One of the most useful marketing diagnostic tools I learnt about during my Mini-MBA program was creating a report card for your brand.
The Brand Report Card was published by marketing professor Kevin Keller in the Harvard Business Review in 2000.
It identifies ten characteristics shared by the world’s strongest brands and constructs a report to help managers to think about their brand’s performance.
Marketers who build strong brands have embraced the concept and use it to its fullest to clarify, implement, and communicate their marketing strategy.
How well do you score against the world's strongest brands?
Download a free printable version of the Brand Report Card (PDF), or play along below to find out.
Enter a score between 1 and 7 for each question below, where 1 is “Strongly Disagree”, 4 is “Neutral”, and 7 is “Strongly Agree”.
Add up the scores and use the chart to get your final grade.
1 = Strongly Disagree
2 = Disagree
3 = Slightly Disagree
4 = Neutral
5 = Slightly Agree
6 = Agree
7 = Strongly Agree
1. Delivers benefits consumers truly desire
You identify key desires in your market and create an engaging experience for consumers based on them.
2. Stays relevant
Elements of the brand, such as imagery or the type of person who uses it, and the perception of the brand as a whole, are modified to fit the times.
3. Is priced based on consumers’ perception of the brand’s value
The nature of the product in the customer’s mind (premium vs. household staple) influences the price.
4. Is consistent
Marketing communications don’t send conflicting or confusing messages over time.
5. Fits sensibly into your brand portfolio
Brands work logically together, with minimal conflict and overlap in market segments and consumers.
6. Has an integrated marketing strategy
All marketing activities and channels consistently communicate the same message about the brand.
7. Has meanings that managers understand
Managers know consumers’ different perceptions, beliefs, attitudes, and behaviours associated with the brand.
8. Receives sustained support
You consistently invest to ensure consumers have the proper awareness and strong, favourable, and unique associations with the brand in their memory.
9. Is constantly monitored
You use a formal brand equity tracking system, such as in-depth brand audits and ongoing brand-tracking studies.
10. Is properly positioned
It clearly communicates its similarities and differences from competing brands.
Excellent work! You have a world-class brand.
Good job, solid effort. Focus on areas for improvement.
Room for improvement. Identify weaknesses and fix!
Needs work... Your brand is becoming a commodity.
So... how did you do?
Full disclosure: I scored a 43 for my current company (phew), but there is definitely room for improvement.
If you got a C or below, you might want to take some time to re-think your marketing strategy and activities.
The 10 characteristics outlined by Keller are the backbone of a successful brand strategy, and should be every marketer's top priority.
If you'd like to discuss creating a stronger marketing strategy (and improving your brand report card score), get in touch!