As market researchers, we know with media, messages, and public opinion shifting more rapidly than ever, it is critical to not lose site of the importance of the overarching, long-term health of organizations and brands. The gold standard of measuring your overall brand health is a well-designed brand tracking study, an evidence-based methodology that has been employed across industries for decades. How do we know? Because our team has been involved in the evolution of brand tracking studies with clients from media to healthcare to logistics for over 25 years.
What is a brand tracker?
Measuring your brand’s overall health – including consumer awareness, use, opinion, consideration, and likelihood to recommend – a brand tracker demonstrates two crucial trends: how your brand health changes over time and where you stand versus your competition in the market. In order to actually get a clear perspective on these two points, it is necessary to glean insight from current consumers and the general population— so it’s smart to study both.
When working with national brands, it is important to make sure that each wave’s random sample of participants has a demographic and geographic makeup that is nationally representative (per Census figures) to produce nationally projectable results. As seasoned researchers, we are also meticulous in ensuring that the same participant sample blend is used from wave to wave, so when results change, we know we are measuring real change in the brand’s health and not simply a flux in one or more of the sampling variables.
How does a brand tracker work?
Recurrence of brand tracking studies varies by industry, but twice per year is common and generally provides an effective level of insight. For those organizations or industries that are seasonal, it may make sense to conduct tracking up to four times per year. If there is absolutely no seasonality, some may choose to do once per year. Traditionally, brand tracking studies were deployed over the phone. However, in recent years most have migrated to online platforms, which are both more efficient for respondents and much more affordable for companies, sometimes cutting the cost by more than half. Online administration also allows versatility in presenting respondents with questions with images or even video clips to elicit responses in new ways.
Why does brand tracking matter?
The insights gleaned from brand tracking can influence everything from marketing efforts to operational decisions. It is critical to know what changes may have preceded a brand tracker—have you recently launched a new ad campaign or adopted a new supply chain process? The brand tracker can hone in on how/if these changes affect your brand health or perception.
Very particularly, a well-designed tracker can illuminate successes and challenges around advertising content, message dissemination, and your resonance with particular demographics. Overall, key implications should demonstrate where you are already strong and where you need to grow.
So tell us – How is your brand performing?