When a conversation turns to branding, it will also, inevitably, include the words ‘relevance’ and ‘resonance’. These are two very important words when considering your brand positioning. What’s more, each one speaks to a different aspect of it.

Are you getting these ‘Rs’ mixed up? We have your solution! Here, media update’s Maryna Steyn zooms into relevance versus resonance.

What is the difference?

In simple terms, brand relevance is a measurement of the long-term success of a business through its purpose or function. Resonance, on the other hand, is how a customer relates to the brand.

Both say something about the relationship between the brand and the customer.

What you need to know about relevance

The first thing you need to know is that relevance has four key pillars. They are:
  • understanding your customer
  • creating value with a purpose,
  • personalising the experience, and
  • engaging to build relationships and receive feedback.
Next, you need to understand that relevance measures a brand’s ability to maintain its position within the industry. You can do this by looking at how that particular business continues to provide for its customers’ needs.

Think, for example, about how all the DVD shops started to disappear one by one when streaming services became popular. These businesses lost their relevance because they were no longer able to serve a purpose when their customers’ needs were met in some other way.

Although this is a drastic example of what it means to be relevant — or not — the lesson here is that a brand continuously needs to work towards being a necessity for its audience. Even more so if it operates in an industry where it has many competitors.

The key to maintaining your purpose is to make innovative offerings that are ‘must haves’ for your customers that they can’t get anywhere else. This can include physical or loyalty benefits, or the advantage of interacting with a brand that has certain values, such as being green or being involved in community outreach programmes.

It’s still the customer who decides whether or not the business is relevant to them or not, but brands who actively listen and engage with their audience are able to anticipate, adapt and respond much quicker to changes in their consumers’ needs than those who don't.

Social media is a great way to do this. By seeking out customer feedback on these digital platforms and using it to improve your marketing strategies, you can begin to measure your brand relevance. This can be done in three ways:
  1. Social listening: Brands can get a comprehensive view of what people are saying about them on social media and use the data to improve their branding.
  2. Feedback loops and beta-testing: Any business is able to up their game by tuning into the feedback their customers are providing. It enables a brand to know what the actual needs are of the customers who are using your product or service.
  3. Net promoter score: This indicates how likely your users are willing to recommend your brand on digital platforms and is usually done in the form of a survey in the online environment.

What you need to know about resonance

With resonance, a customer associates with a brand because of its core values or goals and the relationship that is built as a result of these factors. Essentially, customers will feel connected to your brand in some way.

For example, look at how consumers become loyal to a specific brand, like Coca-Cola, because of their involvement with consumers. The brand promotes sharing and encourages happiness, as seen in its ‘Tastes better together’ ad campaigns. The brand makes a point of being part of consumers’ lives by creating content that is relatable and that resonates with anyone viewing their adverts.

When you look at building resonance through your branding, it helps to look at the pyramid known as the Keller’s Brand Equity Model. The model asks four questions that build on each other to reach the pinnacle of the pyramid: resonance.

The questions are:
  1. Who is this brand?
  2. What is this brand?
  3. How does the customer respond to the brand?
  4. What about the relationship between the customer and the brand?

Looking at this model, you can see that resonance looks at the brand’s identity, its meaning, the responses it evokes from its customers as well as the relationship between the business and the individual.

These four criteria are very important because it explains the process behind the branding journey. A business cannot just position its brand and expect it to be the end of the road. It first has to build up from identification — where individuals start recognising your logo — to establishment — where consumers start remembering your business.

Once this is achieved, it has to work on eliciting responses or gaining insight into what people think and feel when they hear the brand’s name. Only then are marketers able to grow the long-term relationship they want to cultivate with their audience.

Would you like to know more about brand positioning? Let us know in the comments below.

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*Image courtesy of Vecteezy