Jack Esslinger Headshot

By

Jack Esslinger

Published on

June 24, 2019

Tags

digital, research


 

In my last blog, I discussed how it’s important for organizations to keep a committed focus on their brand’s health and how the LEWIS Brand Heartbeat is a unique tool that empowers them to do just that. For this blog, I want to take a deeper dive into the Brand Heartbeat looking at four unique brand components it measures – components we believe have a significant impact on brand performance and influence consumer’s purchasing decisions. These components, consisting of empathy, suitability, sustainability, and convenience, are each uniquely important to shaping a brand’s messaging but can leave blind spots when evaluated by themselves. Combined, these components present a more holistic picture that will enable organizations to get a timely read of their brand’s equity and the impact that earned media can have on brand perceptions and awareness.

Customer Empathy

As the famed Israeli-American psychologist Daniel Kahneman once said, “We are not thinking machines that feel, we are feeling machines that think.” His words get right to what drives so many customer’s wants: the desire to be understood. While it’s critical for an organization to show customers that they can meet their needs with the products, solutions, and services that they offer, they must also understand what drives their customer’s needs and others that may arise.

When we’re seeking to gauge a customer’s perception of a brands empathy in the Brand Heartbeat, we ask questions like:

Please indicate your level of agreement with each of the following statements.

  • If I need a solution that is easy to use, Company X would be a great choice.
  • Company X offers solutions that can fix most of the issues I face in my day-to-day routine.
  • Knowing how to use Company X’s products is something that would be useful in my professional development even though I might not have a need for now.
  • I always expect the products and services of Company X to be dependable and consistent.
  • Company X seems to have a good understanding of what I need to be successful at my job.
Company Suitability

Another key driving force behind purchasing decisions is the correlation between attributes customers value most for a need versus an organization’s ability to showcase those attributes. While customers may value ingenuity, being trustworthy, and reliability when it comes to purchasing antivirus software, they may place greater value on flexibility, friendliness, and being cost-effective when it comes to signing up for a gym membership. The point being: there is a unique set of attributes customers value most for each kind of purchase they’re making. For organizations, it’s critical for them to be able to identify what exactly those distinct attributes are.

In the Brand Heartbeat, we ask two questions to obtain a better understanding of whether an organization is deemed by its potential customers as being a suitable match, including:

Please rank the level of importance you place on each of the following attributes when purchasing Item X from a company.

  • Agile
  • Trustworthy
  • Collaborative
  • Cost-effective
  • Efficient
  • Innovative
  • Scalable
  • Proactive
  • Insightful

When thinking of Company X, how well does each of the following attributes describe them?

  • Agile
  • Trustworthy
  • Collaborative
  • Cost-effective
  • Efficient
  • Innovative
  • Scalable
  • Proactive
  • Insightful
Company Sustainability

The previously mentioned Daniel Kahneman won a Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics in 2002 for his and others development of the prospect theory. In short, this behavioral economic theory states that instead of making choices based on an end-result, individuals will assign values to the pros and cons related to a choice and make their ultimate decision based on the deliberation of whether one outweighs the other. This simply means individuals are making their decisions more-or-less using an informal risk assessment. Organizations that can prove they offer their customers a minimal number of negative outcomes while maximizing positive outcomes are better able to position themselves as being sustainable in both the near- and long-term.

A company that is sustainable in our approach here at LEWIS is one that can amplify the good while diminishing the bad by developing innovative solutions and being perceived as being able to do so in the future. To get to this, we ask questions like:

Please indicate your level of agreement with each of the following statements.

  • Company X has some of the most innovative solutions on the market.
  • I expect Company X to keep creating products/services that will address my company’s needs.
  • Barring some unforeseen event, I expect my company to work with Company X at some point in the future.
  • I think it is highly likely that Company X will be bought out or go bankrupt within the next 3-5 years.
  • I would expect a high level of customer service if I purchased a solution from Company X.
Convenience to Customers

The final component we look to when it comes to brand health is its convenience factor. Today’s quickest growing and omnipresent organizations increasingly all have common traits that have helped establish themselves as powerhouses: being fast, reliable, and easy, which are signals for being convenient. Companies like Amazon, Uber, Airbnb, Costco, and Facebook, are all examples of companies that have built their successes on these three pillars of convenience. The reason companies are increasingly focusing on these pillars is simple: in a world more and more predicated on efficiencies, customers have made it clear that their paramount requirement of the organization is for them to be convenient or risk them finding another that fits the bill.

In the LEWIS Brand Heartbeat, we measure convenience using questions like:

Please indicate your level of agreement with each of the following statements.

  • Purchasing products and services from Company X is a fast process.
  • Company X products and solutions are easy to use.
  • I can always count on Company X to deliver the highest quality products and services.

Considered together, these four components offer a robust look into the state of a brand’s health and equity. Each of these components is important in that they all capture a unique part of a customer’s purchasing decision journey and can be used in different ways by organizations to plan out how they are positioning their brands. The LEWIS Brand Heartbeat itself strives to embody these four components by offering an online methodology that enables organizations to go into the field with a research instrument and quickly get back data and detailed analysis that will help them to better plan their branding strategies.

LEWIS Research and Insights Team

If you’re interested in receiving additional information regarding the LEWIS Brand Heartbeat or have any questions regarding our other offerings, please reach out to the team at research@teamlewis.com and check out our market research services. We look forwarding to hearing from you!

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