Keeping Up with Brand Equity in a Portfolio of Brand Categories
Marketplaces ebb and flow. What was popular with customers a year ago, may not apply today. Competition changes; perceptions alter; and technology influences needs and desires. Companies run the risk of becoming irrelevant if they don’t proactively stay in tune with customers’ lives and in-check with the competitive landscape.
One of C+R’s clients, a major dairy company, is dedicated to regular, consistent research because they know that in order to remain competitive, they need to stay on top of trends and consumer attitudes.
C+R conducts the company’s annual “health tracker” consumer research.
Tracking Brand Equity Year to Year
A large dairy company is a leader in the category. The dairy marketplace has several competitors and spans many different product types – from butter/spreads to cheeses, liquids, seasonal products, and snacks. Tracking awareness of the dairy brand, consumer usage of product lines, and perceptions of the brand and competitors is crucial to making strategic marketing and product development decisions.
In order to track their health, the brand sought a comprehensive understanding of dairy consumers across different segments. For example, they wanted to know what the perceptions of on-site grocery store purchasers were as opposed to corporate purchasers. Did those who purchased primarily milk and cheeses share similarities to those who purchased pudding and other snack products?
The goal of the project was to track the current year’s attitudes and usage versus the previous year. The findings needed to include consumer insights across different segments, competitive landscape shifts since the last engagement, brand awareness levels today versus a year prior, and usage information for products.
Creating a Snapshot of Brand Health
The C+R Research team conducted quantitative research to capture verifiable insights into dairy consumers and broad attitudes on brand perception nationwide.
We conducted over 1,000 core interviews for each of the 5 primary product categories being evaluated. Interviews were boosted with a readable sample of each of the different priority target segments.
Interviews were designed to:
- Understand specific attitudes and behaviors related to dairy product categories
- Gather usage data about dairy product consumption
- Discover consumers’ attitudes and perceptions about the dairy product brand
- Conduct competitive analysis (including 10 brands and over 20 different competitive products)
In the end, C+R’s Advanced Analytics team took a complicated concept—brand equity—and transformed it into an easy-to-understand metric by creating a brand health score. The score was based on seven variables and three overarching indicators (strength, affinity, and substitutability), and provided an at-a-glance snapshot of the client’s brand strengths across all categories.
Insights to Action
The C+R team found that the dairy company performed at varying levels in different categories, but the findings were generally on par with the year prior. C+R uncovered areas where the brand was excelling compared to last year and where progress had slowed compared to competitors.
The research was presented to each of the different product line’s key stakeholder and leadership teams, and the company was able to use the insights to assess competition, develop marketing plans, and determine where efforts had succeeded or failed.