The Most Important Insight for a Brand? It’s All Relative
Last week we created a chart at Concentric that does not need to show a single number, but manages to represent the core information for a brand manager at a glance.
A little background is in order.
Let’s say you are managing the brand of an organization. What is the most important data that should be at your fingertips? Surely, you need to understand who the consumers in your market are and perhaps group them in meaningful segments. You also need to measure what attributes are important to the consumers and understand how your brand actually performs on those attributes: where are you strong and what you can improve. Then, you need to understand how the segments perceive your brand on those attributes. And finally, you need to understand how your competition fares on all of those dimensions, so you can have a competitive strategy.
There may be many other metrics and insights a brand manager may like to focus on, but these few metrics are most likely included in any brand measurement a company does. These metrics, however, end up being quite a bit of information for a decision-maker to process. For a market of five segments in which five brands compete on eight attributes, the number of data points is 280. While this is not Big Data big, for any one person to make a call about what the next step in a brand strategy should be based on 280 different numbers, all important relative to one another, is a significantly tough cognitive task. Add to it measurement over time and assume 52 weeks for each metrics, and the tally gets to 14,560 data points.
That is where our new chart comes in.
The chart shows the relative perceptions of (in this case a financial service provider) relative to the actual performance of the brand. The colored circles represent the relative perceptions of five segments for each brand attribute and the grey line represents the objective performance of the brand. The size of the circles represents the relative importance for each segment.
The animation below adds an additional dimension: competitors. It shows how different brands perform relative to each other.
We used the word relative a lot in the above description, and indeed, it is the key word that a brand manager needs to use. The absolute numbers are not important in these charts; the only thing that matters is how the metrics perform relative to each other. Instead of sifting through bar charts, tables, and other devices to compare across dimensions of the data, our five second animation would give a brand manager all she needs to know about her brand within the full context of the market.
 Perceptions have three dimensions: segments, brands, and attributes, so there are 5x5x8=200 data points; Importance of attributes have two dimensions: segments and attributes, and are independent of brands, so there are 5×8=40 data points; and Actual performance of the product has two dimensions: brands and attributes and is independent of segments if we assume the product performs the same regardless of who the segment is, so 5×8=40, for a total of 280 data points.