Going beyond the 1:1 ratio

Here at Bloom Consulting we discovered something new and would like to invite all Countries, Regions and Cities to apply this innovative thinking into their Place Brand strategies.

We are doing away with the old methodology that suggests a 1:1 (positive to negative) ratio is sufficient in gauging perception impacts on Place Brands.

Introducing the Nation Brand-Nought (or Place Brand-Nought but to simplify we will call it just Brand-Nought, the B0), the redline that Countries, Regions and Cities need to be aware of falling below or exceeding and seeing an impact in perceptions.

The B0 looks and acts very similarly to its relative, R0. Commonly used by the World Health Organization, R0 is defined by its unique infectious ratios which can be greater than, less than or equal to one. For example, if a disease has an R0 of three, this means that for every person infected, they will infect three more.    

In the case of the B0, if the B0 is three, this means that to neutralize the negative effect of one individual’s perception, you need to have three positive ones.

This logic was discovered during our COVID-19 Study – The Impact on Nation Brands. This is how the B0 was born.

Simply put, through quantitative data analysis, we found the formula that gives us a ratio which determines how well Countries, Regions and Cities must perform to see positive results in terms of Place Brand touchpoints.

The second step would be to asses place performance and calculate the difference, determining whether a change in strategy must be made.

The B0 takes into account both general resilience of a brand’s reputation as well as the resilience of its different dimensions from the Bloom Consulting Nation Brand Wheel©. Hence, we conclude the need to calculate the B0 in order to properly manage potential transactional value loss associated with a tarnished reputation as well as where and how to capitalize on a positive outcome. Given the frequent turnover of Place Brand touchpoints, this conundrum can only be resolved by actively monitoring place performance against the B0.

Touchpoints from Bloom Consulting SpiderBrand

Place Brand touchpoints

Place Brand touchpoints are diverse in nature as they are the platforms through which a brand is experienced. Actions, activities, policies and digital identity are all considered Place Brand touchpoints that ultimately influence individual image and overall reputation of a Country, Region or City. Each with the power to influence the Central Idea of a Nation Brand in either a positive or negative light through the eyes of their target audience.

While we learnt of the B0 during our study of COVID-19, it is equally applicable to inherently positive touchpoints such as the Olympics. Countries who consider hosting the Olympic Games would be wise to calculate the B0 of this Place Brand touchpoint as to better understand the pragmatism in hosting the Games. The aim would be to quantify the ratio of perceptions necessary to positively impact their Nation Brand through hosting the Games.

Place Brand touchpoints may be considered smart or savvy from an internal perspective, but the B0 will determine in actual terms whether it is prudent to execute them. In quantifying positive to negative perceptions and how that ratio impacts Nation Brand, we reveal an additional layer of pros and cons that must be considered prior to implementation.

The Brand-Nought as a KPI

The B0 can be used as KPI when taking the two-step process of first calculating the B0 which we have defined as the redline that Countries, Regions and Cities need to be aware of falling below or exceeding and seeing an impact in perceptions, and second would be to assess place performance and calculate the difference, determining whether a change in strategy must be made. This measurement of place performance against the B0 clearly evaluates the effect of a Place Brand touchpoint on the Nation Brand in quantifiable terms.

Why calculate the B0?

Because the B0 simplifies communication between stakeholders and constituents in terms of key performance indicator (KPI) for how well they must perform as a unit. It allows for general agreement as to whether what was already done is having a positive or negative affect as well as will this idea have a positive or negative affect in the future.

The B0 mandates how much a positive or negative perception can impact a Nation Brand. The beauty in it is how understandable the basic ratio is, acting as a tool to monitor and discuss performance thus far or looking ahead. As we go beyond the 1:1 ratio we ask several questions while performing a situational analysis, including, how is this brand touchpoint perceived?

Place Brand touchpoints aren’t always intentional, even actions that aren’t taken impact Nation Brands and have an associated B0 ratio which can be used to inform strategic decision-making.