During a recent corporate brand refresh, our client asked a question that we wish more clients did. ‘Will it increase my profitability?’ he quizzed. Measuring the ROI on a brand refresh – it’s one of those how-long-is-a-piece-of-string questions, and it got us raving about everything the rebrand would achieve.
But before diving in too deep, we should mention that measuring return on investment in a brand refresh is a bit imprecise. That’s because it boils down to measuring perception. Unless you already have research on customer perceptions of your old brand, you won’t have a concrete way of measuring improved sentiment for the new one.
Thanks to studies like this one from Design Management Institution, we already know that design-led companies outperform other sharemarket-listed firms by up to 200 per cent. Another recent report says that design is worth $10 billion to even a smaller economy like New Zealand. The reasons for this vary, from enhancing a product’s dynamism or appeal, to carving out a clearer user journey for customers.
Through surveying our own clients, we’ve found that most engage an agency like us to consistently make them look bigger, better and more professional. But what does that look like? There’s no single formula. That’s why a good design is equal parts magic, equal parts logic.
We should mention that the visual parts of your brand are sort of the icing on the cake. It’s what we (the design agency) create once we’ve looked at your business, its objectives, positioning, target audience, current perceptions, messaging, brand touchpoints and more.
Let’s assume you’ve already done lots of work on those brand foundations. Here’s how you might start measuring the ROI of your brand refresh – starting with measurement of the current one.
Ask five good clients which adjectives come to mind when they view your existing logo and visual identity. Collate the responses and look for common themes. Even without a massive research budget, you’ll now have a cross-section of responses you can count and categorise.
Do your customers’ brand perceptions align with the positioning you’ve set for yourself? If there’s a mismatch, that’s where you can start to work on how to shift those perceptions.
Your own top people are well qualified to talk about where the brand is headed, especially since you’ve (ideally!) involved them in the repositioning so far. A team workshop can help put into words what the clearer brand will deliver. Greater staff retention? More personal referrals? Ability to reach out to higher-value clients? Then calculate what those outcomes might mean in dollar terms.
Compare the click-through results of two A/B landing pages, sales of near-identical packages on a shelf, engagement for two slightly different social media headlines, and so on. Again, there will be a percentage by which one outdoes the other, and this can help measure your ROI.
Tracking the sentiment of your closest brand fans, the gatekeepers of your reputation, is another way of estimating ROI. You might not be able to quantify the new brand, but you can still get qualitative indicators of customer sentiment on the old versus the new brand. Then repeat steps 2 – 4 above.
Two recent ROI wins we’ve achieved for clients are measured in very different ways. Our Pat and Stick’s website redesign has some lovely numeric indicators thanks to data analytics. Since launching earlier in 2017, page views have increased by 95 per cent, and browsing time doubled to 2 minutes per session. That’s thanks to the more appealing website design, sparkling copy and improved U/X across the responsive site.
By contrast, our brand enhancements for NorthConnex will be measured using qualitative indicators. Our client has described the work as: ‘… clear and professional; a great platform for us to communicate with 24,000 homes and numerous stakeholder groups’. We know that NorthConnex’s stakeholder engagement reputation has been exemplary. So we could cheekily conclude that our work has supported an industry-leading comms initiative.
Back to our most recent client, an up-and-coming force in the ecommerce and transport sector. He knew that his brand looked cheap and fly-by-night to the outside world, but was valued by insiders for its standout customer service. Our brand strategy took into account this, the business goals, and ongoing service improvements our client had already made to achieve these.
Check back here in a month or two, and we’ll let you know how the ROI for that brand refresh is measuring up.