A blood test for your brand

  • 28 March 2024
  • Kylie McNamara, Director Brand Strategy, Fuller Sydney

We think nothing of booking our cars in for a grease and oil change by our mechanic. We arrange to have our tax checked by our accountant. We have an annual blood test so our sugar levels and cholesterol can be checked by our doctor.`

But why is it we don’t ask a specialist to check our brand health?

The answer is that most managers assume a healthy bottom line is a sign of a healthy business – like being able to climb stairs without breathlessness. But like the hidden aspects of our health that are easy to overlook (but can prove to be fatal), a brand health check measures the subtleties that can make or break your business.

Business owners and organisation managers can be forgiven for feeling a little heart arrhythmia after the last five years. As if COVID wasn’t a big enough once-in-a-century challenge, humanitarian and political turmoil in Europe and the Middle East as well as the tepid relationship with a slowing China has led to anti-inflationary pressure from the Reserve Bank, raising interest rates, pressuring consumer cost of living and threatening business confidence.

If you’re feeling like a medical after all of this, imagine how your brand must feel. Isn’t it time you rolled up your sleeves and got your brand’s bloods done to determine how well it is positioned to handle these challenges…and others we don’t even know about?

So what is a healthy brand and what is a sick brand?

A healthy brand delivers on its promise to its customers so they keep purchasing your products and advocate on your behalf to other potential clients. If your brand is healthy it will also be serving its stakeholders (Board, investors, staff) ensuring they remain satisfied and loyal and engaged. 

A sick brand provides a less than optimal experience for your customers – service, quality, attentiveness to their needs. This means they will eventually look elsewhere for the same products and even worse, say negative things about you. It means your business can be vulnerable to new entrants and industry disruption. An unhealthy brand also means an unhealthy culture which can affect staff retention and investor loyalty.

What is a brand health check?

A brand health check is a cost effective research program that measures how your brand is perceived by your customers and stakeholders (including investors and staff), compares your brand to your competitors and then recommends strategies for improvement.

The core purpose of this measurement process is to not only understand the commercial strength of your brand now. If you measure and evaluate your brand on an ongoing basis you can help uncover issues before they arise, and develop strategies to manage that change.

Fuller takes an holistic three stage approach to brand health measurement, using a methodology which is designed to extract maximum insight and develop clear, objective recommendations. The three stages are:

Quantitative Research

We conduct an online brand tracking survey of an appropriate sample of a client’s customers and stakeholders. The measurement metrics are developed collaboratively with our clients but will often include brand awareness, brand consideration, brand preference, brand perceptions, purchase behaviour, your Net Promoter Score, and customer loyalty. 

There is a lot more to surveying customers than a simple MailChimp blast. The digital fingerprint of each respondent is checked and the survey path and browsing history is recorded, along with checking of open ended and contradicting response checks, ensuring the best possible sample. 

Our analysis is deep and comprehensive – we don’t just look for one dimensional answers to questions but we compare responses by segment or behaviour,  providing rich insights. Ideally this will take place twice a year to track important changes.

Qualitative Research 

Qualitative research enables us to dig deep into the data to understand underlying perceptions and motivations – not just the “what” but also the “why”. Focus groups or in-depth interviews  (especially for B2B or high net worth individuals) held once a year are an opportunity to bring together key audience groups in a semi-structured conversation to understand the nuances of consumer reactions and to explore the brand’s potential. 

The group format allows for individual responses and also provides an opportunity for respondents to react to and build on each other’s ideas. 

We believe that conducting focus groups at least once a year  will provide a more holistic understanding of brand health and highlight opportunities to further refine and enhance brand marketing activities. 

Implications Workshop

We then facilitate a 3-hour interactive workshop to report on the findings and translate them into a clear action plan. Facilitated by Fuller’s research and brand communication strategists, this is an opportunity for the team to interrogate the findings of the research and to collaborate to develop an integrated marketing action plan that will help clients sharpen and achieve their brand objectives.

So what are some of the questions businesses and organisations want answered with a brand health check?

The most common question CEOs want answered at the moment is, where can I get the best return on investment? A brand health check will provide a clear direction about marketing and business spend based on solid evidence. These are some of the key areas of interest we have identified.


While a high profile brand sponsorship may appear to be building brand awareness, brand health research will be able to provide answers to questions such as; is the sponsorship building awareness with the right target audience? And what does the sponsorship communicate about the brand?


A brand may be using a particular advertising campaign to overcome barriers to purchase, and brand health research can identify whether the audience is taking out the intended message, and whether the advertising is successfully changing perceptions.


Some businesses are slow to recognise the importance of a frequently renewed and updated website. When the marketing department needs customer evidence to show that the website is not working as well as it should, a brand health check will provide the empirical data to build a case for change with the CEO.


In a rapidly changing socio-political business environment, many clients and customers want to see their suppliers reflect their own views about sustainability, ethics, and diversity. How does your business measure up in these areas and how can you modernise your public persona without running the risk of cynical greenwashing?


It is not helpful to always look over your shoulder at your competitors: it makes you insecure and double guess your strategy. However, an annual stocktake of your industry and what the fast movers are doing in terms of new clients, services and staff appointments will help you sharpen your sword.


It is easy to become complacent about staff motivation – no noise is good noise. But a confidential survey can reveal hotspots that need cooling and bring up great new ideas that will not only build culture but create differentiation in the marketplace.

Confidentiality, transparency and independence

Using Fuller to undertake a brand health check not only assures you that the services will be professionally executed but that the complex analysis of metrics will be summarised in an understandable and practical way. 

Fuller brings unique expertise across the marketing spectrum – not just research but brand development, strategy, creative and tactical implementation through content, digital, advertising and communication to ensure you gain a positive direction for the future from your brand health investment. 

Our independence will also ensure that the findings are confidential and transparent.

Like telling porkies to your doctor about how much you drink, truth is an essential outcome of any health check. 

Without it you’re wasting time and money and running the risk of a sobering surprise. 


For a confidential scoping conversation about checking your brand health contact Director Brand Strategy Kylie.