Smart marketers know the power of branding, but not all executives do — and that can be a challenge for marketers tasked with quantifying their branding efforts. Some brands, particularly those in the consumer packaged goods (CPG) and entertainment spaces, spend as much time and money on brand awareness as they do on direct response efforts. Unlike direct response promotions, however, determining the results of your branding efforts can be tough. And that makes it difficult to measure the health of your brand.
The good news is you’re not alone. A recent survey of more than 500 marketing professionals in the United States and the United Kingdom by Visual IQ, a U.K.-based marketing measurement company, found that almost half of respondents identified a lack of sound measurement tools or methodologies as the biggest obstacle in quantifying their branding efforts.
While there isn’t a magic tool or single method to assess your brand’s health, here are five methods you can use to gauge how outsiders perceive your brand.
Online surveys can be a useful tool to discover what your audience and customers think of you and your products, as well as how they perceive your brand. You can begin broadly and ask how they heard about your company and then go from there. A survey can be as simple as asking just those two questions to get a read on brand awareness. Additional questions, such as asking respondents to describe your brand’s key attributes, can offer additional insight.
Focus groups allow you to dig significantly deeper to discover what customers and prospects like and dislike about your brand, as well as the qualities they attribute to it. Rather than simply asking a pointed question, focus groups allow you to ask participants open-ended questions, requiring them to elaborate on their answers and ensuring greater understanding.
You can learn a lot more than just visits and download stats from your web analytics. Dig in to find out where your traffic is coming from, which pages visitors spend the most time on, and the words or phrases they’re using to get to your website. If your site has search functionality, dig into that data to find out what visitors are looking for on your site and how they’re describing your products or services. This can be a rich source of information when you’re updating your website, as it shows which keywords users are looking for, as well as topics they’re having a hard time finding.
One of the best ways to find out what people are saying about your brand is by looking at sites where those conversations are already occurring — namely, social media and review sites. You’re probably paying close attention to your own social media channels, but are you keeping an eye on those of your competitors? You might be surprised to find out where your company’s name pops up.
All Together, Now
The key to getting a handle on your brand’s health and whether or not it’s living up to its promise is to integrate all of these methods into your measurement and reporting efforts. Together, they’ll help you spotlight what’s working and what isn’t, and offer some great ideas for future products, services, content or promotions.