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The Good Brands Index

Good Thinking | September 12, 2019 | 3 min read

Understanding how good brands win in the marketplace.

Our national culture is being reshaped by significant forces, and brands are finding it harder to find a relevant voice. The solution? Give people a reason to care, to pay attention, to actually feel good about what influences their purchase decisions. Brands that are seen as “good” have marketplace success. So much has been written about “purpose-driven” brands, but although a component of our approach, that’s not specifically what we’re talking about here. 

Preston Kelly recently conducted a nationwide consumer study we call The Good Brands Index. The purpose of the study is to better understand how consumers themselves define a “good brand,” how they judge one brand versus another, and what actually matters most to them when making purchase decisions.

Not only has this quantitative study been a catalyzing guide for changing our marketing approach, it has led to the development of a new kind of process that will help clients articulate what makes their brands good, and help them confidently change their marketing to be more focused, progressive and successful. 

This process has been built to: 

A. Identify the key attributes of a good brand in a way that allows us to focus on the right advantages and vulnerabilities in a competitive set, measuring these attributes to give us actionable insight.

B. Determine how the perceived value of “good” qualities vary by age, gender, income, background and other demographics.

C. Understand how “good” qualities vary by business category.

D. Give a simple metric score that correlates how “good” a brand is now vs industry competitors with an ongoing measure of how business performance correlates to an improving “good brand” score.

The study was conducted through a national online panel of 1,006 consumers, adults 18+. 

We identified three values-based attributes of good brands, which most influence consumer preference and behavior: 

1. Performance. Do they “work” good? 

2. Personality. Do they “feel” good? 

3. Purpose. Do they “do” good?

As a result of the Good Brands Index, we were able to confirm our hypothesis that a good brand carves out an ownable place in consumers’ hearts based on what they value most. A few other valuable learnings from the study include:

• Being a preferred brand is not just about price, quality and reliability. Those attributes are table-stakes, not a differentiating platform to build a brand on. Being trustworthy, ethical and transparent are more important now than ever.

• Being a good brand matters, but “good” means different things to different people. Understanding what matters to a brand’s audience is key to moving them to act. (Or, understanding how “good” is defined at key moments in a customer journey is critical to winning the moment. And it is those moments that build the relationship.

• Performance and purpose are most important to consumers overall. Their influence in impacting decision making varies based on category. For instance, performance will generally top purpose for a technology company, and purpose will top performance for a service-based organization. 

Our strategic and creative teams at Preston Kelly are looking forward to putting this new strategic tool, and these new learnings, to work for our clients, especially as we plan for 2020. We are fortunate to have a select roster of values driven clients, striving to go beyond numbers and do good for people living their values in real ways. 

Preston Kelly’s evolving purpose is to make brands positively matter by creating experiences so meaningful they are welcome in people’s lives. This Good Wins philosophy fuels our desire to promote purpose-driven companies and give positive rocket fuel to good brands. It shapes our internal culture, fostering courage, openness, originality and positivity. Preston Kelly wants to let it be known that through our marketing we stand for lifting up companies and helping people  and brands do more good for their audiences and the world.