Brand Health Tracking: Why it's so important for the iconic consumer brands of today and tomorrow
If performance marketing metrics are like sugary snacks – a quick-fix to satisfy the need for immediate, measurable marketing results – then brand health metrics could be considered a salad.
A salad probably isn't the first thing you think about when you’re hungry, but it's extremely good for you in the long-term, and it’s certainly something you should be serving upper management when they ask you for marketing results.
To brand build, you need to have a healthy brand and that’s exactly the case this article makes. But, before all that, let’s first clarify what we mean with all this contemporary brand jargon.
What is brand health?
Brand health is a broad measure of how your brand is perceived in your market. This includes consideration of how many people are aware of your brand, have considered using it, are already using it or have a preference for it, coupled with their confidence on whether you can deliver what you promise.
What do these brand health metrics actually mean?
The level of awareness and consideration your brand has is a key factor in how much we’re able to sell, and how efficiently – people are much more likely to buy from brands they’re familiar with and feel positively about. So measuring these things is vital!
We use best practice market-research methodology to shape brand health questions that help identify what people think and feel about your brand.
Tells you how many people are aware of your brand within the competitor set. In Tracksuit, it’s the percentage of people involved in the category who are aware of the brand when prompted. For us, this helps us determine how well we’re building future demand.
The percentage of people involved in the category who would consider using your brand. This question stimulates the choice sets consumers would consider if making a purchase decision tomorrow. TRA research tells us, if we can get into this choice set, we’re 6 - 10 x more likely to be purchased.
Our investigation layer is reserved for high involvement categories. It’s the percentage of people involved in the category who have looked into (or investigated) the brand. It helps you answer how many people recall having visited your physical or digital touchpoints. This layer acts a clear point of transition from future demand creation into your performance and activation marketing.
The percentage of people involved in the category who would prefer to use your brand most. This is a forced choice of a single brand from a list within your category and a great measure of brand loyalty and love!
The percentage of people involved in the category who have used your brand during a certain period. This is ‘claimed usage’ — a good indicator of how many people actually recall deliberately purchasing your brand (do they have a strong enough emotional connection with your brand to intentionally purchase or use it?)
Why does brand health matter?
Because your brand matters.
For your business to grow, you need brand awareness. If a consumer has never heard of you, why would they consider buying from you? Every marketer knows that awareness is the first rung on the ladder to fostering long-term brand loyalty - and consistent sales.
“Brand building is another name for relationship building – and that’s about letting the consumer get to know you,” says Connon Bray, a Director at Tracksuit. Unless you’re constantly working to make your brand known to your audience, you’re going to run out of room to grow. Building brand activity enables businesses to deliver sales more efficiently and insulate against market forces.
Brand awareness is an important factor in a brand's overall health score. Here's how to build brand awareness through brand tracking.
A strong brand helps you to build future demand.
Future demand is a term coined by James Hurman, brand expert, and one of our co-founders. By it, he means a group of people who are “not ready to buy or switch to your offering now, but will be at some point in the future.”
This is opposed to existing demand, which refers to a group of people who are already willing and able to purchase your solution. Hurman frames this with the following example; a company launches an innovative new offering to market, with great product-market fit. It solves a customer problem in a unique way. This company has existing demand - a group of customers who just need the solution put in front of them. Cost-effective performance marketing gets their product in front of this group, and the company very quickly, and very easily, makes sales. Exponential growth, media attention and massive investment follows.
And then, after around three years, sales become difficult. New customer acquisition gets more expensive, and growth slows. With rising costs, their business model falters, and the whole thing just peters out. Hurman explains: “Those companies deftly created a product for which there was preexisting, unmet demand. They skilfully converted all of that demand. And they ran out of customers before they’d done the critical job of creating future demand.”
So, how do you build future demand? Through effective brand marketing that drives fame, mental availability, recognition, and perceptions of value. Your brand is like the foundation of a building; if it isn’t reinforced, the entire structure will weaken - and could even crumble entirely. Investing in brand-building initiatives is what enables your business to maximise growth opportunities, protect yourself against disruption (like a global pandemic or recession) and leverage a price premium.
What is brand tracking?
Brand tracking is defined as the process of measuring fundamental brand health metrics, such as brand awareness, consideration, usage and preference. It can help you understand how your brand building activities are influencing what consumers think (or even how many have heard of) your brand.
Brand tracking enables businesses to understand how their brand-building initiatives are performing. In other words, it’s a measure of how ‘healthy’ your brand is.
Rather than getting caught up in conversion rates or the cost of retention, brand tracking focuses on what customers think and feel about your brand. It’s an expression of whether or not your brand is building relationships and awareness with the right people to grow your business.
The challenge: Proving the value of brand building
Measuring brand value is elusive at best - and inaccessible at worst.
And what gets measured, gets managed. Which is why activities like lead generation are an easy sell; there are concrete metrics to tell us whether we’ve been successful.
Where lead gen has click-through rates and cost per lead, the average business has little insight into the power of their brand-building efforts. In the eyes of managers, this can make brand marketing look like a poor investment.
It can be hard for marketing teams - who know the value of brand health building - to make the business case for getting a bigger budget for brand building activities. Even though it’s in the best interest of the business to provide it.
This is reflected in the pandemic-fuelled budget cuts that have hit brand-building activities the hardest. According to WARC’s Marketer's Toolkit 2021 survey, 70% of marketers stated that cuts were being made to brand advertising. This comes right at a time when the health of your brand can be the difference between sinking or swimming.
This is backed up by studies from marketing gurus Peter Field and Les Binet and their famous 60/40 rule: The most effective brands spend more of their overall budget (60%) on brand-building than sales activation (40%).
Building brand health is your business’s best tool to grow future demand and position yourself as a leader in your market. And a brand tracker is the key to unlocking these insights and turning them into actionable metrics that inform your brand advertising and marketing strategy.
Brand tracking is brand health defined
To measure brand health, you need to understand the good, the bad, and the ugly of what your target audience thinks about your brand.
Brand health tracking can help you read the vital signs that tell you how effectively your brand is winning hearts and minds.
So, how can you get smart on brand health?
Tracksuit: Disrupting the status quo with intelligent, ‘always on’ brand health tracking
Tracksuit is a new approach to brand health tracking; a SaaS solution for intelligent and affordable brand tracking delivered through always on dashboards with stunning data visualisation that is easy-to-understand for your entire team.
With Tracksuit, you can:
- Understand how your brand is really performing in all the ways that matter across the entire brand funnel (awareness, consideration, usage and preference).
- Compare how your brand is performing against others in its category.
- Stop guesstimating brand health with ill-fitting metrics and identify in real-time whether your business is headed for long-term, sustainable growth via our Brand Profile tool.
- Manage your brand-building strategy effectively with our timeline tracker to identify key trends and calculate ROI to understand what works and doesn’t work for your brand.
- Prove the value of your brand-building efforts with elegant, intuitive metrics and competitor benchmarking.
Discover unmatched insights into how your brand perception is evolving over time. Tracksuit is a brand tracker 2.0 – and it’s here to shake up brand management for good.