A Quantitative Look at the Best Brands

A Quantitative Look at the Best Brands

Successful licensing programs depend on the strength of the brands behind them. But measuring brands has always been a tricky process at best. Focus groups and gut feelings are important indicators, but they don’t offer a quantitative measure for how well a brand is connected with kids.

A new diagnostic tool from Geppetto Group and Millward Brown allows marketers to evaluate their brands’ strengths in the kids market.

KidBrAndZ pinpoints factors driving kids’ purchases, predicts the impact of various marketing actions, and gives marketers a look at competitive positioning and consumer base.

The study is an outgrowth of BrAndZ, which covers more than 8,000 brands and is based on 170,000 consumers comparing brands in more than 70 categories. KidBrAndZ surveyed 2,400 children 7 to 14 in the U.S. and the U.K. The sample was split evenly according to gender and covers brands in six categories with special relevance to kids:

* Cereals

* Chocolate

* Fast food

* TV media

* Soft drinks

* Sports clothing


KidBrAndZ evaluates a given brand based on several criteria, which make up the BrandDynamics Pyramid.

Presence – Have kids had an experience with the brand? Does it come to mind unaided when they think of the category?

Relevance – Is the product in kids’ price range? Does it fulfill their needs?

Performance – Does the brand deliver on its promise?

Advantage – Does this brand appeal to kids more than another brand in the same category? Is it more popular among kids’ friends?

Bonding – Does the brand beat all the competition?

KidBrAndZ uses the pyramid to compile a Brand Signature that reflects the brand’s strengths and weaknesses in comparison to other brands in the category. Signatures are then categorized into different brand types:

Fading Star – Used to be a well-known brand and maintains name recognition, but is not bonded with kids. These are yesterday’s hot properties.

Olympic Brand – This brand is part of the cultural fabric of a country and is the assumed brand within its category. Nike is an Olympic Brand.

Classic Brand – A brand that is well-known but doesn’t have the excitement level of the Olympic Brand.

Aspirational Brand – The brand has strong presence, but is not a brand suitable for everyone, usually because of price, i.e., Ferrari or Lamborghini.

Cult Brand – A brand that has below-average presence, but is very relevant to those who are aware of it. This is what Sony Playstation was before it caught on in the mainstream.

Little Tiger – These are brands that have a strong following with a core group of people. The difference from Cult brands is Little Tigers are relatively unknown. If they increased their presence they’d be Olympic brands. These are the brands to watch out for.

Defender – This is the brand that’s a good balance between performance and price, but is not emotionally rooted.

Clean Slate – A new brand. It can only go up from here.

Competitive Clout

The ability to make valid comparisons between competitive brands is a powerful benefit of the study. A showdown between Nike and Reebok demonstrates why Nike came out on top with kids. Nike’s bonding score is significantly above average, while Reebok’s bonding score is below average. “Reebok is doing a good job of maintaining consumers, but the drop from its advantage score to its bonding score is a drastic difference,” says Nicole Lindner, strategic planner for Geppetto. “It has no emotional connection.” In this category, emotional bonding is based on design of the shoes, the brand’s fun quotient and its popularity. Reebok may have all that, but it’s not coming through to kids.

(Geppetto: Rachel Geller, Nicole Lindner: 212/462-8151; Millward Brown: Karin Wood, 203/255-1222)

KidBrAndZ Winners

These brands came out on top in their categories, demonstrating exceptional bonding with kids on practical and emotional levels:

Cereals: Cinnamon Toast Crunch

Chocolate: Snickers

Fast food: McDonald’s

TV media: MTV

Soft drinks: Sprite

Sports clothing: Nike

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