- Brand measurement is a key step toward increasing your brand’s effectiveness
- Six steps can prepare you to implement brand measurement in the year ahead
- Understanding your brand’s weaknesses is crucial to building brand muscle efficiently
Like getting in shape or losing weight, brand measurement is one of those things that’s easy to put off – it’s hard and it requires a long-term commitment. However, the benefits are worth it, and you’ll be rewarded with a better understanding of how your brand is (or isn’t) working, which can put you on the path to better brand health. If you put in some effort now and make a plan, you can be ready to hit the ground running in 2019. No more excuses!
When you start a fitness program, you need to assess where you are. It’s easy to focus on the one thing that drives you crazy – whether that’s an expanding waistline or the number on the scale – but it’s much better to look at multiple aspects of your health. For brand health, you’ll need to look at the three areas outlined in the SiriusDecisions Brand Measurement Framework:
- Brand awareness. This is measured by reach (the size of the audience that knows your brand) and share of voice (how your awareness compares to that of competitors).
- Brand perception. This is measured through sentiment (feelings toward the brand) and association (accuracy of the audience’s understanding).
- Brand preference. This is measured through engagement (actions that show the audience’s willingness to interact), loyalty (an audience member’s likelihood to remain a customer) and advocacy (the likelihood that they’ll say nice things about you).
Now that you have a structured approach in place and you know what you need to measure, you can get started. A great way to kick this process off is with a brand survey. (I know what you’re thinking: Brand surveys are expensive and time consuming, and we’re not ready for that! Relax. And then go to this webinar or check out the on-demand replay later: “Brand Surveys Without Tears.” Boom. Accomplished.)
In addition to conducting a brand survey, you’ll also want to find ways to track your progress over time. The good news is, brand metrics are all around you, but you may not have recognized them. Some companies need to make modest investments in systems to capture these metrics, but for most, they are already there for the taking.
Take these six steps to get off on the right foot toward effective brand measurement:
- Tune up your equipment. A good home gym only needs a few simple items. Likewise, you’ll need only a few tools to measure your brand, and most companies already have many of these. A web analytics package can be used to track visitors to your web site over time – a great clue to brand awareness. Monitoring tools (e.g. TrendKite, Hootsuite, Cision, Meltwater) allow you to understand sentiment and association. Other brand metrics may be lurking in your sales force automation platform, marketing automation system, social media network and advocacy platform.
- Take a “before” picture. I know, the situation may not be pretty today, but you need to document where you are now to earn bragging rights in the future. Take baseline measurements in alignment with brand performance indicators (reach, share of voice, sentiment, association, engagement, loyalty, advocacy). Having multiple metrics aligned to each key performance indicator is a good idea; it means you’re not relying too heavily on any one metric. We recommend combining these into a series of indexes that you can track over time.
- Schedule weigh-ins. Tracking on a regular schedule is important. Most companies set a monthly cadence to collect brand metrics. Make sure you are consistent in collection timing and methods, as variations can create a misleading picture. If you are tracking across multiple regions, make sure everyone knows what’s expected. Also make sure agencies are up to speed.
- Set goals. Where would you like to be in a year? What area of your brand needs the most work? Create a measurable goal (“increase brand awareness by 10 percent with audience X”) and plan a series of activities to tackle that need. Targeting a specific area – in the gym or in brand measurement – allows you to make progress on trouble spots quickly. Also, tracking the activities in connection with the results allows you to see what is having the greatest impact.
- Create a support network. Brand measurement is a long-term project that requires organizational support. Some systems that house brand metrics are operated by other departments, so build relationships with your colleagues in marketing operations, the digital team, the demand team and sales operations. Make sure they understand how this will benefit them. As time goes by, share results and look for deeper correlations. As brand health increases, improvements may appear in other areas.
- Last but not least, get a coach. You’ll have questions and you’ll run into challenges you don’t know how to solve. That’s where SiriusDecisions’ Brand and Communications Strategies service comes in. We have worked with dozens of companies to stand up brand measurement programs. Talk to your SiriusDecisions sales rep or contact us for more information.