How is your brand performing at the moment? Do you know how its current performance compares to that of six months ago… a year ago? What about five years ago?
If you don’t know the answer off the top of your head, that’s understandable. But if you don’t have access to this type of data at all, then it’s time to make some important changes and find a sustainable solution.
Our suggestion? Advanced brand tracking software.
To explain why we believe it’s the best approach, this article will touch on the essentials of tracking your brand performance, explain why it’s important, and discuss three major brand tracking issues traditional tools fall victim to — as well as what you should avoid.
Hopefully, you’ll come away with a better understanding of why accurate brand tracking data matters and how you can use it to make smarter marketing decisions in the future.
What Is Brand Tracking?
Let’s start off easy and answer the basics: What is brand tracking?
Brand tracking is a method of measuring brand health that focuses mainly on consumers’ awareness, associations, consideration, and preference.
By keeping an eye on your brand’s health, you’re able to better understand its commercial value. If your brand is enjoying good health, then it’s likely also attracting plenty of leads and earning respectable profits.
Tracking your brand is not just about commercial value, though. It will also help you identify opportunities for change, which you can use to optimize your marketing strategy and further strengthen your brand.
With most brand trackers, there are several different metrics available, but, below, we'll discuss the three most important key metrics.
1. Brand Awareness
Brand awareness is all about how well consumers know and recognize your brand. As the first step in the marketing funnel, brand awareness is extremely important to overall company success.
Therefore, increasing brand awareness is a top goal for most brand managers, as doing so often helps boost brand usage and increases market share.
By tracking your brand awareness levels, you can figure out where you rank in comparison to your competitors and within your market. You can also use industry benchmarks to see how your brand awareness levels measure up.
At the end of the day, you can’t increase any subsequent brand KPIs without first growing brand awareness. Thus, tracking and measuring brand awareness is the foundation of any successful marketing campaign or strategy.
2. Brand Associations
As part of tracking your brand, you should also monitor your brand associations. There are the characteristics and traits that consumers associate with your brand. For example, is your brand luxurious? Accessible? Fun?
After all, if consumers are aware of your brand — even if they haven’t used it yet — they’ll still have their own unique associations. By tracking and researching your brand associations, you can discover if consumers’ perceptions are positive or negative and whether or not they align with your desired brand image.
If they do not align with your brand image and identity, then you know it’s time to make some big changes. After all, building positive brand associations makes it easier to drive sales and refine your brand positioning.
3. Brand Consideration
Another important brand metric that any reputable brand tracking software measures is brand consideration. This KPI examines whether or not consumers would consider purchasing from a brand they’re aware of.
Brand consideration can be measured by asking consumers questions such as: What do you think of (brand name)? Would you consider using (brand name) instead of a competitor's brand?
The answers to these questions should provide you with an accurate idea of how highly your target audience thinks of your brand. While it’s great to have a high level of awareness within your target audience — it means nothing if they won’t consider using your brand.
Thus, the higher the levels of brand consideration, the more likely consumers are to actively use your brand.
4. Brand Preference
Brand preference is the fourth key metric that all brand managers should be tracking. It reflects the strength of your brand and shows whether consumers prefer your brand over others from the same industry.
Essentially, brand preference is a reflection of consumers’ desire to use your brand over your competitors — regardless of price — and is an excellent indicator of brand loyalty and customer satisfaction. When consumers choose your brand over your rivals, even when your prices are on-par or higher, it shows that your brand boasts strong preference levels.
Thus, improving your brand preference levels can lead to higher brand usage, stronger brand loyalty, and increased brand affinity.
But Why Is Brand Tracking So Important?
Now that we've discussed the "what", let's take a look at the "why" — aka “Why is brand tracking so important?”
Well, by tracking various brand KPIs, you gather incredibly useful data and insights that will help you improve your overall brand strategy. After all, if you aren’t aware of how consumers view your brand or what they need from you, how can you craft an effective marketing strategy?
However, this still begs the question: why is it important to regularly track the brand?
From your own experience, it’s likely you're aware that peoples’ opinions and perceptions are subject to change. What they may love one year will be old news next year. Therefore, it follows that consumers’ feelings towards your brand will also change.
That’s why you need to continually track your brand's performance. If you take your finger off the pulse, then consumers' perceptions could evolve without you realizing it. And, by then, it may be too late to step in and make the changes necessary to right your (brand) ship.
For example, many brand managers find that tracking their brand’s performance helps them identify important changes and regularly refine their target audience.
It’s a common misconception that target audiences are set in stone. In fact, many brands have noted shifts in the demographics of their customers over time. Remember, all changes are important — no matter how slight.
