A simple (?) measure of brand engagement

As market researchers, we are regularly asked to evaluate a set of brands, companies or organizations. We then talk about brand x is rated better than brand y but behind brand z. This naturally reduces the complexity of our relationships to brands to a very one-dimensional view and forces us to talk about the population as a whole. Within each individual, there is a competitive set that might be large or small depending on the category, and ideally we would present this competitive set in a meaningful way. While there are complex, often proprietary, models of brand engagement or loyalty, what is needed is a simple method to do this without adding a large number of questions to your survey.

Ideally the model would be parsimonious — having the fewest possible pieces of information — while being able to effectively separate consumers into meaningful groups. In fact, the model proposed here uses what I believe are the minimum possible number of variables.

  1. Awareness — have you heard of it before
  2. Use — have you used the brand or not
  3. How do you rate the brand

Using these three questions, it is possible to separate people into seven categories.

Champion – a brand champion is a respondent who uses a brand and rates it higher than all other brands he or she is aware of. Champions are, of course, unique because a champion of one brand cannot be a champion of any other brands in the category.

Endorser – a person who values your brand and at least one other brand to the same degree (they share the same score and no brand scores higher). An endorser likes your brand but is ambivalent because he or she also likes another brand. You would expect there share-of-wallet to be divided.

Engaged user – while these respondents do not fully embrace the brand experience (the brand is not rated the highest), they do rate the brand better than average (for that respondent) of all brands tested.

Disengaged user – users of the brand rate the brand below average (for that respondent). Theses people are potentially going to stop using the brand or who will not use it again.

Potential user – Theses people could potentially use the brand because they rate it better than average in terms of all of the brands they are aware of.

Unavailable – because of their poor ratings, these people are very unlikely to even try the brand.

Unaware– these people do not know of the brand.

The result is a very powerful way of thinking about the market of customers and potential customers for your brand. Instead of saying we are getting a 7.5/10 it is now possible to think of your brand in terms of its power in people’s minds. I will be posting a couple of case studies in the future to further demonstrate the potential but consider the example below.

While Brand A is not well known, it is a brand that has a reasonable number of people who are very highly engaged with the brand (either as Champions or Endorsers (15%)). Brand C is well known and very well used as a brand (88% have used the brand). While many of users are disengaged from the brand, there are also many who are highly engaged (22%).

What do you think?


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About Richard Jenkins

Market research professional and small business owner

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2 Comments on “A simple (?) measure of brand engagement”

  1. G. Kijne Says:

    I really like this model. I came up with some very similar categories myself and was trying to find some kind of scientific backing to my assumptions when I came across your post.
    It feels right intuitively, but do can you refer to any scientific research that supports your argument? Do you have any experience in applying this and if so, what do you believe is the added value of the found results?


    • Richard Jenkins Says:

      For me some of the genesis of the idea is some previous work I did with a proprietary model. “A Lack of Commitment: The Key to Voter Turnout”
      Canadian Journal of Market Research, 2005


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