What you need to know before you create your brand tracker

We totally get it—you’re itching to get your brand tracker up and running so that you can start to see what people really think about your brand.

But hold your horses. There are a few things that it’s helpful to nail down before you start writing your surveys. 

Brand tracking fails

Know your target consumer segments

While brand trackers come in all shapes and sizes, you’ll likely want to target yours at specific types of people. These will probably be people who have similar profiles to your current customers, or it might be a group you hope will become your customers. 

It also makes sense to run your brand tracking to people who aren’t necessarily your actual target customers—what people think about your brand matters, whether they’re paying customers or not. 

To make sure you know who to send your brand tracking research to, you should know which consumer segments matter to you

Pro tip 💡

“Many brands find they need to run consumer profiling research before their brand tracking—this allows you to fully understand who you should be asking about your brand.”
Alexandra Aquino
Customer Research Principal

By doing this you’ll identify those key consumer segments and profiles that you’ll want to target for your brand tracking (and for other types of research too!).

Articulate your goals

It can be easy to think you need to get your research live ASAP, then work on your goals afterwards because surely the data will just slot right in, right?

Wrong!

Before you start creating your research, you need to know why you’re running research in the first place. What are you trying to achieve as a business? What brand tracking metrics matter to help you achieve this? 

Ask yourself these questions and draw up a plan for how your brand tracking project will inform and tie into your organization’s overall goals.

How Oddbox saved £200k on national expansion by tracking their brand

Read case study

Plan with key reporting dates in mind

The most useful brand trackers run in waves, usually every 3 or 6 months. This setup gives you an up-to-date picture of your brand’s position and helps you identify downward trends you might need to address (or upward trends you can capitalize on!). 

When planning your brand tracking project, find out what dates are key to your organization and which people need to see the insights. Then plan your research waves around those. 

Your key dates might be around things like a new marketing campaign, a product launch, a board meeting or a fundraising round. Make sure you know who might need the latest brand tracking data and make sure you can provide them with the most up-to-date insights in good time.

Pro tip 💡

“Don’t forget about seasonality! People’s perceptions change based on external factors too, so always bear this in mind when planning your brand tracking project.”
Nick White
Senior Customer Research Manager

For example, if you sell snacks that are particularly popular over the Christmas season, it’s highly likely that people will be more attracted to your brand over this period compared to summer. Seasonality is fine, as long as your business plans around those peaks and valleys in demand.

Bring existing hypotheses and data

Although this might be your business’s first foray into proper brand tracking, there’ll probably be some old data lying around that previous projects relied upon. 

Make sure you know what data already exists in your organization. The fresh data you gather through your upcoming brand tracking might be different and (hopefully) better, but even old data gives you useful context. 

This can help you understand your recent and current position in the market. And it can help you draw up new hypotheses about what your new brand tracking will reveal. 

Coming up with some hypotheses about your brand’s position will help you when you come to craft your new research. 

Pro tip 💡

“It doesn’t matter at all if your hypotheses turn out to be wrong. What matters is that, either way, you’ll be more well-informed about your brand’s position than you were before.” 
Nikos Nikolaidis
Customer Research Manager

Define the scope of your brand tracking

There’s an almost infinite amount of research you can do into what consumers think about your brand. 

To make sure you don’t go down a research rabbit hole, it’s super important to define the scope of your brand tracking research. 

This will involve asking yourself questions like:

  • Which markets are important to the business?
  • What attributes do we want the brand to be known for?
  • How often do we need fresh brand tracking data?
  • Which competitors do I want to track?

Pro tip 💡

“You can (and should!) run brand tracking research into your competitors!” 
Elliot Barnard
Customer Research Principal

Running brand tracking to find out what people think about your products and services only gives you half of the story. Your brand’s insights might imply that people love what you do and that’s great news! 

But what if people love what your competitor is doing even more, and buy with them instead?? You won’t know this unless you run competitor brand tracking too.

How The Vegan Society used brand tracking to grow trademark registrations by 9,000

Read case study

Ready to get writing your brand tracking survey? Take a look at our brand tracking question bank and our 20 essential questions brand managers should as their customers.