Marmite measurement – Is it time to ditch generic one-number brand equity scores?

Farid Jeeawody
Marmite brand measurament 1

Like marmite, clients seem to love or hate one number brand scores. At Hall & Partners, we believe there are better ways to help drive brand growth rather than just measure it.

One-number brand equity scores offer a straightforward measure, but typically apply a one-size-fits-all approach regardless of the brand type or category. While these scores can quantify brand equity, what they fail to do is provide insights on how to grow it.

The one-number score methodology is valued by some brands for its simplicity in assessing brand health, useful for quick comparisons and presentations. It aids benchmarking against competitors or standards and simplifies decision-making by condensing complex research data. Additionally, it may help with tracking brand performance trends, offering insights into whether a brand's strength is improving, declining, or stable.

However, relying too heavily on such an approach has its drawbacks.

This method, while convenient, risks oversimplifying the complex dynamics of brand health. This approach tends to ignore detailed insights into a brand's specific strengths and weaknesses, assuming a universal set of metrics applies to all brands equally. Such a generalised method does not account for individual brand strategies or positioning, nor does it provide guidance on how to improve brand equity effectively. By relying solely on this scoring system, brands may miss out on critical nuances that could inform more tailored and strategic decision-making to drive growth and differentiate in the market. If your competitors are also receiving exactly the same one number scores, how do you truly gain competitive advantage?

Beyond one-number scores: 3 ways for insights to inform brand growth:

1. Use a blend of core and bespoke metrics

Most agencies have a brand equity model. While nuanced and packaged differently, they generally all recognise proven brand growth drivers, including the proven impact of mental availability and emotion in driving brand equity and growth.

So, what makes our approach different?

Instead of a one-size-fits-all model and a single-number score, we use a strategic framework built around everything people see, feel, think, and do. Our framework incorporates proven growth drivers but goes beyond core metrics by integrating deeper diagnostics and tailored drivers specific to our clients’ unique brands and categories.

For example, to help improve mental availability, we focus on evaluating distinctive brand assets, advocacy, and social proof, using principles from behavioural science. Targeting these specific elements often proves more beneficial than concentrating on mental availability alone.

We know from Binet & Field and others that emotion is a key driver of long-term brand growth. However, our experience shows that the specific emotions driving equity and growth vary across brands and categories.

We’ve helped financial clients identify the roles of territories such as confidence and inspiration, and their tangible impacts on brand equity. We’ve also assisted a global airline in quantifying how its nationality and related positioning influence brand equity, leading to a refreshed brand and campaign strategy.

Identifying and setting targets for these specific emotions is more actionable than just an overall measure of emotion, another reason to move beyond one-number scores.

2. Create a bespoke brand growth roadmap and strategy

We help our clients create bespoke brand growth roadmaps, incorporating both proven equity drivers and bespoke brand and category attributes. Using pathway or structural equation modelling, we identify direct and indirect drivers of brand equity. It’s not enough to tell a client to build their emotion; we need to inform them how.

Proven examples include helping a financial services client identify and quantify the impact of emotions such as inspiration, confidence, and optimism as key drivers of overall equity. We also helped a drinks client quantify the critical role of advocacy in their category, supporting greater investment in advocacy and influencer strategies. Setting strategies and targets around these specific emotions is more actionable than a one-number score.

If specific and nuanced metrics are more actionable, the question arises: do you still need a generic one-number score, or are bespoke, tailored KPIs proven to drive growth for your brand more valuable?

3. Measure and optimise your brand equity flows

One number equity scores typically focus on evaluating a Masterbrand’s equity. While it's imperative to measure this, it's also important to acknowledge that many clients have sub-brands, variants, and various product and service lines that can impact overall brand equity.

Frequently asked questions we assist clients with include:

What role do my sub-brands or variants have on our brand equity?
What combination of Masterbrand vs. sub-brand/variant marketing is optimal for our brand?
How do different products and services influence brand equity?

We use equity flow analytics to model and inform these questions. Our approach quantifies both the flow and level of equity between Masterbrand, sub-brands and variants to inform investment decisions.

Further examples include helping a drinks brand in assessing how its variants contribute to overall brand equity and premium status, supporting the decision to invest in a campaign strategy that focuses on both the Masterbrand and its variants.

Additionally, we helped a financial services brand evaluate the influence of its Masterbrand across all products and services, strengthening the case for Masterbrand-centric campaigns and measuring the cross-effects between product lines.

Tailored metrics for deeper insights

Simple and usually validated, one-number scores can provide a convenient and quick summary of brand strength, but often fail to consider the nuances of different brands and categories, resulting in generic brand recommendations, grounded in high level metrics only.

A strategic framework incorporating proven equity metrics and bespoke metrics aligned to your brand and category, coupled with smart analytics can provide richer insights and more actionable guidance.

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Unsatisfied with your one-number equity score?

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