Most of us realize that it's important to have a strong brand. After all, a vibrant brand helps attract new business and top employees and communicates a firm's positioning. Yet when it comes to actually measuring brand strength, we're usually at a loss.

If you turn to traditional brand metrics you are likely to encounter very complex methodology that is better suited to package goods than to engineering or IT consulting firms.

We've developed a conceptually simple and relatively easy-to-use measure that you may want to consider. We call it a Brand Strength Index.

To calculate, you just need to ask people in your target audience two simple questions. (Of course you'll need a sufficiently large sample to be representative.)

The first question addresses visibility of a firm: On a 0-10 scale, rate how well known is X firm (where 0 equals never heard of them)?

The second question is a parallel rating of the firm's reputation: On a 0-10 scale, rate X's reputation (where 0 equals worst possible reputation).

To calculate the Brand Strength Index, multiply the visibility rating by the reputation rating. You will get an index score that can range between 0-100. Pretty simple.

Here's an example. Suppose your firm scored 6.0 on visibility and 9.0 on reputation (because you're so darn good!). Your Brand Strength Index would be 54 (calculated as 9.0 x 6.0).

This index is simple to understand and calculate. And it's easy to compare firms within the same markets. You can even compare your firm's performance in each of the verticals you serve. The index can also help you set marketing priorities. For example, if you find you have a strong reputation but low visibility, you may want to focus on increasing awareness.

Let me know if you find this little tool helpful!