Editor's note: Charles Young is founder and CEO of research firm Ameritest. Eldaa Daly is the firm’s research director. Russ Turpin is associate research director.

At the dawn of the internet age, when IBM was spending $500 million a year on global advertising to prepare the way for e-commerce, it fired its 40 advertising agencies and consolidated all of its creative work in one agency, Ogilvy. The reason? So IBM would speak with “one voice” around the world. The result was the famous “Blue Letterbox” campaign.

It was a dramatic commitment to the idea of integrated market communications.

What IBM recognized, and many good marketers know, is that when ads work in concert they can leverage existing brand awareness and perceptions and yield increased value. This is why marketers invest in creating a common look and feel across advertising and communication, with standardized fonts, color palettes, logos, trade characters, celebrity spokespersons and other recurring executional elements. The resulting synergies have the potential for long-lasting returns for the advertising investment.

However, in today’s era of multichannel advertising and microtargeting, it can be more challenging than ever for a brand to effectively communicate a unified, integrated strategy. With a confusing array of media options available, marketers need a more complete approach to understanding the effectiveness of multifaceted advertising. And yet most creative pre-testing is done at the level of individual ads. The question for ad researchers, therefore, is how do we understand and measure, particularly in advance, how multiple ads work together to build a brand?

The answer lies in looking where it all comes together, inside the head of the consumer.

Brand fit is a branding measure frequently used in pre-testing and tracking. It’s a simple rating that has been highly validated to in-market sales results. But w...