The Importance of Importance

Your brand performance metrics are in! You are rated highest in terms of being innovative and offering good quality products. Lowest ratings are among trust and being an industry leader.

There. Now, it’s time to turn this into action and work on those low performers, right?

Well, no.

Determining brand performance is all well and good but one of the critical pieces often missing is the relative importance of each of these metrics. In this example how else do you know that improving on your reputation as an industry leader is going to directly impact your bottom line unless you know that it is important when making a purchase decision? You can be perceived as being very innovative but if innovation doesn’t influence purchase decisions as greatly as say customer service, your resources could be better spent ensuring that customer service maintains higher levels of satisfaction.

Asking both importance and performance in a brand assessment is one of the most effective approaches to determining what improvements can be made to your brand.

In order to make comparisons from importance and performance metrics, the form of how the question is asked is critical and both questions must use a similar structure. Typically, we use a 1 to 5 Likert scale to measure both importance and performance. We also use the exact same brand metrics in each question.

The performance question should have the exact row attributes as the importance question with modified question text and a redefined 5-point scale.


Now, that’s better. When we look at performance in relation to importance, we can immediately see that even though the brand was rated highest on being innovative, it is also seen as being the least important brand attribute. Looking further, we can see that while the brand is meeting expectations in terms of industry leadership, it is also under-performing on the 3 most important brand attributes (customer service, product quality, and brand trust).

Without asking about importance of these attributes, one might assume that industry leadership and brand trust were the top priorities in terms of improvement, but in the context of what is important, priorities are now customer service and product quality.

A lot can change with a little bit of insight. This question structure has been critical for understanding hundreds of brands I have worked with over the years, and I hope this survey tip will help you with your research objectives!