NASHVILLE: Johnson & Johnson, the pharmaceutical and packaged consumer goods giant, has announced that it is switching the focus of its market research to a cross-company system for its major brands.

"We have moved to one methodology to track some of our mega-brands," Brenda Armstead, VP of global strategic insights, told the Market Research Event (TMRE) in Nashville.

For an organisation that historically and culturally prospered from a marketing programme that relied on decentralisation for each of its top brands – including Tylenol, Listerine, Johnson's Baby, and Neutrogena – this new uniformity suggests it now sees benefits in developing a cross-company commonality.

Armstead said the company intended "to become more of a global organisation [with] standards and consistency in the way we track our brand equity across our entire consumer group portfolio". (See full Warc exclusive story here.)

She went on to explain that the group has embraced a Millward Brown composite metric that captures levels of engagement and commitment that brands inspire. Its composite brand score is a tool that helps guide the every-day brand-equity evaluation.

"It allows us to compare [brands] across the consumer group [and] we have senior management in Jersey that really wants to see score-carding and how the brands stack up," she said.

"For us, it's about doing activation sessions with our local markets – and with our cross-functional teams – to make sure that we're actually putting plans against addressing any outages in our equity. So, if we're off, we ought to be doing something about that to close the gap," she added.

She also expressed confidence that with the ability to measure meaningfulness, difference, and saliency – three key components of the Millward Brown metric – the company would be able to "really pull [the brand] apart and discover what is driving a brand in different markets".

For an international marketer with so many products and a wide distribution network, Armstead expected the results may prove to be very different depending on the cultural and the competitive context.

Data sourced from Warc