Will Social Listening Supplant Brand Health Tracking?
Marketers have long relied on brand health trackers to take the consumer pulse of their brand– to measure brand awareness, consideration and purchase intent. But with so many customers’ opinions now readily available through social chatter, are these entrenched and expensive budget line items still necessary?
Not so fast. Today’s brand measurement world is more complex than ever. Consumer behavior is changing rapidly and marketers have gone from data famine to feast. Today’s Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) needs trusted advisors to help her turn mountains of data into actionable insights. Forrester has identified three core disciplines of brand measurement to help marketing leaders navigate this complex landscape. These three disciplines are:
- Brand equity reveals what people feel about your brand. Evaluating brand equity helps CMOs understand how consumers perceive a brand, without consideration for brand usage. What does the brand stand for in the eyes of a consumer?
- Brand health quantifies the strength of a brand in the marketplace. Measuring brand health helps CMOs understand the relationship between how consumers perceive a brand and how that manifests itself in the marketplace relative to competition.
- Brand value quantifies a brand as a financial asset. Quantifying brand value helps chief financial officers (CFOs) understand the financial value of a brand to a corporation. It is most commonly used for financial reporting to define goodwill, the value of an acquisition, or the appropriate price for licensing.
Serving this landscape is a plethora of vendors, polarized between strategic advisors and data providers. In this landscape:
- Social Listening serves as a complement, not a replacement to brand health measurement. Social listening opens up a whole new window into consumers’ attitudes and actions. Vendors like Crimson Hexagon, Visible Technologies and Networked Insights help marketers listen to real time conversation about their brand. But social listening is better suited to understanding your customer’s recent experience – a bad flight, a cool movie, lackluster service – than deep rooted brand perceptions. Or to mine for real time data insights – like Samsung did for the rapid development of its successful Apple fan boy mocking TV spots.
- Established brand health vendors will merge methodologies to continue their lead. The brand establishment vendors – like Millward Brown, Interbrand, Ipsos and BAV Consulting – are deeply entrenched with their time-honored models. But they are looking forward, not stuck in the past. Most incorporate social insights into their research, a few experiment with the nascent field of Neuroscience while others test new methodologies -like 5 minute mobile surveys-more attuned to the behaviors of perpetually connected consumers.
To learn more about the future of the brand health measurement landscape, check out my new report “Brand Health Measurement Is Ripe For Digital Disruption.” And tell me, what’s your biggest brand measurement challenge?