Sanjeev Kotnala: Simple ways to find out if a brand is developing Positive Immunity

04 Nov,2015

By Sanjeev Kotnala


In the last two articles ‘Are consumers developing Immunity to your messages’ and ‘How to develop Positive Immunity’ we have discussed the concept of PBI (Positive Brand Immunity). For the brand custodian, it is important to know the impact of their messages.


There are three possible outcomes to such efforts. The consumer can develop Brand Message Immunity (BMI).  The efforts are wasted with no impact; the consumer is neutral to them. Or result in brand developing PBI.


The aim is to use uncomplicated methods to determine the outcome.


The simplest of all methods is to ask consumers, their net take-out of the message. We look for the residual impression or perception in their mind. This helps in doing a simple directional Brand Character and strength analysis. It is like asking ‘Does Fevicol has the best bond?’.


If‘NU’ is the total number of respondents we connect with and ‘NE’ is the respondents exposed to the brand message. They will have an opinion or will have no opinion on the parameter.


‘NHO’is the number having an opinion on a set parameter on the brand. And ‘NNO’ (NE- NHO) is the set having no opinion.


The second level is to find what is that impression. It is positive or negative.

‘NP’= the number of respondents who are positively inclined on the brand and ‘NN’ have a negative opinion. NHO= NP + NN

In such a situation, we define Brand character ‘BC’ as NHO/N then
Positive Brand strength ‘BS’ as NP/NHO = PBI
Negative Brand impression NBI= NN/NHO
Neutral to message NM= NNO/N


The above example is a simplified version, where we have considered that only audience who have been exposed to message have an opinion on the brand parameter. In real life, people who have not been exposed will also have perceptions. And the diagram and values can be suitably be modified

Tracking these comparable numeric values across competition will help us in fine-tuning our efforts. If one can isolate these figures for media exposed or lead media, it may help us determine media effectiveness.


The brands aim should be to consciously focus on increasing the value of ‘NHO’ and ‘NP’. The high value of NNO is indicating creative inefficiencies.


If the trending line BS (numeric value) on a set message parameter is moving upwards (Case-I), the brand is developing Positive Immunity. It is a strong case when the BS for the competitive brandsisdecreasing (Case-II).


If the BS value is climbing or high for all the brands (Case – III) then the consumer is developing immunity for the messages on that parameter, which is currently of  high importance.


If the BS value for the all brands is all moving downwards (Case-IV) and is in low figure then the consumers has developing BRAND MESSAGE APATHY (BMA). It is the initial stage before immunity is developed.



Another simple way is to use the Net-Brand-score result on ‘always- never’ scale. How likely they are to recommend the brand to their family and friends?  Use of ‘family and friends’ instead of ‘others’ is a stronger parameter. The respondents are forced to make a hard choice. They are clearly more accountable to friends and family than others in their circle.


Priya Lobo of Ormax suggests use of perceptual scale than discreet values. The respondent places their brands visualising their level of confidence. It accommodates fractional differences andis a better measure of skew and inclination.


But if there is no research planned, listening to chatter on social media can give directional inputs. Avoid using likes, shares and re-tweets as matrices for Positive Immunity. Positive Brand Immunity is a level before brand fanatics. Listen to find out if brand has succeeded in creating Brand influencers, ambassador and defenders?Use the tools to determine the size of Brand Bashers, which is reflection of Brand Immunity.


These are some of simple ways to get directional recommendations.It is worth the brands time, efforts and money to get a research agency to probe the brands immunity levels. Hopefully that will help you enhance the effectiveness of your communication.


Sanjeev Kotnala is Founder at Intradia World. A Brand, Marketing & Management UnConsult Advisor. He conducts specialised workshops in the area of IDEATION (Harvest and Liberate) and INNOVATION (InNoWait). He focuses energy in enhancing client’s team’s potential and capabilities and decreasing their dependence  on external resources. Email  or tweet at s_kotnala visit


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