CHAPTER 15Measuring Brand Relevance and Health

Julie Hennessy

Brands are assets of enormous impact and value. They are the lenses through which consumers see product features and decide whether they are interesting enough for further consideration. Brand stewards, from entrepreneurs to corporate managers, spend enormous effort and resources to support their brands and keep them strong and preferred. So how should we measure the productivity of these efforts? How do you track, tend, and measure the health and vitality of your brand?

Executives have asked this question for years, and the answer is not getting any easier to define. When we thought of brands as logos, trade dress, and intellectual property, the focus was on legal protection of our assets, control over their use, and defense against encroachments on our territory. We fought back when competitors got too close and imitated our brand assets, or even when our brand marks were used incorrectly within the company. To this day, there is swift reaction when a franchisee decides to alter the color of McDonald’s Golden Arches, or a dealer gets too creative with the iconic John Deere logo. But the focus of today’s efforts to protect the brand has shifted a bit, and digital access to voluminous data will accelerate the changes in how we track brand value.

A story illustrates this point. Over 20 years ago I worked for the packaged food giant Kraft and had responsibility for its iconic Kraft Macaroni and Cheese brand. Within ...

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