Experience, associations, share of voice, NPS, Customer Lifetime Value… is your head spinning yet?
We don’t blame you if it is — we did just throw a lot of (seemingly) random words and acronyms at you. But, as you’ve probably already guessed, they aren’t exactly random.
These are just some of the brand KPIs all mid-sized companies need to be tracking.
Establishing your key performance indicators (KPIs) is incredibly important for businesses of all sizes, but it’s especially vital for mid-sized companies who are looking to grow and expand.
By identifying and tracking the KPIs that make sense for your business, product, and marketing strategy, you’ll be able to better understand and analyze your brand performance and quantify brand campaign success.
This article will walk you through some of the most important brand KPIs — both old and new — and explain why KPI customization will be what takes your brand to the next level.
So, without further ado, let’s get into it!
What is a Brand KPI?
KPIs, or key performance indicators, are measurable values that indicate how effectively a company is achieving its goals and business objectives.
Not to be confused with everyday business metrics, KPIs need to be defined according to your most important company objectives. For a Performance Marketing Manager, important KPIs might be the cost per conversion of paid ads or the average time on page of website visitors.
Brand KPIs are somewhat similar to regular marketing KPIs, just with more focus on measuring brand health — both qualitatively and quantitatively.
Let’s Quickly Revisit Some Classic Brand KPIs
If you’ve made it to the “mid-sized businesses” range of success, we’re assuming that you already track the brand KPIs’ “greatest hits”: brand awareness, consideration, preference, and usage.
Brand awareness is the level of consciousness that consumers have for a company — essentially, how well consumers can recognize your brand. Some take brand awareness a bit further and track additional aspects, such as top-of-mind awareness, brand recognition, or advertising recall.
Brand consideration has to do with how likely a consumer is to consider buying from your brand — basically knowing the percentage of potential customers who see your brand as an option to consider purchasing from.
Similar to brand consideration, brand preference is related to intent. However, it goes a step further and asks the question: “How likely are you to prefer this brand over the competition?”
As the final stage in the classic brand funnel, brand usage is the percentage of people who report using your brand within a given audience. Knowing the percentage of consumers who have used your brand in the past can serve as a strong indicator of who will purchase from you again — that is if you provide a high-quality product.
These classic brand KPIs shouldn’t be new to you — they’re what helped get your company off the ground and grow into a respectable, mid-sized business.
However, to scale up and evolve, mid-sized company brand managers should consider tracking some of the following, less-known brand KPIs and diving head-first into KPI customization.
Let’s Talk About Some Not-So-Classic Brand KPIs
Of course, it’s important to track the oldies-but-goodies we touched on in the previous section. Without tracking these fab four, the upcoming KPIs won’t make much sense.
But what are these exciting new KPIs we’re referring to? Let’s take a look.
1. Brand Associations
Though it may sound a bit “new-age” to ask consumers about the thoughts and feelings they have concerning your brand, brand associations provide invaluable information.
However, if you want to take it a step further, there are two main kinds of brand associations that you can track: functional and emotional.
Functional associations are those that have to do with the more your physical product or service. For example, you can ask consumers if they think your product is easy-to-use or provides good value for money.
On the other hand, emotional associations have more to do with the consumers’ feelings or sentiments about your product or service. Does it make them happy, frustrated, content?
Knowing what kind of associations consumers have about your brand allows brand managers to see how successful their campaigns have been in communicating the company’s values and promises.
Most importantly, there isn’t really a limit to the types of brand associations you can track — they’re very customizable. While you can ask consumers simple questions about whether they “like” your brand, you can also be highly specific, which a question such as:
“Does brand X provide a positive community for women?”
When it comes to scaling up, customization plays a key role in acquiring the nuanced data you need to succeed. The larger your customer pool becomes, the more vital it is to gather specific information.
Check out Rebuy, a brand that focused on tracking brand associations.
2. Brand Experience
This KPI measures how much consumers like (or dislike) your brand, as well as how likely they’d be to recommend your brand to family or friends.
While it may not seem fun to gather feedback on why consumers don’t like your brand, as a brand manager you can use this information to help refine your brand messaging and communication.
Many brand managers will work with their company’s customer service team to gather a weekly or monthly Net Promoter Score (NPS). This is a survey sent out to your customers that asks them to rate your company between -100 and +100.
When gathering data about customers’ brand experience, the NPS allows you to compare your promoters to your detractors to get a better feel for your overall brand experience.
However, many NPS surveys also allow you to add in customized questions. While a scaled rating can be great for charting overall customer satisfaction, the ability to ask questions specific to your product or service provides invaluable insight.
For example, say you’re the brand manager at a food delivery company. It’s nice to know if customers are satisfied with your service as a whole, but it’s even better to be able to ask customized questions like:
“Was your food packaged in a high-quality and visually pleasing manner?”
“Did our delivery person greet you warmly and politely?”
And don’t forget to add a question asking if there are any additional comments or suggestions. You never know when a customer might be able to provide a million-dollar idea.
