Mindshare - MasterMind ideas from the strategists at Treacy Marketing Group

Understand External Perceptions First

How does one measure a successful branding effort?

A brand is a visceral idea and does not lend itself to simple key metrics or analytics. You’ll know success when all of your customers, vendors, employees and influencers can articulate the brand position as clearly as the CEO; but how do you know whether this is occurring?

You find out by asking your primary and secondary audiences.

Do external perceptions track with your corporate strategy? How disparate are they? Are customers aware of your sustainability program, for example? How do they describe it to colleagues? Are they selling on your behalf or are they talking about some shadow of a company that just resembles yours?

At Treacy Marketing Group, when we engage in a Strategic Brand Plan project, we strongly encourage all of our clients to include an External Perception Study in order to ask questions like these of their customers. Recognizing the experience that your customers, vendors and influencers have with your brand is the first and most important step in auditing your position to create a targeted marketing plan.

Coming to understand where the differences lie between the boardroom strategy sessions and showroom customer perceptions will expose marketing opportunities to communicate key messages to customers.

This fall, the retail giant Gap created a stir when they made the notable decision to retire their iconic navy blue box and traditional serif font for a “more contemporary and current” design that looks more like early software branding than a retail leader in 2010.

Gap’s President of North America, Marka Hansen, wrote a blog post for The Huffington Post in reaction to the massive response from their customers. After indicating that the new logo was chosen because “it’s more contemporary and current” Hansen continued in the very next paragraph:

Now, given the passionate outpouring from customers that followed, we’ve decided to engage in the dialogue, take their feedback on board and work together as we move ahead and evolve to the next phase of Gap. (Source)

External perceptions need to be understood before you rebrand.