The Importance of the Brand Value Chain (BVC) to Attaining Market Leadership

A High Performing Company with All Value Chain Links Strong (No Brand Value Links Broken or Sub-optimized):

Company Brand Value Chain
Company Brand Value Chain

How a Broken Value Chain Impacts Your Company

In order for your company to have a chance at being a market leader, it is important for it to have all links in the brand value chain attaining top effectiveness. Just one broken link in this brand value chain (BVC) can bring your whole company down and subject your company to the following risks:

1)      Loss of Market Share as compared to your competitors

2)      Inability to close sales

3)      Lack of marketing leads and inquiries

4)      Declining customer base over time including customer defection to the competition

What is the Brand Value Chain (BVC) you might ask?

The Brand Value Chain is defined as the effectiveness of the sum of all company functions delivered to your customers and the marketplace: Marketing, Sales, Product/Service Quality, Customer Service, Pricing, Warranties/Returns, Customer Relationship & Experience Quality, etc.

Brand Value Chain Defined
Brand Value Chain Defined

Therefore, when one link of the brand value chain is weak or about to break, the following rule regarding brand image almost always holds true:

Brand Image & Brand Value Chain Rule
Brand Image & Brand Value Chain Rule

Symptoms of a Broken Value Chain:

  1. Your sales team just can’t seem to close the deals. Potential broken value chain links: Poor customer service, product utility/quality, pricing.
  2. You have great products, pricing and customer service but nobody has heard of you. Likely broken value chain links: Poor marketing and/or sales operations.
  3. Your customer base keeps declining year-over-year: Likely broken value chain links: Poor customer service or eroding product quality or pricing.
  4. Your marketing generates a plethora of leads that are not closed or turned into sales deals: Likely broken value chain links: Sales operations and marketing-sales lead management procedures are non-existent or sub-optimized.

Examples Companies with Potential Broken Value Chains:

Every day we see examples of companies that seem to have everything going for them except one weak link in the brand value chain that brings the entire perceived brand value down. Some examples are as follows:

  • Comcast – great programming, great marketing/sales, great products, great technology & infrastructure but perceived bad customer service and pricing creates a negative impression of the company by many customers and prospects – their company’s Achilles heel.
  • Searsgreat products, good pricing, good in-store sales, etc. but is severely lacking in marketing and promotions including in-store and on-line customer experience design which tends to brings down the other great intra-company performers and has led to a decline in the customer base.
  • General Motorsgood pricing, promotions, dealer sales, etc. but perceived increased negative product quality due to the number of recent recalls has brought many questions regarding the GM brand. These questions about product quality could impact customer retention and acquisition in the longer-term.

How the Broken Value Chain Impacts Company Performance:

What all of these examples show is that a company must deliver great performances in every category to become a market leader. One broken link in the brand value chain is enough to reduce the company to a market laggard and risks them going out of business over time if not rectified.

The following chart illustrates how one broken brand value chain has the ability to bring down the entire company and risk its overall viability:

Company Impacts of the Broken Brand Value Chain
Company Impacts of the Broken Brand Value Chain

 

How to Identify & Rectify a Broken Value Chain:

What steps can you take to identify and then rectify a broken brand value chain (BBVC) you might ask? Here are some easy steps to take to first, identify and then rectify a broken value chain:

Proven Methods to Identify a Broken Value Chain (BVC):

 

  • Inter-departmental peer reviews – How well do our peer departments think we are performing?
  • External departmental & function benchmark reviews – how well are doing vs. market leading company’s similar function (e.g. sales to sales or marketing to marketing performance comparison)?
  • Customer external scorecard reviews – How well do our customers and prospects think we are performing?

 

 Methods to Rectify a broken value chain:

  1. Perform Six-Sigma process and effectiveness improvement reviews
  2. Invite customers to participate in focus groups and advisory councils to help identify ways to improve the department’s effectiveness (sales, marketing, customer service, etc.)
  3. Form Improvement “Tiger Teams” consisting of inter-departmental high performers to assist with increasing functional performance.
  4. Invite outside and leading consulting firms to help infuse a holistic set of industry best practices across and within company functions – marketing, sales, customer service, pricing, etc.
  5. Tie performance and variable rewards to customer rated scorecards where company employees only get paid bonuses when our customers rate us as high performing.
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Measuring Marketing ROI vs. Measuring Customer Value & Equity

Hierarchy of Marketing ROI Analysis (Levels 1-4)

