Why are there so many ways to measure brand equity? Probably because there is no “right” way to do it.
Many billions of dollars are spent in this country researching and tracking brand equity, most of it through approaches that attempt to carefully dissect the individual image attributes, emotional connections, and perceptions of our companies, brands, or sub-brands. But so little of it is done in a way that inspires confidence amongst CEOs or CFOs that if we increased our ratings on “trustworthy” or “innovative,” we’d see significant improvements in financial results.
Perhaps because there are so many opinions and methodologies about how to correlate changes in key brand equity components to financial outcomes, the lack of consensus, epitomized by multiple vendors extolling their unique, proprietary systems, is possibly ENCOURAGING CFOs to believe that it's all just marketing babble and underscoring the soft, unpredictable nature of it.
Here’s a thought … What if we invited all purveyors of brand equity measurement processes to present their approach and case studies to an independent panel of financial executives, Wall Street analysts, and academics? The panel would then judge the merits of each approach in a fully informed context and propose standards that incorporated best-of-breed methods in a variety of “classes” aligned to the needs of different industry group dynamics — retail, financial services, packaged goods, electronics, automotive, etc.
This approach might actually help close the gap between the marketers and the financial community, moving one or the other towards a better understanding of the inherent challenges of the task and building a better framework for measurement evolution.
I’m not sure the research companies would line up to participate. Ad agencies might hate the idea too.
What do you think?