Brand Tracking Research

Marketplaces change fast―and consumers’ opinions change even faster. In order to stay ahead of this furious pace, it is essential for brand owners to keep a pulse on the health and reputation of their brands. They must know how and why change happens, and what actions to take.

PeopleBrand performance tracking research measures how effectively a brand is working across the wide range of experiences and touchpoints that build long-term value. The problem is that most research providers and branding agencies focus primarily on quantitative research with external audiences (typically consumers) to measure brand performance. This creates two knowledge gaps that limit smart decision-making:

  • Quantitative surveys explains “what” is happening, but not “why”
  • Engaging external audiences provides an outside-in perspective, but fails to integrate insights from associates who engage with prospects, consumers, and rejecters on a daily basis

In order for an insight to be actionable it needs context, but quantitative approaches by themselves miss the fact that isolated data points and insights don’t lead to understanding. To address this gap, tracking studies should include both quantitative and qualitative methodologies. A quantitative survey provides consensus and identifies cause-and-effect relationships while qualitative interviews allow researchers to dig deeper into consumers’ perspectives and associations, ensuring brand owners know what’s driving the assets that they manage.

For example, in a quarterly tracker, a technology client saw a six percent drop in satisfaction rating among a key audience. On its own, this information highlighted a negative, but did not inform why it was happening. Subsequent, qualitative interviews revealed that a highly coveted feature on a competitor’s new product caused this audience to be less satisfied with their current devices. This gave the client the insights needed to understand the “why”―and reassess its offering to be more competitive.

Great brands are pervasive, embedded throughout an organization. They deliver consistent experiences whether internal and external. This is why it’s key to assess brands from both directions. Get immersed (or re-immersed) with employees and internal stakeholders to understand the inside-out brand perspective. Bringing these two directions together better informs whether actions should be taken out in the marketplace or within an organization―or both.

Take a look at your brand performance research and ask yourself whether you are getting a complete, holistic look at how well your brand is working. If you realize you’re experiencing these gaps, it’s probably time to reevaluate your research approach.

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September 29, 2014 By Monigle