Brand tracking surveys provide insight into how customers view your brand and identify opportunities for improvement and growth.
Building and maintaining a healthy brand has never been more challenging. New competitors are entering the market at lightning speed, even as customer demographics and behaviors continue to frequently and rapidly shift. A 24/7 online culture means a brand’s reputation can ascend and sink within hours. And while it’s possible to improve a brand in this environment, it also takes consistent, ongoing brand tracking and performance measurement.
Ongoing brand evaluation and tracking — once considered more of a luxury — is now a vital tool for marketers to prove ROI and keep their finger on the pulse of a quickly changing market. The challenge for most organizations is understanding which key elements they should measure and how to track them in a way that provides reliable, measurable results.
First, however, let’s start with a primer on the basics of conducting brand tracking surveys and how to monitor and benchmark your brand’s health. In this post we will cover:
- Tools to track brand performance
- Key metrics for evaluating your brand health
- How to develop brand surveys
- What aspects of your brand and products should you track
- How frequently you should track brand performance
- How to leverage brand tracking results in your strategic planning
What is brand tracking?
Brand tracking — the process of continuously measuring the health of a brand over time — is essential for companies that want to stay ahead of the competition, meet their customer’s unique needs, and contextualize brand strengths and weaknesses to adjust brand strategy.
Brand tracking allows marketers to answer critical questions, such as:
- Who has heard of you?
- What do customers think about you?
- Who is buying your product?
- Who isn’t buying your product?
- Are you a preferred brand?
- Do consumers who engage with your brand have an intent to buy?
- Who are your brand advocates?
- How do you measure against your competitors?
What kind of tools can I use to track my brand?
Organizations can use a variety of tools for brand tracking, but the most comprehensive are brand tracking surveys. A survey offers unique strengths and benefits for capturing brand KPIs. Marketers can conveniently reach a wide audience, maintain low costs, and decrease respondent and administrator bias for more significant results. Other complementary methods include:
- Traditional and bulletin board focus groups
- Social listening
- Digital ethnographies
- Platform analytics
Develop an informative brand tracking strategy with our Brand Tracking 101 Toolkit.
What are the key questions to ask in a brand tracking survey?
When deploying a brand tracking survey, it’s vital to include questions that assess all aspects of brand health. Failure to holistically measure results in a partial view of brand health. Translate your brand tracking goals into survey questions that cover the six-core metrics of brand health:
- Awareness: Who has heard of us?
- Perception: What do buyers think of us?
- Prior usage: Who is and is not buying our product?
- Preference: Are we a preferred brand?
- Consideration: Do people who engage with our brand tend to purchase from us?
- Net Promoter Score®: Who are our brand advocates?
Should I use a custom or standardized survey?
While custom surveys can provide specific answers to organizations’ hardest-hitting questions, they do require investments of time and money, along with an experienced survey designer to get the questions right.
- Custom brand tracking surveys can be used when segmenting an audience to pull specific information on one group’s perception of your brand. For example, a custom survey for 18- to 24-year-olds can ask questions that uncover how younger buyers interact with your brand.
- A standardized survey is useful for conveniently reaching a wide and varying audience in order to gather multiple perspectives on your biggest brand health questions. However, generalized brand tracking surveys do not track elements specific to the niche of the brand and can miss valuable details.
Should I focus on a product brand or an overall brand?
Making the decision to focus on a product brand or your overall brand depends on the specific information you hope to gather.
- Product brand tracking can help identify where budget dollars or resources are most effectively being used to promote the offering, narrowing in on the product’s unique strengths and areas that need to improve.
- Overall brand tracking provides an opportunity to delve deeper into specific aspects of your organizational brand performance, such as awareness of the brand and customer insights on how the brand can be improved. It is also useful to study the overall brand after a rebrand or acquisition to study any changes in customer perception of the organization after the transition has occurred.
How do I get the right audience to take my surveys?
To determine the right participants to target for your brand tracking surveys, you need to identify:
- Customers who are currently using your brand or product
- Customers who have used your offering in the past but no longer do
- Potential customers who have never used the brand but potentially could
If there is specific information you want to gather, segment your audience accordingly. For example, if you want to evaluate the brand of a product you intend to market to Generation X users, consider limiting the survey to 35- to 50-year-olds. Once you have identified your audience, send an initial message to buyers asking for their participation, then send a follow-up reminder to encourage more feedback.
Let our survey experts help you collect all the insights you need to optimize your strategies.
How often should I collect new survey data?
Determining how often to deploy brand tracking surveys depends on what’s being measured and how customers use the brand or sentiment may change throughout the year.
- Monthly or quarterly tracking may be most effective for measuring the deployment of an advertising campaign or other timed event to assess the baseline before, during, and after the campaign. This frequent tracking measures the impact of the campaign’s effectiveness and can help identify adjustments that can improve the rest of the initiative.
- Annual or bi-annual tracking can measure changes in customer utilization or sentiment to determine whether product usage is steady across the year; if usage tends to spike at certain times of the year; or the product tends to be used seasonally, quarterly, or monthly.
How can we ensure our brand tracker provides actionable data?
Your brand tracking survey data can help determine:
- The specific strengths and weaknesses of your brand
- How specific initiatives or activities have influenced your brand health
- Determine which brand health metrics, like awareness and perception, performed the strongest and weakest compared to competitors
Once you have received your brand tracking survey results, work with your team to establish a plan for addressing weak spots in your brand health. Identify any specific metrics, such as awareness or perception, that you would like to improve, and determine what changes you will make. For example, your data may determine that buyers are aware that your brand exists but have no intent to buy any products, resulting in low consideration. This indicates that you need to focus on creating messaging that promotes your value proposition and the benefits of your offerings.
When creating this plan, ensure that everyone on the team is aware of their part in the process and set deadlines to determine when your team will next collect and evaluate the results.
How can I report the results to my executive team?
After discussing the tracking results with your team and determining your brand’s strengths and weaknesses, share your findings with your executive team. Inform them of your current brand health status and call out trouble spots to address. Be sure to also highlight areas of success for the brand to develop a shared understanding of what is working.
Come to the meeting with a plan developed by your team to improve brand health, and work with the executive team to incorporate meaningful ideas for future brand tracking surveys. If you propose running a campaign or initiative that will require financial backing, be sure to make a strong case for how it will tie back into ROI. For example, if your brand tracking surveys found that a social media campaign focused on awareness resulted in more users to your site and increased sales, suggest running a similar campaign to improve another lower-performing metric.