Kantar has just issued a new report titled, “Mastering Momentum,” which addresses the challenge of how to grow a brand over the short and long term. We all know marketing needs to generate sales now, but how can marketers also ensure that their activities also build for the future?

Why momentum? Because momentum is the product of mass and velocity. For brands, greater mass (market share) brings huge advantages, but mass alone does not guarantee future growth. Growth comes from improving velocity, the speed at which the brand builds sales relative to its size and to its competition.

Our analysis, examining how brands measured in BrandZ grew or declined over three years, finds that the strongest growth is realised if brands excel across the three stages of the buyer cycle: experience, exposure, and activation. Failing to perform well on any one of these undermines a brand’s growth potential.

While many brands focus single-mindedly on customer acquisition, satisfied customers are the foundation on which growth is built. High customer satisfaction ensures lower levels of defection and more positive word of mouth. New customer acquisitions then become accretive, not replacement for lost customers.

No matter how good the experience delivered, to grow, a brand must reach out to new, potential customers and consumers. In this context, exposure refers to far more than media exposures, but word of mouth and presence in real life and social media. However, while powerful, positive word of mouth has limited reach, and in order to influence future buyers, brands’ paid media remains an important means of doing so.

Broadcast campaigns may prime new entrants and switchers to choose a specific brand, but marketers also need to make it as easy as possible for people to actually buy it, either by triggering positive brand impressions using instantly recognisable brand assets, or by making such a compelling offer that the potential buyer is persuaded to choose a brand in the moment that they would not otherwise buy.

In our analysis brands that excelled at each of the three stages grew by an average of 46 percent across the three-year time frame. Underperforming at any one stage leads brands to fall short, even if they still overperform at the other two. Importantly, if brands fail to build exposure and increase the number of people predisposed to buy in, future growth will be hard to come by, great experience and activation will not make up for the shortcoming.

Marketing activities can influence consumer behaviour across all three stages of the buyer cycle but all too often marketers end up focusing too much on just one and fail to maximise growth. Why do you think this happens? Please share your thoughts.