The most valuable asset that consumer brands have is their brand identity. Those that get it right—as Apple did with Airpods and Google did with search—can redefine the market and make their brand synonymous with their category. Traditional methods of assessing brand health—or what consumers think of your brand identity—can no longer keep up with the pace of consumer sentiment change.
Full-circle market intelligence is key to maintaining an up-to-date, unbiased view of your consumer, category, and market.
Brand strategy as a driver of success
In Gartner’s 2020 Annual CMO Spend survey, 33% of CMOs cited brand strategy as their primary and most critical strategic function, even above marketing analytics. This represents a paradigm shift compared to the previous year when only 16% reported brand strategy in their top three priorities.
Societal changes associated with the global pandemic accelerated this renewed focus, and demonstrated how important it is to react quickly to evolving consumer needs and match messaging to consumer sentiment. In times of uncertainty, customers are less interested and able to experiment based on price or novelty and turn instead to the reputable, trustworthy brands with which they have a deep connection.
Brand strategy drivers that were in play before the pandemic became even more important amongst the changes wrought by COVID-19. Purpose-centered direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands have long captured market share due to their brand identities’ alignment with popular causes; the Black Lives Matter protests of 2020 forced even traditional brands to balance profit and purpose in order to appeal to consumers.
Private labels and store brands, once considered a lower-cost, lower-quality compromise, have evolved into their own distinct brand identities that can rival those of the bigger CPG players. Private labels enjoyed a lift during the pandemic that hasn’t slowed down since, with 33% more consumers now trying private label brands due to supply shortages and cost consciousness.
Gartner research suggests that the most successful brands take action authentically connected to their brand strategy and value proposition. The definition of success has shifted in the COVID-19 era. Today, CMOs are focused on brand health, or what consumers think and know about their brands. This is a big shift from 2019, when most CMOs were more focused on brand awareness.
Data analytics for a new era of brand strategy
The tactics most CMOs use to measure brand health and other benchmarks are varied: NPS, brand recall, SEO rankings, social sentiment, website traffic, online impressions and clicks, search volumes, and more. These measures haven’t diversified much over the last decade—likely because instituting new tactics and data sources can be slow, resource-intensive and expensive, and thus difficult to scale.
Traditional marketing analytics, another treasure trove of intel, are useful in gauging customer reactions, but limited to showing what happened—without the context of why. And much of the data is centered around the one brand, not the broader market ecosystem, so a CMO relying on them is missing out on valuable information about competitors and untapped market share. In a marketing world that’s changing rapidly, timely and holistic, 360-degree brand insights are the key to a nimble brand strategy.
Purchase behavior has changed so radically in the past five years that the traditional marketing funnel no longer applies. Today’s consumer behavior is subject to many touchpoints of influence, including misinformation, and consumer sentiment changes much more quickly than it used to.
Real-time insights built upon broad datasets, like those provided by Skai, are essential in capturing a thorough understanding of how brands are perceived in the market and what should be done to protect and grow brand equity. CPG leaders recognize that they can arrive at the “aha” moments that inform new strategies much faster by connecting more data sources and extracting more context from those sources.
Connected data and contextualized intelligence can predict trends that can’t be identified through marketing analytics or internal data while brand and competitive benchmarks track all players in the market. Health and fitness tech is a good example of the potential impact of this principle. When Apple first launched the Apple Watch it was marketed as smart jewelry. The brand quickly realized that a shift in brand messaging to focus on health would appeal more broadly – no expensive, time-consuming product development changes required.
Building a beloved brand creates opportunity
Skai uses the broadest datasets to provide companies with a thorough understanding of how their brands are perceived in the market – and what should be done to protect and grow brand equity.
With Skai, brands can:
- Monitor consumer sentiment and attitudes towards all brands in an ecosystem
- Align their brand with consumer sentiment and social culture
- Assess brand positioning relative to the market
- Inform brand purpose, messaging, and marketing strategies
- Detect emerging market situations that pose a threat to their brand
There’s also a revolutionary tactic that the most successful CPG and FMCG brands are now using to fuel go-to-market success: fully integrating data-driven brand strategy into both marketing and product development. A leading beauty company has realized incredible success by embedding data and insights experts into brand teams at both the category and consumer level. These experts continuously integrate the latest data-driven insights from Skai into all aspects of the brand, including packaging, retailers, and other big decisions that are, at their core, intrinsic to brand equity.
The success of a brand depends on getting it all right. Today, any industry-leading or first-mover brand must have insights into the next big trends and current consumer sentiments before anyone else. That advantage comes from access to a wider range of internal and external data sources and the technologies that connect and contextualize it with the speed of AI. With always-on access to validated insights about consumers and markets, Skai can help you keep pace with consumers and build better brand strategies.
Contact us for a personalized demo of how Skai can help you build a stronger brand.