How to Measure Brand Attitude

By Jeff Sauro

As you progress through the hierarchy of effects, it’s important to measure the current ideas, beliefs, and associations that customers have toward a brand and product. Brand attitude is both what customers think and how strongly they feel. They may be completely familiar with your product, but may have an unfavorable — or at best, neutral — attitude.

To measure brand attitude and its strength, have a representative set of prospective customers rate how much they agree or disagree toward a number of statements that go from general to specific concepts, as shown.

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A rating scale with 5, 7, or 11 points is common, but if your organization uses another scale with a different set of points, use that.

In most branding studies, you should ask about brand favorability for the product and a set of competitors. For example:

On a scale from 1 to 7, how would you describe your overall attitude toward the following airlines?

American Airlines

Delta

United Airlines

Southwest

Identifying brand pillars

After asking general questions about brand satisfaction, ask specific questions about characteristics associated with the brand, product, or experience. These are typically called brand pillars (think of pillars holding up a house). Brand pillars are the most important attributes and principles you want to communicate through your brand. While these differ depending on the industry and brand, they usually revolve around the following traits:

  • Value: How much value customers feel for the amount of money they spend on the products.

  • Quality: How well customers think a product is built, including the type of materials and process.

  • Trust: Do customers feel like their data is safe, or that the company will deliver what it says?

After participants rate their satisfaction on brand attributes, have them also describe, in their own words, how they arrived at their rating. This is an excellent opportunity to collect insights both on the key drivers of satisfaction and what you can do to improve the product attributes and brand perception.

Checking brand affinity

A brand affinity analysis identifies the words customers associate with your brand and experience. These attributes can be manipulated or neglected. It’s usually the job of the marketing team to work on getting the right positive associations with the brand.

Think of the toothpaste you use. What words come to mind? Maybe it’s something like

Good Attributes Bad Attributes
Clean Expensive
Fresh Messy
White Tastes Terrible
Healthy Guilt

To measure what terms customers associate with your brand and product, use the same framework I describe throughout this chapter:

  1. Ask customers which words come to mind when they think of a product or brand.

    Have them list as many as they can.

  2. Count the responses to see what terms are most common.

  3. Provide a list of specific words you want or don’t want associated with a brand and have customers pick from that list.

For example, customers were presented with 24 terms — 12 positive and 12 negative — that represented the website experience for an automotive information brand. The figure shows that 59% selected “Informative,” and 35% selected “Valuable” and “Convenient.” Fortunately, only a few participants selected negative words. However, approximately one out of every five customers selected “Hard to Navigate” and “Complicated.” This suggests the website experience could use some improvements to make it easier to use.

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When choosing phrases to present to customers, use terms that reflect the brand pillars to see how well these fundamental concepts resonate with customers.