Reputation and Trust: Do you Have Both?

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At the end of last year I asked readers to send me their biggest challenges for 2014. The winning question was related to innovation, which I wrote about last week: “This is why your new products crash & burn“.

Another of the questions I received was related to measuring equity and the relative importance of following the image of the brand or the corporation. I respond below to this interesting dilemma and propose some ideas about what you should be following.

The three essentials of brand valueLet me start by saying that I covered brand image metrics in some detail last year in a popular post  called “How to Build Brand Reputation and Consumer Trust: And then Track it”. The article spoke about the three important areas that you need to measure in order to have a complete perspective of your brand image, namely Rational / Functional, Emotional / Subjective and Cultural / Relational.

Whilst this is the simplest method for measuring brand equity, it is said that there are in fact seven essential elements that make a business great in the eyes of the customer. These elements are a combination of product perceptions as above, together with those of the enterprise. Perhaps surprisingly, the latter actually trump the former in driving behaviours today, so corporate reputation is now essential to follow too. It also suggests that whilst product performance, services and innovation are important, it is the companies behind the brands that influence a consumer’s trust and final choice. If you’d like to read more about this, please click on the above link where you can find more details.

Coca Cola logo

However, measuring brand image and corporate reputation is still not going to give you all the answers you need. One of the areas that few organisations study today, even when they measure both of these, is the relationship between the images of the brands and the company.

Unilever AXE logoFor some brands such as Coca Cola, the relationship is both obvious and strong, whereas for Pantene or Axe the link to P&G and Unilever may be far less evident.

P&G Pantene logo

Despite an increasing effort by both companies to strengthen the association between their brands and themselves as manufacturer, the connection remains tenuous at best.

So how do you measure this link and understand what the brand brings to the corporation and vice versa? Read on for a simple process.

Following brand and corporate reputations is a three step process:

Step 1: Measure your brands’ images

Hopefully you are already doing this on a regular basis. If not please start immediately since you cannot manage brands without knowing where you are today, even if you have a clear idea planned for where you want to go. The post linked above gives you a start on getting this done.

The one addition that you may have to incorporate in your current questionnaire is to ensure that you clearly identify whether the respondent knows who makes each of the brands. This will be essential for the analysis later on.

Step 2: Measure your corporate image

Again you should already be doing this, but I am always amazed how few companies collect such metrics on a regular basis. The prompt for doing so is often a crisis or a change of management and vision, but by then it is actually too late. Whatever you measure in such circumstances will be difficult to analyse since you don’t know what the figures looked like before the event happened. This is why it is essential to measure it at least annually and perhaps even more regularly when a lot is happening in the marketplace.

As was also the case for your brand equity metrics, you will need to include a measurement of brand attribution for each of the companies you measure. This will again be used in the analytical phase.

Step 3: Analyse and cross-reference the information gathered.

The third step of the process is to first review the images of each brand by the knowledge and awareness of the consumers about its parent company. Then review the corporate images based upon whether each is attributed or not to each of its brands, or maybe even to competitive brands. Then by crossing these two sets of relational information, you will get a clear picture of what the brand brings in terms of reputation to the company and what the corporate reputation adds to or detracts from each brand. Once you understand the relationship between your brands and your business, you can start to lay out a plan to boost your consumers’ knowledge and trust with appropriate PR and advertising.

Some organisations, including those mentioned above, find ways to associate their company name within their brand advertising. For instance Nestlé and Purina both end their ads with a company link and logo. Unilever and SCJohnson are a little more creative in showing  a fold up / down corner with their logo and name and in the case of the latter, even their corporate slogan. This is far less intrusive and leaves the brand to shine as hero in the ad.

If you already run your own brand equity or corporate reputation studies, why not combine them as suggested above, for improved actionability? If you do a different type of analysis I would love to hear about it; just add a comment below or write to me in person at [email protected]. It would be great to hear your thoughts on this essential element of tracking.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Denyse Drummond-Dunn
Denyse empowers CPG Execs to accelerate growth by attracting, delighting, and retaining more customers. She delivers inspiring Customer Experience keynotes, talks, and training, and is a #1 best-selling author. Denyse created QC2™, the new CX model that produces quantum results from atomic steps. Denyse is Nestle’s former Global Head of Consumer Excellence and has >30 yrs experience. Her global consultancy, C3Centricity, has expertise in over 125 countries! Check out her website to connect and find solutions to your current challenges.

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