Brand Resonance Model: Explained
In our last post, we discussed market segmentation and brand positioning. This week, I want to dive further into positioning by reviewing something called the Brand Resonance Model.
Let’s start with the basics. You have a pyramid that represents funneling your brand up through measures and objectives. This factors in the rational and emotional aspects of your brand’s identity for consumers. The purpose of this pyramid is to label the stages of development:
- Identify the awareness of your brands with consumers
- Focus the meaning of your brand
- Define what consumers feel about your brand
- Understand the relationship between consumers and your brand
Taking it a step deeper, we can outline subdimensions to look at the brand on a more micro level.
It sounds complicated, but ultimately, the goal of brand resonance is to describe how we can create an intense, loyal, active relationship with consumers. We can do this by understanding why the think, do, and feel, and pivot our brand to resonate with those individual aspects.
Let’s dive in.
At the base of the pyramid lies brand salience. This bodes the question, “Who are you?” as a brand. It is a deep, broad brand awareness for consumers, and the level of identification they have of your brand. Brand salience attributes measure the overall awareness of the brand and how accessible it is. Salience is measured largely by breadth and depth:
- Breadth – Measures the range of purchase and usage situations in which the brand comes to mind
- Depth – Measures how likely and easy it is for the brand element to come to mind
Simply put, can consumers find your brand? Do they think of your brand when they think of a broader product? This is relative to brand equity in that we know some products are referred by brand-names interchangeable with what they are (Band-Aid, Coke, Chapstick).
From salience, we segue into two upper tiers – one of which is brand performance. This simply refers to the brand’s product reliability, durability, and serviceability. Ultimately, it is about the consumer’s actual, tangible experience with your brand. Does your product meet the consumer’s function needs?
Brand performance is measured by:
- Primary ingredients and supplemental features
- Service effectiveness, efficiency, and empathy
This is where Points of Parity (POP) come in. Your brand must, at the absolute minimum, satisfy the needs and expectations of the consumer. If users have a positive experience with your product or service, brand performance will be measured well. If not, it can deeply bruise the brand’s reputation.
Next door to performance is brand imagery. This is less tangible than performance and focuses on the abstract value of your brand to consumers. Brand imagery also has more to do with the consumers themselves than whatever you are selling. For example, what do your consumers value? What, in their history, heritage, or experiences, motivates their purchases?
The Points of Difference will be of the utmost value to consumers here. Trusting that you provide something specific that your competitors don’t, this is an additional aspect of your brand that imagery lends itself to.
A great example of this is Allbirds, a sustainable shoe company working towards carbon neutrality that uses renewable resources to produce performance shoes.
There are tons of athletic shoe brands out there, and particularly, ones better known like Nike and Reebok, but they aren’t out to target every single shoe-wearer. They know to target their marketing towards people who value sustainability and who prefer to make ecofriendly purchases when available. They understand that there is a market segment specifically interested in paying a little bit more for something that satisfies a need but also makes them feel good about their purchase. Allbirds’ brand imagery is associated with this kind of buyer.
I view this as the deeper analysis of brand performance. While performance provides POP for your brand, judgment is the customer’s evaluation of your brand overall. The customer reviews the quality, credibility, consideration, and superiority of your brand. It answers the question: “Does your brand provide good value?”.
This is very specific to each and every consumer, as value is defined differently. I could say that Tempurpedic is absolutely the best mattress brand, and the only one I would ever buy for myself. The comfort, support, and durability are worth the hefty price tag. Alternatively, my spouse could see it as a colossal waste of money, instead turning to more economical foam mattress options and stating they notice no difference. I value the brand’s reputation and my individual experience judges that Tempurpedic is truly the best, while someone I know intimately feels different.
This is where targeting your market is important – focus marketing and ad spend on reaching the people who see your brand as valuable.
Next door to judgments is feelings. This is all about the emotions evoked by your brand and the reactions consumers have to it. Think of it as your brand’s social currency. Think of a brand you really love – one that you tell everyone about because you are so passionate and excited about it. What makes you feel this way? Is it that you have always had pleasant purchase experiences? Maybe there is some sentimental value behind it because your mother and grandmother have used it for years. Whatever it is, it provides security to the end-user that they are going to consistently get the warm-and-fuzzies over your product.
I live in Sicily, and while purchasing jarred tomato sauce is akin to murder, I also have a toddler. This means I have to rely on some modern conveniences sometimes. When I do purchase it, I automatically grab Prego. Is it the best pasta sauce on the market? Probably not. Do I buy it because I have carefully mulled over the ingredients list? Nope. Do I buy it because it was my late-father’s favorite, and it reminds me of him? Most definitely.
While Prego has no control over my emotional response to their brand, they can control how they market it. They could easily create a commercial that talks about family traditions, and I would likely burst into tears and head to the grocery store.
The top of the pyramid – brand resonance. This is the ultimate relationship between your brand and the customer. Resonance measures:
- Behavioral loyalty
- Attitudinal attachment
- Sense of community
- Active engagement
This is where the true, intense loyalty for your brand lies. It takes all the other pyramid pieces and begs the question, “Is all of this enough”? When you look at the sum of all of the parts, does your brand connect enough with the rational and emotional parts of the decision-making process?
If you appeal to all the emotions consumers have, surely some sales will stick; the same goes for the rational appeal. Still, the combined effort will pay dividends and earn greater market share.
Wrap it up
Navigating the appeal of your brand to consumers isn’t as simple as defining market segments and targeting advertising towards them. It’s not even about understanding what makes your consumer tick. Brand resonance is about identifying needs, both rational and emotional, positioning your brand so it is accessible and prevalent, and ensuring the consumer experience is good enough to maintain all the above.
When reviewing your brand’s resonance, think deeply about the questions posed in each pyramid segment. Where does your brand excel? Where does your brand need help? Identifying these answers will aid in your brand’s ability to achieve greater financial success.