Hierarchy of Marketing ROI Analysis (Levels 1-4)

In this blog we cover the following topics:

  1. The four (4) levels of sophistication in measuring marketing and customer ROI
  2. The three traditional levels of marketing ROI that focus on spend vs. return
  3. The calculations for measuring campaign ROI, Brand ROI and Customer Spend ROI
  4. Why measuring customer value and equity is a far better measure than traditional marketing ROI
  5. How Customer Value and Equity Covers the Measurement of ALL customer facing activity – marketing, PR, sales, customer service, community relations, etc.
  6. What your company needs to do to increase its sophistication of measuring market and customer insights

The following chart depicts the capability levels for measuring market ROI and customer value.

Level 1: Campaign centric ROI is the measurement, at a campaign level, of campaign costs vs. campaign return (customer spend vs. campaign return)

Level 2: Brand Centric ROI is the measurement, at a brand level, of brand return for all conducted campaigns (roll up of campaign ROI to a brand level)

Level 3: Customer Spend ROI is the sum of all brand and all brand campaign ROI at a customer level.

Levels of Marketing ROI Measurement (Levels 1-4)

Levels of Marketing ROI Measurement (Levels 1-4)

The following chart defines the first three levels of marketing ROI and points out the pros and cons for utilizing each method. The downfall for all three methods, as indicated at the bottom of the chart, is that they rely on historical spend vs. forward looking measures as are found in Level 4 – Customer Value and Equity Measures.

Traditional Marketing & Customer ROI Methods (Levels 1-3)

Traditional Marketing & Customer ROI Methods (Levels 1-3)

The following chart depicts the calculations for determining campaign level and brand level ROI that, if done correctly, should roll up to a customer level (Level 3 – Customer Spend ROI). The detailed definition of the highest level (Level 4 – Customer Value & Equity) is covered just below in this blog.

Levels 1 – 3 Focus on Spend vs. Customer Value and Equity

Levels 1 – 3 Focus on Spend vs. Customer Value and Equity

The following chart defines the components of Level 4 ROI analysis – “Customer Value and Equity”.  This level includes the roll-up for Customer Spend ROI, but also includes insights that predict customer future behavior as well as defining how valuable the customer is to the company beyond what they spend.

For example, a customer who is referring 2-3 customers to the company per week, participating in customer focus groups is a far more valuable customer than another customer with equal spend with your company.  

Similar to company stock value, the measurement of customer value and equity is a far more robust way to measure the value of the customer base, how likely they are to remain a loyal customer, etc. 

Customer Value & Equity Calculations, as shown below includes several different indices such as Customer Contribution Index (CCI), Customer Perception Index (CPI), Customer Referral Index (CRI) and Customer Loyalty Index (CLI). These indices help determine the overall health of the customer base vs. merely customer spend as is associated with levels 1-3 (spend focused).

Customer Value and equity calculations take into account the level 1-3 spend ROI measures, but utilizes a balanced scorecard approach in that the indices above are weighted against the spend vs. ROI measures. For example, if Brand A has a high ROI but also has a bunch of irate customers unwilling to partner and participate in brand activities, then this is indicative of a brand that, while doing well now, will experience a great deal of future customer churn, negative social comments, brand tarnishing, etc.

Level 4 Marketing ROI Analysis - Customer Value & Equity

Level 4 Marketing ROI Analysis – Customer Value & Equity

The following chart further defines the difference between focusing on spend ROI analysis vs. focusing on customer value and equity.

Value of Focusing on Customer Value & Equity

Value of Focusing on Customer Value & Equity

The last chart provides some real examples of the difference between focusing on spend ROI analysis vs. focusing on customer value and equity.

Examples of Differences Between Spend ROI  Focus vs. Customer Value & Equity Focus

Examples of Differences Between Spend ROI
Focus vs. Customer Value & Equity Focus

The bottom line here is that if you are focusing on Level 1-3 ROI calculations, you have a short-term and myopic view of the health and value of your customer base and are missing the strategic and longer-term insights that enable you to determine customer, company and brand future value and earnings.

Any company thinking about acquiring another should perform this robust customer diagnostic to determine if they are inheriting a group of angry/upset customers that will defect after a merger or a set of extremely valuable customers with positive customer equity who will take the stock value of the merged company to the stratosphere.

Contact me to find out how to move past traditional marketing ROI measurement and how to evolve into developing more robust customer value and equity insights for your company.  

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