When you’re not feeling well, you head to the doctor. Why should this be different when it comes to your branding? Time to call in a brand tracking doctor!
As a brand manager, you need a strategy for defining and monitoring your brand health. However, this can be hard to do when you consider how many elements make up brand health: from reputation and brand awareness to brand characteristics and audience perception.
However, there is one thing that can help you cover them all: brand tracking.
When you brand track, you monitor all of those factors we listed above and more. You see in real-time just how well your brand stacks up against the competition and what your target audience thinks of you.
From there, you’ll not only have an answer to how your brand health currently is, you will have the data you need to make smarter decisions about your marketing.
That being said, you can’t simply slap together a few survey questions, click publish, and call it a day. You need the right brand tracking strategy if you want results that are both accurate and actionable. Here are the 5 most important brand tracking practices you need to know if you want to finally determine your brand’s health.
1. Choose the Right Brand Tracking Tool
You don’t have to track your brand health alone. And if you want accurate data, you shouldn’t.
However, before you start Googling brand trackers, you need to know a few things. There are so many brand tracking platforms on the market today, but they’re not all created equally. While there’s no such thing as one-size-fits-all in brand tracking, there are a few things to look for in the right tool.
Access to data
First, you need to make sure you have access to data that’s easy and works for your entire team. Too many brand trackers will simply give you a PDF or complicated spreadsheet and call it a day. This doesn’t cut it anymore, and this data likely won’t take you very far.
You need data that’s relevant to your KPIs, targeted to your audience, and easy to understand. Say goodbye to complicated spreadsheets. Instead, look for easy-to-understand dashboards.
Detects real-world changes
The world of marketing moves fast. Because of this, you need a brand tracker that can detect those small real-world changes that happen constantly. Luckily, there are brand trackers today that respond quickly to change, and they’re able to detect even small differences for the most niche audiences.
Unfortunately, a lot of brand trackers are living in the past. They use outdated methods that don’t provide accurate results. It’s not enough to have a margin of error that’s over 10%. With that type of data, it’s hard to take real action. Instead, look for a brand tracker that relies on proven research and technology.
Easy to segment
Segmentation is king in brand tracking. Since you’re trying to gain as much insight into your specific audience as possible, you want to be able to drill down into the most niche of audiences - and still be able to get accurate data.
There’s a big difference between tracking your brand’s perception amongst tech-savvy millennials and tracking perception amongst tech-savvy recent grads who live in a large metro area. These are where you find the stats that truly matter.
A brand tracker like Latana, for instance offers all of these options in a very elegant and precise way. You can track your brand smarter, not harder, with an intuitive dashboard, extremely low margins of error, and metrics that fit your unique goals. Personalize your business strategy with highly actionable insights about the audience that’s very likely already looking for you.
2. Keep Your Survey Simple
Less really is more, especially with surveys. It’s tempting to build an over-the-top survey, but this can actually distract from your goals. Consider your long-term needs. Asking a one-off question likely just won’t help you keep your data consistent.
Too much data can lead to the dreaded paralysis by analysis that comes along with having too much data. While having too much data might seem impossible, it’s a serious blockage in your marketing funnel.
Overloading your marketing team with information that doesn’t really get you from Point A to Point B only detracts from your goals.
In addition, too many questions will harm the accuracy of your data. Not only is this frustrating to survey takers, but it leads to a decrease in survey data quality. You want to make it as easy as possible for respondents to answer every question accurately.
Below is an example of a survey on Youtube. The question simply asks which brands users consider positively. By comparing 4 competitor phone service providers with one question, brands learn how they compare to others in the market as well as their perception amongst certain demographics. It’s effective because it’s simple.
3. Track Your Competitors
Your brand doesn’t exist inside a vacuum, so make sure you track your competitors as well. Nothing will come from tracking your brand awareness as if you’re in a bubble of your own. How do you know how your brand is performing if you don’t also compare your progress to your biggest competitors?
Once you know how your competitors stack up, you can compare their performance to your brand’s performance. Is their marketing responding better to your target audience? How are they standing out? More importantly, what can you learn from this?
Using the phone provider example above, the survey helps brands compare their perception amongst their audience to rival companies. It’s not enough to simply ask whether or not a user has a positive perception of your brand. You also want to know how that compares to similar companies.
4. Check Your Results Frequently
Brand tracking isn’t a one-and-done practice. Like most marketing strategies, it takes ongoing care and effort to see real results. You need to check your brand tracking results often.
Successful brand managers make brand tracking a regular part of their routine. Whether that means daily, monthly, quarterly, or yearly will depend on their specific goals. Quarterly to every 6 months is recommended since data can change quickly.
What your audience looked like a month ago isn’t likely to be the same a month from now. That’s why ongoing monitoring is a must.
Let’s look at a real-world example to see why brand tracking is an ongoing process. Headspace is one of the leading meditation and mindfulness apps, and they use a brand tracker with every new launch in a new market.
They started by running brand tracking campaigns in Germany, France, and Spain in Q1 and Q2 of 2019. From there, they could see how their audience was responding in countries where they had the most marketing activity.
Now, they’re committed to using a brand tracker not only every time they enter a new market but also to regularly track their ongoing campaigns in existing markets.
Thanks to their ongoing brand tracking, they’ve refined their ads to suit their target audience. Headspace ads are recognizable across devices for their soothing videos encouraging users to take a moment for themselves. They truly understand the needs of their audience, and this is due, in part, to them tracking their results regularly.
5. Use Your Data
Finally, make sure you’re putting your data to work. It’s not enough to let your data be forgotten in a drawer somewhere.
Your brand tracking data is valuable.
Knowing exactly what your audience thinks of your brand is a golden ticket you can use to create stronger marketing campaigns. So how do you use and interpret brand tracking metrics?
The first step is to define for yourself what an appropriate and desirable level of brand awareness is. For some competitive brands, 30% might be a solid result. For others, that might indicate there needs to be a shift in marketing strategy. No two metrics will be the same, so you’ll need to decide for yourself how your brand tracking will fit into your ongoing efforts.
Here are some questions to guide your analysis:
- Does the data match your goals?
- What do you want your scores to look like for your next round of brand tracking?
- How will this affect your current strategy?
- How will this affect your current target market?
Brand tracking is an endless cycle. You’ll quickly realize once you start that you don’t want to stop — and you shouldn’t.
Launch Your First Brand Tracking Campaign
Brand tracking is a powerful tool for any company, but it needs to be executed with care. You need a clear target market segment, straightforward metrics, and some kind of existing brand positioning. From there, a new world of possibilities opens to you.
Not only can you learn more about your competitor's strategy, but you get an inside glimpse into the mind of your target audience. How are they respond to your current campaigns? What changes do you need to make?
By using these best practices above, you’ll always end up with results you can trust. From there, you can review your data to bring action to your marketing team. As a brand manager, brand tracking is one of the most powerful tools you have — use it wisely.
Author: Joy Corkery
Joy Corkery is a content marketing lead at Latana with over 7 years of marketing experience, helping brands grow by sharing tech and marketing insights. Aside from being a skilled writer, Joy is also a vivid book lover.