The Brand Assessment Tool: How to use Stargazer

Simon Ellis | June 29, 2020

Time to read: 5 mins

Brand is important, sure, but how can you tell how healthy yours is? And more importantly, how do you know what to do about it?

We’ve created the Stargazer brand assessment tool to help businesses and teams of all shapes and sizes quickly and intuitively assess how healthy their brand is, based on what really affects its success: Purpose, Culture and Engagement. In this guide, we’ll show you how to use it most effectively and how to interpret and respond to your results.

Brand Planetology

In order to use the Brand Assessment Tool, it’s important to visualise your brand clearly, so you understand how the elements that it is comprised of interact and relate to each other. We like to think of brands as planets, floating out there in space with a million other brands, all twinkly madly to get the attentions of each other. We call it Brand Planetology and you can read about it in detail here.

As you can see, at the core of your brand, giving it its energy is Purpose. Around Purpose is the broiling heat of Culture, and combined, this enables engagement with your stakeholders and target audiences. So it is these three elements that Stargazer focuses on.

The brand assessment tool

Stargazer brand assessment tool

Stargazer© offers a series of 12 statements – four each for Purpose, Culture and Engagement. Users simply read the statements in turn and consider how much they agree with each one, scoring from 1 to 6, between strong disagreement and strong agreement.

The order is intentional and important: you cannot engage effectively without an aligned culture; you cannot have an aligned culture without a clearly defined Purpose.

Getting the most out of Stargazer©

Getting the most out of the brand assessment tool

As much as running through a Stargazer© brand assessment on your own might be insightful, it will only truly become a reliable and useful exercise when you accumulate assessments from individuals right across your business. Remember, brand is culture-deep. If all that is important to your brand does not reach every last capillary of its outstretched fingers, it will not reach and engage your audience effectively.

So, you can do it remotely by sharing the Stargazer© PDF with a wide selection of people, and get them to complete and email their results back to you independently. Or you can run workshops where mixed groups complete theirs at the same time as others, going through question by question together.

However, if you are a senior figure in your business, you need to ensure you are not exerting influence. If you are serious about assessing your brand truthfully, then do not attend the sessions.

Follow-up

If you run a Stargazer© brand assessment across your business and then do nothing to follow it up, you might as well reduce your score for ‘Culture’ now. When you run Stargazer© be sure to let staff know:

  • Why you are interested in the results
  • How they will be collated and assessed
  • And how you will communicate the subsequent action plan thereafter.

Interpretation

Stargazer© was devised to provide a quick and visual means of brand assessment. Therefore, the score profile ie. the shape of your scoring bars, gives an immediate gauge of where your brand’s strengths and weaknesses lie.

There are six common profiles:

High wedge

Brand assessment results - high wedge

A High Wedge indicates a bias of strength with Purpose. The Purpose section covers the underlying fundamentals of the brand – why it exists and what it sets out to achieve. It’s absolutely essential, but those aspirations need to be filtered throughout the whole business, to drive an aligned, fulfilled and productive culture.

So, a ‘High Wedge’ is a great start, but the idealism behind your brand needs to be converted into practical behaviours that deliver, with authenticity and relevance, change-making results for your audience.

Arrowhead

Brand assessment results - arrow head

An Arrowhead indicates a bias towards Culture. This means you’ve got a great team around you, and culturally, they seem to get on really well and share common values. You often find this situation with early startups; not necessarily clear on what they are setting out to do or achieve, but managing to gather a committed, enthusiastic team along for the ride.

Overtime, however, they can start to feel starved of clear direction and meaning – a focus for all that good energy, and fragmentation, silo’ing or disharmony may emerge.

So important first actions are to discover your brand’s Purpose. You have to be able to communicate to your team what the brand is aspiring to change in the world, and – and this is super important – what their individual role is in delivering that change.

Once that’s in place, and you exemplify it in your behaviours, you will see better focus and better understanding of your customers, which in turn will drive more powerful engagement too.

Low Wedge

Brand assessment results - low wedge

A Low Wedge is indicative of a brand that is focused too much on how it looks and appears, rather than what’s beneath the surface. Of the three profiles covered so far, this is the most problematic.

Brands who maintain a Stargazer profile of this nature will experience high staff turnover and low client retention. They may be locked in a cost-driven sales process, and struggle to differentiate themselves from competitors.

The strengths are that you’re doing well at capturing people’s attention, but you might be doing that by telling them what they want to hear, rather than engaging them with your unique value proposition. You’ll lack differentiation, have poorly focused marketing and spend more on service delivery because you’ll be providing a bespoke service every time. And you will lose your ability to truly innovate your niche.

You need to rediscover your brand’s foundations and you need to understand the difference you and your people bring to the world. You need to get excited about your brand again, and inspire your people to greater things. Define yourself not by what you do, but why you do it.

Split fork

Brand assessment results - split fork

If you’ve managed to get strong purpose and engagement scores, but with lower scores for culture, your focus is too heavily biased to the customer and other external audiences. Why does this matter? Because if your team don’t feel you care about them, they won’t care about your Mission. Your brand may appear strong today, but it will be fundamentally vulnerable.

Engage your team. Trust your team. Involve your team. Spend more time with your team and see the brand from their perspective.

Low Average

Stargazer results- low average

Having a fairly even score within the ‘Meh’ zone isn’t as positive a situation as you might at first assume. It is the magnolia of brand propositions. It suggests commitment and indifference in equal measure. It says, “not bad”, which is hardly a compelling proposition for anyone.

You need to reconnect with your brand and let yourself get re-inspired about your capabilities again. One brilliant way of doing that is to understand what difference your work makes to other people. So talk to your team, and talk more to your customers. Ask them to tell you about you.

High Average

stargazer results - high average

You’re smashing it, but to quote the venerable Han Solo: “Don’t get cocky, kid.” The universe expands, planets collide, brands evolve and people change. You might be rocking along at the moment, but you must keep in touch with your Purpose and keep that reaction going.

And if you’re the only one in your organisation to complete Stargazer©, you’re assuming everyone feels the same way as you!

Be brave – get other people across your team to complete Stargazer©, and compare results and discuss opinions.


Stargazer© is a free brand assessment tool. Please give it a try and help us make it even more useful by feeding back your experience with it.

The future of Stargazer©

At the moment, Stargazer© exists as a PDF form. We are in the process of digitising Stargazer© to make it an online app, easing access, data compilation and visualisation, and  eventually, a dashboard of scores-over-time. If you would like to be part of the testing group, please subscribe below to receive updates on progress.

Thanks for reading. Please like and share!

Si