Brand Audits: Why we should ask ‘why?’
When it comes to branding, the real money lies in tackling an often-neglected question: ‘Why?
Understanding the ‘whys’ is essential if want to listen to your brand and really hear what it is telling you.
Why are people buying your brand and not the other? Why is this brand cooler than the other? Why are people willing to share and tell others about everyone else’s brand but yours? Why is it that some brands get better quality applicants than yours?
And then we have the the mother of all ‘whys’ – why are people willing to pay three times more for your competitor’s brand when you know your product quality is so much better?
A brand audit should help answer these questions. It is a crucial tool in discovering how your stakeholders feel about your brand health.
But in order to do this, the brand audit must be comprehensive. It must contain both quantitative and qualitative components. Unfortunately not many brands out there really understand just how powerful a comprehensive audit can be.
Many prefer quantitative audits. These result in snazzy-looking graphs that tell you about the shifts in consumer actions and behaviours. Quantitative audits are great for FMCG brands (fast-moving consumer goods) as they are able to track in detail where their share of the market lies. In simple terms, such audits tell you what the situation is with your consumers or the market.
The part of the audit that often gets overlooked, however, is the qualitative audit. Qualitative data is a goldmine that frequently gets bypassed for the often sexier and CFO-friendly quantitative information.
As the qualitative component deals with the intangibles – such as perceptions, feelings and emotions – it is often relegated to the bottom of the priority pile. But if you do quantitative without the qualitative, you only get half the picture.
You may know what is happening but you will not know why it is happening. And it is the ‘why’ that tells you the better story about your brand and your business.
Ironically, the only ‘why’ that seems to get asked here is ‘why do the qualitative?’.
One very compelling reason: the more expensive your products are, the more you need to ascertain the ‘whys’.
By doing qualitative analysis, many top brands have been able to harness the whys, the emotions, and infuse them into product design and marketing. This is precisely what has propelled their brand into top sellers.
Think Apple, which has always been about using the power of intuitive design to create machines that are beautiful to look at and easy to use. Think Dove’s campaign for real beauty, which was able to mine the depths of women’s self-esteem – or lack thereof – and thereby uncover gold.
Think Air Asia, which fulfils their brand promise every day. “Now Everyone Can Fly” has given millions of people – who ordinarily could not afford expensive flight travel – the opportunity to discover new places, or (dare I say it?) the right to be free.
These are the potent results of ‘why’ questions that have been brilliantly and strategically deployed to benefit not just the brand and their bottom line, but also the customer who can now escape from monopolies, from the undifferentiated and from the mundane.
And so I charge all Asian brands out there to be brave, to shake off our fear of feelings and emotion and to take that bull by it horns.
Instead of asking ‘why’ do qualitative, ask the brave question – ‘why not?’.
The Dove Campaign for Real Beauty (Fragments)