Brands health studies are a great way to measure and track the performance of your brand. These studies provide several benefits: a snapshot of current brand performance vs. competitors; the impact of a specific marketing campaign; and most importantly, a barometer of long-term brand performance trends. Brand health studies typically measure KPIs among both prospects and customers, including aided and unaided brand awareness, advertising recall, brand consideration, satisfaction, loyalty, and advocacy.
A well-designed Brands Health study can be an invaluable resource. However, it can become stale if results remain flat quarter over quarter, which sometimes leads to disinterest and underutilization among your brand team.
Each aspect of brands health is important in its own way. Looking at the topic as a whole gives you the bigger picture to make it clear where your strengths and weaknesses are. For example, your brand awareness might be great, but if you don’t know whether it’s positive or negative awareness, you’re missing half the picture.
If you consider all the factors together you can work out if your brand is unhealthy, fine, or thriving (or whatever scale you want to use). From there you can take specific actions.
If it’s unhealthy, your brand is actively damaging your organisation. Using the metrics you’re tracking you’ll be able to see why this happening and how to stop it. When it’s thriving, you can find out how to keep this going. And when it’s fine you can look for improvements.
Essentially it’s about getting a full understanding of your brand and how you can use it to your benefit.
Five Ways to Track Your Brands Health
Include questions that measure emotions.
Ace Research put forth the reasons to outshine in the market when it comes to brand health factor. Most brand trackers awareness, consideration, satisfaction, and so on. Adding questions that measure emotional or latent associations with the brand can be a valuable addition. This can be accomplished in a variety of ways:
Ask an open-ended question about which words or emotions best describe your brand and key competitors.
Ask respondents to rate how your brand (and competitor brands) make them feel, using a sliding scale between two opposing emotions – i.e. valued vs. disrespected, secure vs. vulnerable, etc.). These questions can be particularly valuable if your brand campaign relies on an emotional hook – allowing you to measure customer associations with emotions elicited by the campaign.
If you are open to a longer survey, consider including an Implicit Association Test (IAT) battery of questions. IAT is a technique that measures attitudes and beliefs that respondents are unable to report and enables you to compare implicit associations to key attributes among competitive brands.
Include a rotating module of “Hot Topic” questions.
Adding a rotating set of new questions every field period is an effective way to add fresh insights while not impacting the ability to trend existing questions. Rotating topic areas should focus on specific brand initiatives taking place that quarter – i.e. recall of a new spokesperson, interest in a new offering, or experience with a new marketing channel. Consulting with your internal brand stakeholders on which topics they are most eager to learn about will dramatically increase their engagement. Add these questions to the end of your survey to avoid biasing the core trended questions.
Integrate tracker study results with other brand data.
Too often, brand health trackers are presented without sufficient context, raising questions about survey results and how they compare with other brand performance data. Why did awareness go up in this region? What accounts for that competitor’s sudden improvement in brand consideration? The list goes on. By contextualizing tracker results with other important brand data – including advertising spend, sales, customer service data, social listening, competitive intelligence and other custom research studies – you can provide stakeholders with a more holistic view of brand performance. Ideally, integrate these sources into an executive-level scorecard or dashboard.
Measure ongoing advertising campaigns.
In addition to measuring long-term brand health metrics, your tracker can also be used to measure recall and perceptions of in-market ad campaigns. Adding a few questions on current campaigns (at the end of the survey) will keep your stakeholders better engaged. Consider showing visuals, taglines, or even videos from an ongoing campaign to understand what is working (or not working) among your target audience. If you have any additional “space” in your survey, you can even test a few key copy elements for future campaigns. While you need to be careful not to make your tracker a “kitchen sink”, integrating a few simple questions like these can save budget and avoid the need for a separate study.
Include a video or qualitative follow-ups.
A good tracker should raise questions from your team. Some will require follow up to answer. Consider interviewing specific tracker respondents as a survey follow-up to dive deeper into issues that need more clarity. Or, if you are just looking to provide some additional depth, offer a subset of respondents the option to provide video responses to open-ended questions.
Now that you have some ideas for how to keep your brand health tracker fresh, it’s time to consider implementation.