3. Brand Purchase Behavior
Though not as snappy a name as the other brand KPIs, brand purchase behavior covers a few different brand KPIs — namely recency, frequency, value, and retention.
These KPIs help brand managers better understand customer purchase intent — essentially how they are interacting with their business, where they drop off in the conversion funnel, or how often they come back.
As the name suggests, recency measures how recently a customer has purchased from your brand.
This KPI can be a helpful qualifier, as you sometimes need to weed out respondents who haven’t purchased from your brand in a while. Maybe your company underwent a rebrand and only wants to assess the behavior of those who have purchased afterward?
Within a given time period, frequency measures the average number of times a customer has purchased from your brand.
Perhaps you’d like to compare frequent customers with one-time customers to discover new insights? Tracking this KPI makes that possible.
This KPI, often referred to as CLV, or Customer Lifetime Value, is the average value of a customer’s purchases over a given period of time.
This metric essentially tells you how valuable a customer is to your company. Being able to analyze customers based on their CLV is a great way for brand managers to identify common traits or new target audiences.
Retention, which measures the number of customers that remain loyal to your product or service over a given period of time, essentially tells you how worthwhile your product is.
Being able to track customer retention provides important insight into customer loyalty and brand success. Sure, many companies can get a consumer to purchase their product one time. But to earn their loyalty and repeat business is something else entirely.
When it comes to brand purchase behavior KPIs, customization has more to do with which ones you choose to track.
Based on your product or service offered, certain brand purchase behavior KPIs make more sense than others. For example, a company like Zalando would be very interested in tracking customer frequency, retention, and value.
There are a (seemingly) unlimited number of products customers can purchase from this online clothing retailer. So, tracking how frequently people make purchases, how loyal they are to the brand, and how much they spend on average provides insightful data for Zalando.
On the other hand, the company Craftsman sells a tool kit with a lifetime warranty. When tracking brand purchase behavior, they won’t be as interested in stats about frequency or recency. For this kind of business, retention and value are far more interesting.
To know which brand purchase behavior KPIs make sense for your mid-sized business, think about the services and products you provide, and you’ll get a good idea of what to track.
4. Brand Engagement
Last, but certainly not least, there’s brand engagement. This KPI measures how consumers interact with your brand — be it your website, ads, emails, or social media accounts.
While one of your fellow marketing colleagues may already track general website activity, ad performance, and social media mentions, it’s your job as a brand manager to do the same for all brand campaigns.
Have an email series dedicated to explaining your USPs and brand values? It’s vital that you’re able to collect data on each emails’ open rate and click-through rate (CTR) so you know how consumers are responding to your brand messaging.
Working with your SEA Manager to set up paid brand ads on Google or Bing? You’ll need data on impressions, clicks, CTR, conversion rate (CR), and more to assess the performance of your brand marketing campaigns.
Another helpful KPI to track for brand engagement is your Share of Voice, which tells you what percentage of organic search volume or paid advertising your brand owns compared to your competitors in a space like Google.
While there are lots of metrics that you can track to monitor brand engagement, customization opportunities are dependent on what kind of product or service your brand offers.
To measure engagement with your brand, you can ask customers customized questions such as:
“How often do you interact with brand X on social media?”
“Have you seen or heard any ads from brand X in the past 4 weeks?”
There isn’t a hard limit to how specific your brand engagement questions can be. However, keep in mind that the more granular they become, the greater risk you run that the question might not apply to the majority of respondents.
In order to grow and expand your mid-sized business, you need to understand how consumers view your brand, what kind of experiences they’ve had, and where their engagement touchpoints are.
When you define and customize the brand KPIs that really matter for your business and growth strategy, you’ll open important doors for yourself and your brand.
So, Which Brand KPIs Should You Be Tracking?
To be fair, not every KPI we mentioned in this article will be equally important for your company — a lot is dependent on your product, service, and industry.
Companies that sell products with lifetime warranties won’t be as interested in tracking purchase frequency as a company that sells clothing or food. Service-based companies will want to ask different types of brand experience questions than those that sell physical products.
However, there’s no doubt that KPI customization will be your best friend moving forward. Achieving the next level of success is not possible by following the same steps and procedures that go you here.
You’ll need to delve deeper into customer data, ask more nuanced questions, and choose your KPIs carefully in order to find the right brand strategy to grow.
When it comes to tracking and assessing brand performance, it can sometimes feel like you’re fighting a losing battle. Sure, you can set up DIY surveys to try and gather information or use social listening tools to keep your ear to the ground for social mentions.
But tracking more nuanced, less popular KPIs is a different challenge altogether — and one that requires brand monitoring.
To accurately measure important brand KPIs like brand experience, brand associations, or brand engagement, you need to invest in a solution that meets your needs. Thankfully, there are some great brand tracking tools on the market.
So what are you waiting for? It’s time to supercharge your brand tracking with customized, more insightful KPIs.