Maggie Gross, Head of Strategy, Deloitte Digital: How to Measure Brand Value in the Digital Age
Written by: Satta Sarmah Hightower
"Your brand is not just a creative asset or a marketing asset — it's a financial asset. If you think about your brand as a part of your portfolio, where are you making an investment in brand so that you're balanced and you're achieving the right return on that investment? ... BrandWorth helps us get to the heart of, 'where does brand matter most, and where are we going to get the most return for the investment we make in brand today and tomorrow?'" — Maggie Gross, Head of Strategy, Deloitte Digital
With more consumer choice and disparate online and offline retail channels, the nature of what it means to be a brand has shifted dramatically.
Brand manufacturers need to develop a clear brand strategy to meaningfully engage consumers and stand out in a crowded marketplace, but it’s difficult to accomplish this without the right level of brand investment.
But the conundrum for companies has always been how to draw a clear line of connection between brand investment, top-line growth, and revenue.
Maggie Gross, head of strategy for The Studios at Deloitte Digital, may have unearthed exactly how to measure the value of brand investment. With category data from more than 24,000 companies, Gross has created a new way to define the value of brand to companies — BrandWorth.
BrandWorth is fundamentally about quantifying the value of brand to a company. It gives CMOs and brand marketers a tangible set of metrics they can use to advocate for greater brand investment and demonstrate the core role marketing and branding play in helping their companies achieve their strategic goals.
Gross looked at data from 2016 that Deloitte collected around consumers’ perspective on brand and how they were engaging with brands throughout the funnel.
She then combined this information with revenue data from the companies’ 10-K filings before arriving at an understanding.
"What happens when brand gets stronger and what happens when brand gets weaker with regards to the bottom line, and what are the things that make brands stronger and weaker?" says Gross. "That's ultimately what BrandWorth is."
The 4 Key Metrics of BrandWorth
BrandWorth is based on four key metrics and uses a unique calculation method.
Values alignment measures when a consumer feels as though the organization shares their values and motivates them to engage through purpose.
Experience satisfaction measures when the products and experiences a brand offers leave consumers satisfied and wanting more.
“It's not just engaging with the product, it can be engaging in the purchase journey,” Gross says.
Message memorability measures whether a company’s marketing messages are reaching consumers at the right time, capturing their attention, and creating desire. This is traditionally what marketers and advertisers think of when they think of branding.
Share of Culture
Share of culture measures whether a brand is expanding its relationship with consumers by doing more than just talking to audiences, but actually participating with them.
There are several mechanisms through which companies can do this, including responding to reviews and re-sharing customer memes and user-generated content on social media. All of this helps to create a culture around their products or services that drives customer loyalty.
How to Calculate BrandWorth
Deloitte calculates BrandWorth scores for its clients using consumer surveys that assess performance across these four metrics. Scores are expressed as a percentage of the audience that aligns with each metric.
For example, 20% of the audience may express they have a positive view of a company’s messaging (equates to a score of 20 for messaging memorability), and another 30% may say they align with a company’s values (a score of 30 for values alignment).
While the four metrics often amplify one another to drive greater brand value, Gross says each of these metrics may carry more weight in different industries.
"In some industries, values alignment is what drives people to consider becoming customers of a brand. In other industries, message memorability could be the most important thing. That’s what's so great about BrandWorth. It fundamentally breaks down what makes a brand strong and what can I do as a brand manager to strengthen my brand within my category to achieve an outsized impact." — Maggie Gross, Head of Strategy, Deloitte Digital
How Brand Worth Can Drive Better Creative and Product Content
Understanding brand value can reshape how companies approach their creative and product content, specifically their product detail page (PDP). The product detail page is increasingly becoming a full-funnel experience and consumers’ first and most frequent brand experience.
"BrandWorth also has the ability to provide a hierarchy of what matters in branding," Gross says.
Gross gave the example of a shoe company that has measured its BrandWorth and discovered the most important thing to its audience is actually share of culture followed by experience satisfaction.
With this knowledge, the company could focus on including information on the product detail page that first talks about what buying the shoes says about who you are and the community you want to align yourself with — for example, millennial sneakerheads who love bold, innovative design — followed by product information related to the feel of the shoe itself.
BrandWorth also can guide creative teams as they try to visually communicate and express the brand’s identity across mediums.
"BrandWorth basically gives them the brief that's going to make them successful,” Gross says. "It doesn't tell them the colors or the words or the taglines they should be using — that's still up to their creative discretion — but it does say, 'hey, in order to be successful, we need to build a brand that shares values with our customers, and here's the values of those customers.' Or in order to be successful, 'we need to communicate that our experiences make things easy on people.'"
Helping Companies Reimagine Their Brand
Gross says measuring BrandWorth has helped several of Deloitte’s clients drive impressive growth and performance.
The firm worked with one shoe manufacturer to use BrandWorth to better understand the role that brand played in the purchase journey for three of its core audience segments. Using this information, the company ultimately built a strategy that helped it drive 30% year-over-year sales growth.
Deloitte helped another client in the auto care category, developing a brand strategy and creative campaign that unlocked around $165 million in top-line growth over three years.
For a quick-service restaurant, the firm did a BrandWorth analysis that helped the company understand the role brand and product both played in the customer journey.
"We were able to help them identify the brand elements that should halo onto the digital experience. Ultimately, that drove a 40% lower cost per acquisition because we gave people a reason to come in beyond just the food," Gross says.
To hear more insight from Maggie Gross, check out the full episode, "Measuring the Business Impact of Brand in the Digital Age."