Consider Replacing Net Promoter Score® With BrandEmbrace®?


Customers using our BrandEmbrace® Expected Utility metric from the Behavioral Science Lab have asked us for our opinion of the Net Promoter Score® or NPS®.  Our responses to their questions below, together with Certification by the Marketing Accountability Standards Board ( suggest that BrandEmbrace® is a truly valid, sensitive and calibrated measure linked to brand preference and market share. 

Q1: How does NPS® accurately reflect the sentiment of the respondent when the response has to do with how a friend or colleague would evaluate an experience? 

Just assume that the NPS® respondent knows that the friend or colleague would value the experience in the same way as the respondent and for the same reasons. BrandEmbrace® measures the buyer’s own motivations driving their own purchase decisions.

Q2: How does NPS® accurately reflect the value of the respondent to the business when Promoters and Detractors are “counted” equally in NPS?

Just assume that a Promoter is just as valuable to your business as a Detractor, since each one “counts” the same in the calculation of NPS®.  BrandEmbrace® is the result of individual models built for each buyer because each category buyer’s motivations and decision processes are different. 

Q3: What about the Detractors who continue to buy from us, each of them doesn’t really “offset” the value of each Promoter as the NPS® calculation implies? 

Just assume that the average value of each Promoter to your business equals that of each Detractor.  BrandEmbrace® models a value for each individual which predicts future behavior.   

Q4: What about buyers that just don’t give very high ratings to anything, will never be a Promoter? 

Just assume that for every NPS® respondent who doesn’t give high ratings, there is one who doesn’t give low ratings, thereby, “offsetting” each other.  With a BrandEmbrace® score computed for each buyer, no assumptions are needed to determine why and how likely each buyer is to select your product or service.

Q5: Why aren’t Passives “counted” in NPS®, don’t they impact the business

Well, they are “counted,” just not directly in the NPS® calculation. Just assume that they have an equal impact on the percentage of both Promoters and Detractors, the basis of NPS®.  No such assumption is needed with BrandEmbrace® since each category buyer has their own score indicating purchase likelihood.

Q6: But, isn’t it true that I can get the same NPS® result with different percentages of Passives? 

Yes, this is true, since what is “left over” from Passives are those who are either Detractors or Promoters, as the table below shows. So just assume that the percentage of Passives doesn’t make any difference. 

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Using BrandEmbrace®, the same score means the same level of utility (appeal) attached to your brand and competitors, but not necessarily driven by the same motivations or decision processes.

Q7: But, how can I grow my business if I don’t move Passives to Promoters, so don’t I need to know what percentage of my business base are classified as Passives?

Yes, just assume that this doesn’t happen very often with NPS® and all you need to do is pay attention to NPS®.  However, moving buyers with middle to higher BrandEmbrace® scores is the most often used application of BrandEmbrace® because size of the BrandEmbrace® score is calibrated to the decision the buyer makes, e.g. to buy your product or service or your competitors’.  Therefore, it is critical to know what share of your category buyer base has which BrandEmbrace® scores for your product or service and your competitors.

Q8: How do I know what to do to move Passives to Promoters, does NPS® tell me, why are they Passives in the first place?  

NPS® itself won’t tell you, so you will have to assume that the same techniques that provide you with diagnostics in the past will differentiate between Passives and Promoters.  Using BrandEmbrace®, the score itself is divided into the contribution made to each motivational element and trigger, so it’s easy to know how to move a category buyer to a higher score for your product or service.

Q9: How high an NPS® score do I have to get to ensure that I am the preferred provider in my product or service category?

Just assume that if you are above the category NPS® average and close to the leader’s NPS, that you have a good chance of being preferred.   However, BrandEmbrace® is calculated specifically for your product or service and for your competitors because knowing this allows levels of loyalty, share and churn and their drivers to be understood and managed, i.e. how to reliably and efficiently create demand for your brand.

Q10: Can I use my NPS® to forecast my share or volume?

Just assume that the NPS® classification of Detractors, Passives and Promoters can be applied to each member of your customer base and make some assumptions about purchase cycle, average purchase likelihood and lifetime value for each.  Since BrandEmbrace® is validated and calibrated to purchase decisions, it is used as the “heart” of any share or volume forecasting system.

Contact us at here to know more about BrandEmbrace®.

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Tim Gohmann, Ph.D.