All Your Questions About BAV, Answered.

Brand equity valuator titan BAV is finally coming to South Africa. We chatted to John Keaveney, regional director of analytics and Insight for VMLY&R EMEA region, to find out what exactly BAV is, what it does and why its imminent arrival is big news for local brands.

  • BAV group

What is BAV?
The acronym stands for Brand Asset Valuator. And if that still leaves you asking, What Is BAV?, it’s a tool that assesses brands’ equity and value from a perceptual point of view – in other words, where a brand stands in the minds of consumers. It’s the largest and longest-running brand study in the world, having launched in 1993 (yes, BAV is a millennial). That’s 28 years of data – and counting – available for tracking trends and informing meaningful conversations and decisions.  

And on the subject of data…
BAV has 14 billion data points for 57 000 brands in 50 countries. It’s like the Godzilla of big data for brands – just as powerful, but less rampagey.

How does it work?
BAV is not a financial measure – as mentioned already, it specifically measures brand perception. It has 75 consistent brand metrics that can be used in many different ways to produce all kinds of useful insights. These metrics are category agnostic – meaning the same metrics can be used on, say, a car brand, an airline, a country or a bank. Brands get measured on four pillars: 1) Differentiation and 2) Relevance speak to a brand’s strength, which indicates potential for future growth; 3) Esteem and 4) Knowledge speak to a brand’s stature, indicating how strong a brand is right now.

What can it do that I haven’t seen before?
BAV is now backed by WPP – replacing the tool BrandZ. Where BrandZ could compare brands within the same category, BAV measures brands in the broader brandscape of people’s minds – it shows where a brand sits in the collective culture, rather than limiting the study to how a brand is perceived versus its direct competitors. So while a brand like, say, Tesla can be compared to other car brands, it can also be compared to, say, Apple – or any other brand on the valuator for that matter (kinda like if Mayweather had to go up against a YouTuber. Oh wait…). It can also create clusters of brands – for example, which brands in South Africa are perceived as disruptors? Or which brands are perceived as institutions? And how does your brand measure up?

No offense, but is it legit?
BAV was created by a group of pretty influential leading minds, including David Aaker of the Aaker Model fame (yes, that guy). The team has some seriously heavy-hitting academic partners that they work with regularly, including Oxford University, and is included in several MBA courses around the world. So yes, it’s got clout.

How can it help my business?
Data is a powerful tool. Some of the less obvious ways you can use BAV insights are deals and acquisitions evaluation, brand partnership and sponsorship analysis and shopping behaviour insights. You can also use it to test hypotheses – like how to revive a brand, what is the power of purpose or assessing brand trust.

Who’s using it?
Internationally, it’s used by the likes of Google, Intel, Microsoft, Facebook, Harley Davidson, Coca-Cola, MasterCard and PWC. So not the worst company to be in. If your brand isn’t one of those that has been measured on the brandscape, it could still be worth your while to look at those category reports we mentioned earlier or what the buzz is for your sector.

Where do I sign up?
BAV launches in South Africa with all the bells and whistles in 2022 and will be available through VLMY&R.

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