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Your company’s brand is one of its most valuable assets. Some might even say it’s THE most important one. Regardless of semantics, though, your brand IS what sets you apart from the competition, evoking an awareness amongst consumers (when your branding is healthy and strong) that translates into interest, loyalty and, of course, profit. Savvy companies know that their brands don’t evolve without constant maintenance. Indeed, it takes concerted effort to monitor, measure and grow a brand, ensuring that only the most loved companies are those that spend the time and money to tend to their branding wisely. Here’s how to be strategic when planning brand tracking studies:
While it might seem counterintuitive, brand studies don’t all focus on current customers. On the contrary, surveying non-buyers and non-users can provide insight into how you might be able to penetrate the market and often enables you to evaluate the competition. Tapping into multiple segments of a market will give you a more fully developed view of your overall market position.
There are numerous ways to track a brand. Sample metrics include tracking awareness, recall and preference; experience, attitude and perception; usage; and purchases. A mix of many kinds of measures ensures a more meaningful view of your brand’s reach and value.
To get the most from branding research, you need to do it repeatedly. A continuous review of how consumers buy, use and feel about your products and/or services means you are able to identify and respond to any issues quickly, hopefully mitigating negative effects and compounding positive ones before they have a chance to take root or wither away respectively. Continuous tracking programs can be easily set up across various virtual platforms since most consumers are now remotely connected via multiple means (i.e., mobile phones, tablets, computers, etc.). However, if constant tracking isn’t feasible (because of time or money issues, for example), companies can also periodically track key branding metrics. The goal is to gauge consumer behaviors and perceptions over time, picking strategic points along the customer journey so that the most representative data is uncovered. How often customers make purchases, the number of competitors and the rate of change within the market itself, as well as your company’s own stability, will combine to determine just how frequently it makes sense to track your brand and will help you establish a pattern for future brand tracking studies.
Finally, brand tracking is only reliable if you are measuring the right population. You need to be careful that you choose the right parameters for your sample and then account for any additional variables that may skew data results when your main ones are held constant. It’s easy, for example, to focus on age and gender when tracking brand perception. But keeping these variables constant could mean that only certain locations of the world are represented in your results, which, in turn, could cause you to make deductions that aren’t truly representative or reliable. Make sure to think about where you’re getting your data!
To learn more about brand tracking studies and how they could benefit your company, please contact our team at Research America. Our market researchers have offices throughout the country and travel around the world, ensuring that our clients always have access to the information they need, however and whenever they need it!