Building and maintaining a healthy brand is critical to organizational health. Strong brands command higher prices, boast reduced customer acquisition costs, and enjoy lower customer churn. But conditions in today’s market mean that brands must work harder to maintain their brand strength.
To build and maintain a successful and healthy brand, companies engage in ongoing brand tracking for key brand metrics.
However, while brand tracking is extremely valuable to protecting brand health, it is important that companies approach brand tracking with an understanding of key goals before collecting data.
Benefits of Brand Tracking
Regularly tracking your brands allows you to keep a pulse on overall brand health and identify and correct any issues before they can damage your business. By leveraging brand health data, over 90% of companies say they have improved customer satisfaction, leveraged their competitive advantage, and have grown their market share.
Effective brand tracking also enables companies to gauge the impact of product launches and events and measure the ROI of marketing initiatives. In fact, brand tracking enables 93% of companies to develop and track the success of new products.
With a pulse on brand health, companies can not only strengthen their brand but are able to leverage those insights to support business-wide goals. However, to ensure they are collecting and leveraging brand health tracking data effectively, they need to start with these five brand tracking best practices.
Brand Tracking Best Practices
1. Understand Your Business Goals
Before you move forward with brand tracking, you should first understand the key business goals that brand health can impact. These business-wide goals can help you determine where to focus your efforts and enable you to contextualize your findings.
For example, a top business priority for your organization may be strengthening your market impact. By strengthening your brand, your company will have a stronger reputation and stand out from your competitors. Other common business goals include promoting new products or services, increasing new or recurring sales, and enhancing your brand image.
2. Assign KPIs and Set SMART Goals
After establishing your goals, the next step is to identify KPIs (key performance indicators) and set SMART goals. SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound, making them particularly useful for measuring key points in an ongoing brand lifecycle.
Your brand health KPIs and smart goals should map to your organizational goals. For example, if your goal is to raise awareness among a specific age demographic, a key KPI could be social media reach. Using the SMART framework, your KPI could include these objectives:
- Specific: Increase posting frequency on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram from four times a day to eight times a day.
- Measurable: Secure a 10% increase in engagement via likes, shares, followers, etc.
- Attainable: 10% increase in engagement is feasible as traffic has been trending up due to the popularity of recent product releases.
- Relevant: This goal increases brand and product awareness.
- Time-Bound: Achieve this goal by the end of the quarter.
3. Identify Your Target Audience
Once you have identified your KPIs and smart goals, the next step is to identify which audiences to target for your brand tracking surveys. Some organizations choose to survey a general population sample to gauge overall brand awareness and trends. This gives them a baseline of their overall brand health.
Others want to measure specific trend points with a small customer segment. These segments could be anything from users of a particular product or members of a certain demographic. For example, if your organizational goal is to increase sales to a younger audience, you should narrow your audience to 18-25-year-old consumers.
4. Determine Key Questions to Ask
Just as important as targeting the right audience, organizations should also define the key questions they would like to ask consumers. The wording of survey questions is particularly important as a slight update in word or phrase could skew the results. For example, changing the question, “Do you prefer our product?” to “Do you intend to purchase our product?” will corrupt the survey findings — customers may prefer the product but not intend to purchase it or vice versa.
For example, If your organizational goal is to raise brand awareness, you will need to include questions on aided awareness (measuring brand recall) and unaided awareness (measuring brand recognition). A furniture store with this goal might ask an unaided question such as, “Which furniture stores are you familiar with?”. Then would ask an aided question that lists different furniture brands, asking, “Which of the following are you familiar with?”
5. Assess Your Competitor Pool.
Your brand does not exist in a vacuum—customers view your brand in the context of the market overall. Along with tracking KPIs for your organization, you should also track them in comparison to your key competitors.
Before you begin brand tracking, have a solid list of key competitors for the specific audience you are surveying to track trends for them as well. For example, an organization that sells medical devices to hospitals and wishes to improve its brand preference may monitor competitors in the biotechnology space to assess which of these brands are most preferred by hospital administrators. This evaluation gives the company insights into how they compare and an opportunity to adjust to make their products more appealing.
Start Tracking Your Brand
Now that you have laid the groundwork, it’s time to start tracking your brand. Learn the steps to brand tracking with the Brand Tracking 101 Toolkit. This guide breaks down the key metrics that determine brand health, the process for analyzing brand tracking results, and a strategy for ongoing tracking and improvement.