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A DIY guide to diagnosing your brand


©Somewhere Else
As a brand owner or brand manager, you know your brand best. So before you invest in external branding help, let’s talk about some easy ways to diagnose your brand’s overall health, and how to proceed based on your findings.

So far, we’ve talked about branding basics, how to build a brand, and how to strengthen that
brand with good communication. But if you already have an existing brand, how do you identify what needs improvement, what needs to be changed completely, and what should be left alone?

What is Brand Health?
Brand Health is a set of metrics that tells you whether or not your current branding is working for you. These metrics can reveal where your brand is thriving, and where it’s lacking. However, they can be costly to measure, time-consuming, or both. For example, Share of Voice measures how much your brand name factors into the total conversation around your product category, but requires purchasing a social listening tool. Other metrics are conventional yet unreliable. For example, Purchase Intent measures how likely someone is to buy from you, but why would you put any stock in hypotheticals?

Of all the metrics involved in Brand Health diagnosis, here are three that smaller companies can undertake internally.
1) Brand Recall

  • What it measures: Awareness of your brand
  • How to measure: For an unprompted brand recall, ask participants to name brands that
    come to mind for your product or service category, and see how often your name comes up. For a prompted brand recall, present participants with a list of brand names and ask
    them to tick which ones they know. Find your percentage score for both unprompted and prompted brand recall.
  • Number of participants: 10-20

2) Brand Reputation

  • What it measures: How people feel about your brand, and what they say about you
  • How to measure: Gather your customer reviews and social media comments, and
    separate them into positive, neutral, and negative. Start taking note of how often certain
    phrases come up in all your feedback. If you’re interviewing customers, ask “How would
    you describe (insert brand name) to a friend?”
  • Number of participants: 10-20

3) Social Media Engagement 

  • What it measures: The emotional connection people have with you online
  • How to measure: Divide the like on each post by total number of followers, and multiply
    by 100 to get a percentage score. The higher the score, the better your engagement.
    Comments and conversations under your posts are worth more than likes--they imply
    that your audience cares enough to share their thoughts and feelings with you! These
    commenters are a good resource to tap on for potential interview participants. Start
    noticing which posts trigger healthy conversation, and think about how you might get
    your audience talking.

If you have an existing brand, you can use data that you already have to measure most of
these. For a better range of qualitative and quantitative responses from your target audience,
you can draft a short survey and follow up with customer interviews!

What should I do with My Diagnosis?
So you’ve found some areas in which your brand isn’t doing too well. Maybe your brand name doesn’t come up very often when people talk about your category. Or maybe your brand name does well on recall and has a positive reputation, but people don’t really have much to say about you. (this point is more about effective advocacy than feedback tbh, for example when people just describe a brand as “good” but can't elaborate on why) Maybe your social media account has thousands of followers but only a hundred likes per post, and comments are rare. What should you do?

Not everyone needs a brand overhaul. Many great solutions are small, targeted, and
manageable for internal teams. Let’s take a look at the options available: Improve, Refresh,

Level One: ImproveThese solutions target specific areas of weakness. These changes are often process-based,
long-term, and require a team effort in shifting the day-to-day focus of operations. They include:

  • Identifying where the brand is lacking
  • Understanding how customers may think and feel differently than what you assumed
  • Discovering what customers actually want from your product/service than its base
  • Seeing the “big picture” of your business landscape

  • Asking for quality feedback from customers, following up, and analyzing it
  • Crafting content that triggers a specific feeling in customers
  • Shifting away from sales-focussed messaging

Example: These days, everyone from established banks to startups has at least one person in charge of User Research. User Research is both diagnostic and prescriptive, by relying on data to inform choices. It’s a field that tackles most of what we’ve talked about so far, and more!

Level Two: RefreshThese solutions tend to be more public-facing. Think of this level as a metaphorical shopfront renovation. If your Level One research shows that your brand commands decent awareness and recall, but may be outdated and irrelevant, you might consider a brand refresh. These solutions include:

Look and feel
  • Redesigning the visual elements of your brand
  • Updating the spaces in which you operate, both physical and online

Tone of voice
  • Deciding on a personality that drives your brand’s mass communications
  • Training staff to handle individual customer communications

  • Being active in a specific community
  • Identifying a synergistic category that resonates with your target audience

Product/Service Development
  • Introducing new products and services to existing lines
  • Developing interesting collaborations

Example: After almost a decade of irrelevance as the “dad brand”, FILA saw a surge in interest when new leadership reframed their offerings to suit the retro revival of the late 2000s. Coupled with some clever celebrity endorsements and collaborations, FILA is now back on top of the streetwear game.

Level Three: RebrandThis involves a near-complete overhaul of the brand, starting from the building blocks of the
brand itself. If your research shows that you need to pivot to a different target audience, a vastly different market, or that your core mission is no longer capable of driving the brand forward, then you may need to consider a rebrand. A rebrand includes everything from Levels One and Two, as well as the following:

Core mission
  • What the rebranded entity uniquely offers to people
  • What the rebranded entity will do differently than its predecessor

Tone of voice
  • How do they uniquely think and feel?

  •  What channels and messages will best connect with them?

  • Being active in a specific community
  • Identifying a synergistic category that resonates with your target audience

Product/Service Development
  • Which of our former offerings are still relevant, and which should we change?
  • What else can we include that will be specific to our new target audience/market?

Example: CRAVE Nasi Lemak is a Singaporean household name. However, the transformation from its former self, Selera Rasa, to the now-familiar mall staple, took years and many changes at every level of operations. Transitioning from hawkers to scalable brand meant a shift in mindset, revamping operations, tweaking recipes, opening up to partnerships, and finding what the family was truly passionate about.

Much like personal health, brand health can sometimes get pushed aside in the face of more pressing concerns. However, by identifying the metrics that are relevant to you, making a habit of keeping an eye on them, and implementing small solutions when necessary, you can easily avoid a more costly overhaul down the line.

This kit contains DIY branding solutions, customisable to your pace and budget. Alternatively, request backup here.


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