If you don’t track your brand and, thus, fail to take note of these shifts, you could end up targeting the wrong consumers — wasting both time and money. That being said, not just any brand tracking software will do the trick. You need the real deal.
Let's talk about why that is.
3 Major Issues with Traditional Brand Tracking Tools
Ready to begin tracking your brand? Fantastic! From the get-go, you’ll notice plenty of benefits.
However, there are a few existing (more traditional) methods of tracking your brand performance that you may be aware of. These include methods such as listening to social media mentions, asking customers directly for feedback via focus groups, or using DIY surveys.
Similarly, there are quite a few options on the market when it comes to brand tracking software. However, the aforementioned methods and services do come with drawbacks, as traditional brand tracking often falls prey to the following:
1. Restrictive Data
If you use one of the more traditional brand tracking tools, you might notice that it's only possible to focus on 2-3 audience characteristics at a time.
For example, traditional tools might permit you to delve deeper into age and gender but might not allow for a more detailed exploration of location. This means that you won't have access to all the data you need when it comes to your target audiences’ opinions and perceptions.
Social listening presents a similar issue — you’re by no means getting a representative look into your target audience with this data, as a large majority of people do not interact on social media.
Remember: Consumers are multifaceted and your data should be, too. Therefore, to acquire a more accurate view of your audience when brand building, it’s necessary to track the KPIs that actually matter to your brand and have access to more customized characteristics.
2. Doesn’t Show Real-World Changes
When considering a vast majority of other brand tracking options available, key characteristics like age and gender are kept stable in the sample composition — meaning researchers will maintain the same split between these two characteristics. Therefore, when a new characteristic is added to the mix, it’s often skewed — aka inaccurate.
As an example, let’s consider location. When age and gender remain stable, location can become skewed. What does this mean? Well, there’s a chance that your research might be biased towards whichever location most survey respondents are from.
Consequently, these skewed survey results can alter brand perception in ways that are actually quite surprising. And basing your brand strategy on this kind of misinformation is dangerous, as you’re likely to focus time and money in the wrong place.
To learn more about how this kind of sample composition can affect your brand tracking data, you should check out our whitepaper on MRP vs. Traditional Quota Sampling.
3. High Margins of Error
Another issue with traditional brand tracking solutions is that they often utilize small sample sizes — with their survey groups including only around 500 respondents. Though this may sound like a lot of people, it’s often not enough to gather accurate data for smaller audiences.
Consequently, when investigating custom characteristics, traditional methods are forced to focus on specific individuals. Understandably, this results in a very high margin of error — something you wouldn’t have to worry about if traditional brand tracking tools surveyed larger sample groups.
How Latana Is Redefining Brand Tracking
Here at Latana, we’re changing the face of brand tracking. With our mobile-optimized brand surveys and incredible data reach, we're able to offer brand managers insights and data that they haven't previously had access to.
For one, our sample size is a good bit larger than many traditional alternatives. We always start with a minimum sample of 1,000 respondents to ensure that the margin of error is as low as possible. We also set a 500 respondent minimum on any core segmentation to ensure the total reliability of your tracker.
Finally, we utilize Multilevel Regression and Poststratification (MRP), an advanced data science method, to clean our data and crunch the numbers. This allows us to provide more accurate data for niche audiences — a huge plus for many brands.
The benefits of using Latana don’t stop there. We also survey recommended audiences, unlike our competitors who will use pre-configured audiences. That means we gather data from the people whose opinions actually matter to your brand.
Plus, our data is also known for its high level of accuracy, as it can identify changes of above 2-3% in niche audiences. Furthermore, Latana allows you to build and track your custom target groups with our audience segmentation. This provides reliable insights for niche audiences, making it possible to tailor our tool to your individual brand needs.
What’s more, we provide you with access to our intuitive dashboard, which is optimized for audience discovery and collaboration. With our dynamic dashboard, you’ll be able to interact with and explore all of your data — making it incredibly easy to transform your insights into a presentable format for important stakeholders, like C-Level colleagues and investors.
Finally, we make sure that all your important insights are updated throughout the year, so they’ll continually bring you value.
With the data Latana provides, brand managers are able to take full advantage of their brand insights and craft more effective brand strategies. If there's one major lesson to take away from this article, it’s that brand tracking is 100% necessary for marketers who want to understand how successful and healthy their brand is.
And if you use Latana, you’ll be armed with countless insights that will help you flag weaknesses, pinpoint opportunities for growth, and know when it's time to make adjustments to your brand marketing strategy.
Updated by: Cory Schröder on 12.11.21