Measuring the strength of your brand
Branding is an ongoing effort that must be consistently monitored, evaluated and realigned
For those of you working on a new brand, how is the research phase going?
As I discussed in my last column (“Do your research before you brand,” July 27-Aug 9 NHBR), conducting market research prior to developing a new or updated brand is an invaluable practice.
Research is a critical component of brands that successfully resonate with target audiences, leading to top-of-mind awareness and brand loyalty that increases sales.
But it’s not enough to leave market research behind at the pre-branding stage. Brands that are measured throughout their marketing strategy executions are typically those that garner the most longevity and market share.
Market research is the key to quantifying brand efficacy. Implementing analytics and metrics in your overall brand strategy and on- and offline marketing campaigns will deliver insight into the relative strength of your brand in the marketplace – and will allow you to better control your brand’s performance in future campaigns.
Measurement in action
Before setting up your brand measurement tools, clarify your goals. For example, when you ascertain the general strength of your brand (name, logo, color, concept, etc.), you should outline the answers you want to obtain before the measurement process begins.
Typically, these include whether your target market recognizes your brand, remembers it, and if it is associated with a positive or negative connotation in their minds. This planning stage will lead you to ask the right questions in a customer or online survey, focus group, or social media poll.
It is good marketing practice to check in on the effectiveness of your brand via ongoing analytics – like customer and target market surveys, social media monitoring and Google Insights for Search – at various intervals.
This includes three to six months after a new brand has been launched, and then annually to set brand saturation benchmarks. If a brand has been affected positively or negatively by a market event or company action (think BP), it is prudent to measure brand efficacy at closer intervals.
Along with providing real-time feedback about your various online and offline marketing campaign and tactics, metrics and tracking mechanisms are useful for supplementing your brand analytics with additional brand data.
For instance, lead generation campaigns that combine direct mail with website and social media strategies may be tracked via website hits, specific landing page visits and conversions (for the Web page advertised on the direct mail piece), and social media engagement – such as likes, reposts, comments, and website URL shares, depending on your goals – for four to eight weeks post-mailing.
In addition to campaign results, these metrics will provide information about the power (or lack thereof) of your brand concept as promoted via direct mail and online marketing strategies.
There are a variety of online tools that measure website traffic and the account activity of your branded social media pages, including those offered by the actual social media companies themselves. These can be employed for specific campaigns, but the best practice is to use them regularly in order to track real-time activity and provide data for tweaking your online marketing strategies and managing your brand in general.
Branding is an ongoing effort that must be consistently monitored, evaluated and realigned, depending on the level of success of your marketing campaigns and strategies. By integrating surveys, online tracking mechanisms and campaign outcome reports, companies and organizations can leverage the power of data to inform their overall brand strategy.
Linda Fanaras is president and founder of Millennium Integrated Marketing, which has offices in Manchester and Boston. She can be reached at 877-873-7445 or firstname.lastname@example.org .