BJ Bueno with Scott Jeffrey
You have a big family reunion at your home next week. Big decision: Do you set up for a BBQ outdoors or plan for an in-house venue? An outdoors event makes life easier, but what if it rains? Should you invest the money in an outdoor canopy?
Although we don't have crystal balls to predict the future, we have meteorological modeling to predict the weather. Looks like clear skies on Saturday. Does that mean it won't rain? Of course not. Models are predictive, but they are not 100% accurate. The more advanced and effective the model, the more accurate its predictive capabilities.
Most mega-brands have their own way of modeling their brands. The purpose of a brand model is to predict consumer behavior. Without a brand model you’re left with major uncertainty on how your present decisions will affect your customers in the future.
There’s a staggering amount of information that crosses the average executive’s desk each day. A brand model helps you focus on what’s most important to the growth of your business, screening out the noise.
What does an effective brand model give you?
An effective brand model is a representation of the most important elements that drive your business. Modeling the brand offers your business four important benefits:
- An effective brand model describes the consumer’s mindset, attitudes and behaviors toward your brand.
- An effective brand model predicts the future, turning “what if” questions into observations to consider for future action.
- An effective brand model provides you with information about what is needed to reach your goals with consistent standards.
- An effective brand model offers a synthesis of everything your brand does and a quintessential framework for evaluating decisions.
If your chief competitor models their brand and you don’t, you will lose to your competitor over time. Alternatively, if you have a more effective model than your competitor, you will likely gain market share over time.
The benefits of an effective brand model
An effective brand model helps your leadership team:
- Make better decisions. Better decisions leads to financial results.
- Quickly pinpoint changes in trends and your “consumer ecosystem” and adjust your strategies in order to stay ahead of your competitors.
- Uncover emerging consumer needs and highlight where to innovate.
- Identify what strategic actions will have the greatest impact on your brand (based on the model’s descriptive and predictive power).
- Solve challenging industry problems. Data without context leads to white noise. A brand model filters erroneous data to help you clarify the problem.
- Clarify the role marketing, advertising, innovation and the rest of your brand’s assets play in the mind of the customer.
- Organize and structure information that CEOs, CMOs and brand managers need right away.
The benefits of modeling your brand are plentiful. The potential drawback is that your model isn’t always going to be right. Plus, if your model doesn’t address the human element of your business you’ll end up making decisions that may produce short-term revenue by sacrificing long-term, sustainable profitability.
Of course, not all brand models are created equal.
A solid brand model provides five important advantages in growing your business:
- Accurate predictions. A solid model gives you accurate predictions of consumer behavior. For example, Harley-Davidson tries to produce only one more motorcycle than they expect to sell—talk about tight inventory!
- Details on execution. A solid brand model provides a description of the essential details needed to serve your best customers. Harley-Davidson’s brand model provides a structure of how Harley Owners Groups (HOGs) can best operate their chapters.
- Solution indicators. A solid model provides accurate descriptions of the solution when the problem is solved. Because HOG has a model of what their groups look like at their best, they have a model to measure other groups against.
- Clarity and direction. A customer-centric model shows you what actions will have the greatest impact on your core customers. If you know the emotional outcome that customers get from doing business with you, you can eliminate anything that doesn’t ladder up to that outcome.
- Customer-centric innovations. An effective model decodes what your customers want. It will track how people feel about your brand and provide the insights necessary for new product and service innovations. If an auto parts shop knows that time is a major factor for its customers, it can focus on ways to make shopping faster and easier.
Executives often make up what they want to hear. Brand modeling helps you determine if what you’re doing is actually working. Instead of going exclusively with gut emotions—or with just doing what you’ve always done—an effective model can more accurately tell you what’s really going on with your business, with your customers, and in your industry.
Brand Model 3.0