What does my brand stand for?
Having spent the best part of 15 years learning, talking about, shaping and delivering brand tracking programmes of all sizes to all manner of clients, I thought I’d share a few examples from what I’ve seen in my time. I’m sure that anyone who works in a client or agency side role and is involved in brand tracking research can relate to some or all of these observations.
A one size fits all approach isn’t always right for your brand: off the shelf models that calculate brand equity, regardless of whether you are a car manufacturer or a fizzy drink brand, seldom get to the heart of what a particular market really wants and needs. They may tell you how salient and appealing your brand is, but they may not always be able to pinpoint what really drives consideration of a brand operating in a specific sector.
Flexibility: The best brand trackers can ebb and flow to suit the market they are trying to paint a picture of. In its most basic terms, the sample structure should be able to flex to reflect the media spend, fieldwork timings can be scheduled to coincide with pre-planned creative refreshes and the survey content should have the ability to change to reflect market developments.
Legacy, legacy, legacy: we’ve all been witness to this. A brand tracker that was set-up by the client’s predecessor (or even their predecessor!) that looks pretty much identical to when it was first set up. Market dynamics change, technology changes, customer profiles change and your brand strategies change. Sometimes, the only thing that gets untouched is the brand tracker!
Brands stir up emotions – so let’s measure them! I am a big advocate of injecting a range of tools and techniques into surveys to help capture and measure how people feel about a brand. If we can capture some of this in our surveys, and then triangulate this with qualitative research and up to date market trend data, we will have a great picture of the brand’s profile relative to the market.
Make it integral to the business: a great brand tracker should not sit in isolation as a measurement tool for the researcher alone. It should inform and be informed by the media plan, brand strategy, and creative process. A tracking programme that brings in data from multiple sources and helps power the wider marketing function is worth its weight in gold to the brand manager, planner and creative director.
Change is hard: it is often hard to change something that has lived within the business for a long time, especially if it ‘sort of does the job’. The benefits of a shiny new brand tracker can often be seen in the distance, but the path to get there is fraught with challenges and difficulties. Once a few brave and bold steps have been taken, you’ll never look back, I promise you.
If you’d like to share your experiences and thoughts, please get in touch with me or one of the Trinity McQueen team.
Mike Cooper, Research Director