If you’re responsible for growing and managing a brand, tracking the impact that you and your team are making can be a challenge. There are many different ways to measure a brand – and opinion is often divided on the best techniques. But, as we’ll see in this blog post, brand measurement is becoming increasingly important for fast-growing brands.
How to do brand tracking in-house
If you’ve been relying on a research agency for your brand tracking, we’ll explain how you can be empowered to do it yourself – and what you can do when you have brand health data on-demand.
Brand measurement is the process of identifying a set of metrics to represent the performance of your brand building activities. As well as deciding what you want to measure, you also need to define how you’re going to take the measurements and agree on a timeline for doing so. The brand metrics you collect can be tracked and analysed, with the insights they provide used to adjust your marketing strategy. They can also be used to put a number on brand equity, helping to prove the value of your brand to internal and external stakeholders.
These metrics are indicators of how much people know about your brand and how they feel about it – and taken at regular intervals, they show you how that’s changing over time in response to your marketing efforts.
Brand measurement can include a raft of different tools and sources, from social media listening, website traffic data and search data to consumer data collected by surveys or focus groups. Each time a study is performed, the data should be collated in one place, ideally added to a brand measurement dashboard (e.g. Google Data Studio) where they can be analysed, tracked over time, and shared across the business.
Why is brand measurement important?
Peter Drucker famously said, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.” What he meant is that if you don’t have anything to benchmark against, you can’t understand the effectiveness of your marketing activity.
Numbers, while not always reflecting the nuances of your marketing department, provide an at-a-glance overview of brand performance and allow any problems to be quickly identified. Brand measurement also tells you how your brand is performing in comparison with competitors and, ultimately, underlines your company value.
It’s been shown time and time again that your visibility in the market directly correlates to your share of the market. In fact, brand equity can influence everything from your sales performance and retail opportunities, through to your ability to attract talent, so it’s incredibly important you keep tabs on it – and make continued efforts to increase it. Read on to find out how…
How to measure a brand in 4 steps
Before you get started implementing your brand measurement programme, make sure to include all the relevant parties within your company. This extends beyond marketers, to senior managers and c-suite execs who can provide input on overall business strategy. It’s helpful to get buy-in to brand measurement across the board so that everyone has a vested interest in helping the metrics move in the right direction. After all, this is not a one-time exercise, but a new way of life.
Step 1 – Define your goals
The first step in any brand measurement programme is knowing what you want to achieve. You have to identify your goals so you know what it is you need to measure – and the type of focused marketing strategies you need to put in place to push the metrics up. For example, if you want to grow awareness of your brand, you first need to find out your existing level of brand awareness among your target audience. You can do this by asking the right brand awareness questions.
If you want to influence how people think about your brand, you’ll need to understand the traits they already associate with it. And if you aim to grow brand advocacy, you have to find out how your brand currently fares against the competition for word of mouth recommendations.
Other goals you have for your brand might include:
Grow brand salience or share of mind (i.e. how likely your brand is to come to mind when consumers think about your category)
Grow market share or expand customer base
Improve consideration for your brand (purchase intent)
Improve customer loyalty/reduce churn
Increase the number of people choosing your brand over competitors (brand preference)
While you might want to do all these things – and there’s no harm in taking measurements to see how you’re performing – it will require focused efforts to make an impact on any of them. Therefore, it makes sense to choose one or two goals to really prioritise through your brand measurement work.
Step 2- Create a brand measurement methodology
Creating a brand measurement methodology involves working out the relevant KPIs that will support your goals and how you’ll obtain the data. Let’s say that your main goal is to increase brand awareness, what options are there to measure brand awareness?
Number of branded searches (i.e. how many people are typing your brand name into search engines and how that compares to competitors)
Share of voice (i.e. the number of conversations around your brand online)
Volume of impressions (i.e. how many times your ads were shown in search results)
Number of social media followers
Number of email sign-ups or content downloads
Number of existing customers or users
Unprompted brand recall (i.e. percentage of people who name your brand when asked about your category)
Prompted brand awareness or logo recognition (i.e. percentage of people who recognise your brand name or logo when it’s shown to them)
There are tonnes of brand awareness metrics to choose from but they don’t all offer the same value. Those that are deemed ‘vanity metrics’, must be considered alongside other more robust measurements rather than in isolation. For example, just because your ad was shown to hundreds of people, it doesn’t mean they paid any attention to it or could recall your brand name afterwards. Select a good mix of metrics that will give you the best possible overview of your brand’s standing.
