Brand is back. A strong, sustainable brand is a critical component in generating long-term sales, so companies are investing in brand building communications and marketing.
So, what’s the silver bullet in measuring brand value? Unfortunately, there isn’t one. But there are metrics you should pay particular attention to. Almost as important as the metrics you choose are the frequency with which you review them. Fortunately, this is clear cut – you need to measure continuously. Reviewing your brand metrics once a quarter, or worse, once a year doesn’t cut it. Your brand is the living, beating heart of your organization. Now that that’s settled, let’s get back to the hard part – below, we have outlined six metrics that should be part of a weekly review to have brand impact.
1. General awareness
Do shoppers know your brand exists in the market? Do the right shoppers know your brand exists? Measuring if shoppers having general awareness of your brand is one of the first metrics that you’ll want to pay close attention to. Generally, awareness lets a company know if they are breaking through the noise. If your shoppers are not aware of your presence in a category, this may be a good place to shift focus and resources.
2. Media recall
Similar to general awareness, media recall tells a company if they are being seen and heard. Where general awareness establishes who knows the brand exists, media recall goes a level deeper. You have a brand message, but is it memorable? You spend millions of dollars to support the brand, and you need to know the marketplace impact. Some channels will create a more memorable experience than others. Knowing which ones are the most productive will allow you to allocate your budget more efficiently. Those channels will change, so to understand what’s working you need to track this metric on an ongoing basis.
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This metric is unique from the others in this list that it’s not generated from an overall brand tracking study, but rather from an ad tracking study that builds up from consumer reaction to individual advertising units. Whether as a standalone program or part of a sophisticated brand tracking program, ad tracking is critical to improving marketing and communications tactics to move the overall brand metrics.
As shoppers move along the path to purchase, are they considering your brand? Why or why not? Having a presence during the consideration stage can provide a strong understanding if shoppers see value in your brand. Also, you need to know what drives consideration, and how to influence it. How, when, and where to push the right buttons.
Measuring consideration is a strong metric that can provide insight in a number of ways.
It’s not just shoppers who matter, understanding your position relative to your competitors is vital, too. How do you stack up? On price? On products? On service? – All up, how is your brand experience different than your competitors. If your products are similar, you have to find other ways to differentiate yourself. Building a strong brand is critical to creating a unique position in the marketplace.
5. Willingness to pay
A strong brand can translate into a willingness to pay on the part of shoppers as the perceived value of the brand is factored into the cost of the product or service. This is in some ways the end game for brand development – creating a strong shopper preference – and a sense of value – that feeds through into a willingness to accept, or even embrace, premium pricing.
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The final piece – brand preference. It takes the longest to establish but adds major value. Preferred vendors often get the first look from shoppers, and the first opportunity to capture a sale. Those who offer similar products face less pressure to compete on cost, which can contribute to overall profitability. If you have become a preferred brand, you’re ahead of the pack.
If you acknowledge that brand is vital, then you have to measure its impact. Unfortunately, marketing ROI measurement as it is currently practiced tends to focus on influencing short-term sales while the effect of long-term brand investment is either ignored altogether or not taken fully into account.
Understanding the brand Metrics that Actually Matter allows you to measure its impact in the most cost- and time-efficient way. With those metrics in hand, resources can then be more effectively allocated between supporting short-term decision making and longer-term brand support. Your brand building initiatives then become more intelligent and focused, delivering measurably better ROI across the marketing program.