the near future?

Venn diagram of brand visualizationThe adjacent graphic visualizes the intersection of these three areas and also shows the tools or sources of information that we use to assemble the information across these three areas.

Step 3: Brand Focus Workshop

Finally, in Step 3, we bring together all of the available information and work through the information with the brand’s key stakeholders in what we call a Brand Focus Workshop. This workshop allows the team to consider all of the relevant information on their brand(s) together and to then refine, as necessary, the positioning and value propositions for each brand in a comprehensive, coordinated and future-oriented manner.

Ideally, a brand team will engage the help of an external branding agency to assist with the assessment of brand health, as the value of an external and objective set of eyes is important. Not only do internal stakeholders often grow too close to the situation, they may also have set opinions of what is or is not possible that may prevent a brand from achieving new levels of success.

Six Degrees recommends reassessing each brand’s health about once a year, or sooner if a significant new competitor enters the market or other market changes (i.e., customer tastes and behaviors) occur.

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Frank Schab
An experienced marketing and branding strategist, Frank has been helping clients optimize the value of their brands through insightful analysis and effective strategy for more than three decades. Along with holding positions at General Motors and Pfizer, Frank served as a Managing Partner at Interbrand New York and VP of Global Brand Research at Opinion Research Corporation before co-founding Six Degrees. His brand-building work in various sectors including hospitality, medical device, pharmaceutical, automotive and technology has taken him to 17 countries on four continents. Frank holds a doctorate in psychology from Yale University and speaks fluent German.

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