Now it’s time to establish where the data will come from. This might be very simple for some metrics, for example, if you can see the numbers in your existing Google Analytics or Salesforce setup. For others, you’ll need to use specialist tools or conduct interviews with actual consumers.
Where feedback from consumers is needed, the most straightforward way to get it is through a DIY survey platform. With a platform such as Attest, you can instantly access more than a million consumers in 49 different markets. The easy-to-use platform makes it intuitive to construct your survey using a range of question types, and you can use demographic filters in order to reach your target audience (try out the interactive results below). You can get started quickly with a brand tracker survey template already populated with key questions for measuring brand strength.
To complete your brand measurement methodology you must decide on the cadence of your research, in other words, how frequently you will run it. This will depend on the pace of change in your business and your industry, but yearly/half-yearly is usually the minimum needed to make it worthwhile. Brands that are running frequent marketing campaigns and want to understand how each campaign moves the needle will often run their brand measurement programme quarterly, or even monthly
Start measuring your brand for free
Try Attest and see how simple it is get insightful brand awareness metrics for your business.
Now you know what measurements you want to take, and how you’re going to take them, it’s time to do it! Consider the timing of your first ‘dip’ – if you’re about to launch some activity designed to have an impact on your goals (i.e. increase brand awareness), it’s a good idea to take an initial set of measurements beforehand to give you something to benchmark against.
On the other hand, if you have recently run a campaign and hope to see the results of it in your figures, be sure to leave enough time for those results to come through. For example, if the number of online brand mentions is a metric you want to track, you might want to look at a 30-day period.
In terms of consumer surveys, you can usually get data back pretty quickly; within a couple of days providing your target audience isn’t too niche. When your survey is complete, you can export the data to feed it into your brand measurement dashboard alongside your other brand metrics.
But you can also make use of Attest’s in-platform analytics. A machine-learning automated insights report includes sentiment analysis, topic analysis and brand analysis (for open text questions), as well as driver analysis, which reveals the aspects of your brand, products or services that influence your consumers’ awareness or likelihood to buy. In addition to this, the Results Breakdown feature means you can easily compare responses across demographics or view relationships between two questions.
Step 4 – Analyse insights and adjust your marketing and brand strategy
Now you have all your data in, what does it tell you? How are you performing currently in relation to your goals? What are your strengths and weaknesses? And what does all this mean for your marketing strategy? For example, maybe you find that your brand has low unprompted recall but relatively high recognition when people are shown your brand name. If that’s the case, you might conclude that you don’t need to advertise more often, you just need your campaigns to be more memorable. Creating a catchy jingle or slogan, or introducing a brand mascot might be all it takes to make your brand more ‘sticky’ in consumers’ minds.
One of the main reasons for carrying out brand measurement is so that you can effect changes that improve your brand performance. It not only shows you where you need to make improvements, but it also provides you with numbers that you can use to create targets and track your progress. Sit down with your team and identify realistic increases to aim for according to the cadence of your brand measurement programme. For example, perhaps you want to achieve a 1 point increase in your Net Promoter Score in the next quarter and an 8 point uplift for the year?
Once you’re clear on what you want to achieve, you can start to put in place an action plan to hit those figures. You’ll be able to report back to the board every time you take measurements, helping you to gain support (and budget) for your brand-building activities.
Get everyone on board to build stronger brands
When everyone can see the tangible difference brand-building activities are making – and link brand awareness growth to increased value for their shares – that’s when brands start to become truly powerful.
You can start measuring brand metrics today, and it doesn’t have to be a big, costly project. While not everyone agrees on the best metrics to track, choose the ones within your reach, things you can monitor with the resources available to you. If you would like to know more about obtaining brand metrics via consumer surveys, Attest can help. Why not chat with one of our experts? Or get started right away with a free brand awareness survey.
The Experts’ Guide to Brand Tracking
How to look at the impact of things like audience reach, panel diversity, and survey design to help you decide whether your current brand tracker is up to scratch.
Sam joined Attest in 2019 and leads the Customer Research Team. Sam and her team support brands through their market research journey, helping them carry out effective research and uncover insights to unlock new areas for growth.