Measuring Your Brand’s Success

By Chris Wadsworth

Published in The Source issue 12

How much does your brand add to the success of your business?

It is common knowledge that a strong brand is a business asset. However it isn’t always clear how much your brand has influenced a customer to choose your product or service over your competitor’s.

Branding vs promotions

Advertising and promotional campaigns have a short-term focus that produce spikes in activity which make it relatively easy to measure their success. The amount of sales and enquiries during and immediately after a campaign are easy indicators of their effectiveness. In fact the success of any campaign should be measured to establish whether they have been value for money and therefore a worthwhile pursuit in the future.

Branding is a business strategy that aims to increase recognition and build trust in your products and services. Its long-term nature means its effects are not immediately apparent which makes it harder to measure. Because of this, brand measurement looks at underlying trends and feedback from the marketplace.

It is worth noting that when a company runs a brand campaign (advertising and marketing that promotes their brand rather than a product) short-term activity can increase and those results can be easily seen. However the primary aim of brand campaigns is to increase recognition and respect for a brand to gain a long-term strategic advantage over the competition. While this aspect is harder to measure it is important to know whether it has been successful.

Market research

Market research is an effective way to assess the success of your brand. The awareness of a product or service is a good indicator of brand recognition and determining the level of intention to buy is a strong indicator of brand trust. Perception of a brand in the marketplace is important to know too. If a brand is widely recognised for negative reasons it is more a measure of brand failure than success. The ultimate measure of a successful brand is loyalty. If customers are committed to what you offer then this is a great indicator of your brand’s success.

The information that you gain from surveys and research can be compared with trends in your market share to provide a useful picture of the health of your brand and your business. You will need to remember that performance based research alone isn’t an indicator of a strong brand. Companies that invest in ongoing marketing and advertising can have healthy sales as a result, independent of their brand. To determine the contribution that your brand is adding to the success of your business you need to look at underlying trends and compare them to the marketplace over time.

Rebranding

Rebranding goes much further than a new logo and design. It is an involved process requiring specialist skills. Because it can represent a significant investment of time and money the effectiveness of the rebrand sometimes needs to be demonstrated to stakeholders. In these instances you must measure the successes, and shortfalls, of current branding to establish whether a rebrand is required and to act as a benchmark to measure new branding against. It is important to follow the same set of measurements pre and post rebrand to ensure a meaningful comparison.

Social media

Social media has helped to create direct links between companies and their customers. While brand success is not based on the number of followers you have you will get a more accurate reflection of how your brand is perceived from larger groups. Assessing brand success through social media is about the engagement of your online community and the sentiment of their feedback. Measuring the percentage of your community that interacts with your company through social media is a way to gauge interest in your brand. This can be measured by analysing the number of your followers that are actively engaged and also looking at growth patterns of followers.

Another interesting exercise is to search twitter feeds for mentions of your brand to see how widely it is being discussed and whether comments are positive or negative.

For those with deep pockets there is social media analytics software that measures link clicks, content pass-along and other metrics that produce data which is analysed to give a measure of brand reach. Social media success measurement is in its infancy but it could become more pervasive and economical as the industry develops.

Effective brand measurement

To effectively measure your brand success you need to know what it is you want your brand to achieve. Your brand strategy and vision need to embrace your business objectives and desired outcomes to give focus and meaning to what you measure.

Posted 15 May 2012

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