Put Your Brand to the Test: The “Four R’s” of Leadership Brands

According to a study conducted by the Advertising Research Foundation, each of us is exposed to over 5,000 branded messages a day. Of these thousands of messages, the study found, the average person can recall only twelve; and of the twelve messages that are recalled (the news gets worse), only four make a positive impact on brand preference or selection.

Which brands break through and survive as one of the very few that get noticed and make a positive impact? Brands that perform at a high level in four key areas:

 Recognition & Recall:  Obviously, you can’t be a breakthrough brand unless your target knows about you, which is why leadership brands spend what is required, consistently, through good business cycles and bad, to sustain high levels of awareness.

 Regard:  Leadership brands know that getting decision makers to take notice of their brands might begin with powerful, compelling advertising and thought leadership messages, but also know that their powerful messaging can become just more white noise unless the total brand experience genuinely delivers on the brand’s advertising and promise to hold the brand in high regard.

 Relevance:  A brand is a set of associations or attributes that users link to a name, service or product. So what if I know about your brand (recognition and recall), and I think you’re a quality brand (regard), but the attributes your brand stands for just aren’t important or relevant to me? Leadership brands have identified and understand which attributes (emotional, functional or process) are most important in terms of truly driving image, preference and choice–and then work hard to consistently link only those attributes to their brands.

Rarity:  So I know your brand, I hold you in high regard, and the attributes your brand stands for are relevant to me–but I don’t I don’t have a clear understanding of what sets your brand apart from others in the category? This is the last critical component of leadership brands: they not only link their brands to the attributes that are most important in driving brand preference, but have also have identified and link their brand to attributes that also most powerfully differentiate the brand from competitive alternatives.

So how does your brand measure up in each of these areas? If you fall short on the final two R’s–Relevance or Rarity–it may be time to explore your brand’s strategy, from positioning to promise to brand identity and more.  If so, we can help make sure your brand is the leadership brand in its category.

Brad Lang