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How do successful companies deliver their brands consistently and improve performance?

According to Forbes, presenting a brand consistently across platforms can lead to a 23% increase in revenue. Look no further than brand tracking market research (or sometimes called a brand tracking study).

Brand tracking market research is the process of monitoring, measuring, and analyzing brand equity over time. It can help you understand how customers perceive your brand, identify opportunities and threats, track changes in brand perception, and much more. In this article, we'll discuss the basics of brand tracking research and how it can launch your brand to new heights.

The benefits of brand tracking market research.

Customers are the lifeblood of any business. But you can't get away with assuming you know what they want. You need to listen to your customers, and brand monitoring helps. You can gather customer feedback, analyze the data, and identify what matters most to your customers with brand tracking market research.

Brand tracking can help you understand how your brand is performing in the market.

  • Measure brand awareness and brand health over time

  • Test new strategies

  • Understand how customers perceive your brand relative to competitors

  • Identify opportunities and threats to your brand's success

  • Track changes in customer perceptions of your brand

Brand tracking market research gives you a clear understanding of how your brand performs. With this data in hand, you are poised to make better decisions that will improve the customer experience and, in turn, improve your brand equity.

What should you track?

So, you're ready to get started on a brand tracking study. But, before you can set it up, you need to figure out: what do you want to track?

There are many types of brand tracking, whether collecting ongoing feedback from customers or measuring the results of a 6-month marketing campaign. When deciding what type of market research is right for you, consider your audience and goals. These components will serve as a guidepost of what approach to take. Here are some things to keep in mind when designing your brand tracking market research:

Customer Feedback

Companies turn to customer satisfaction surveys to stay on top of changing consumer trends and evolving customer preferences. Customer surveys have become one of the most popular types of brand tracking. They give businesses key data to understand customers and can help you measure shifts in buying patterns, preferences, and brand awareness.

customer shopping

Non-Customer Preferences

It’s great to know who buys your products, but what about those who don’t? There’s value in learning why your brand was not chosen. These types of brand tracking surveys can help you understand the brand barriers that are preventing your target customers from doing business with you. (And then use that data to change their minds.)

Marketing Efforts

You've invested considerable time and money into marketing campaigns, and now it's time to track the results. Brand tracking surveys can help you understand how effective your marketing and advertising efforts are in terms of brand awareness, reach, and engagement. The marketing landscape moves quickly—what's relevant today may be outdated next quarter. Therefore, marketing tracking surveys can be a priceless tool to evaluate your campaign's effectiveness.

Competitor Analysis

To stay ahead of the competition, you need to keep tabs on how customers perceive your brand in relation to your competitors. Along with a competitive analysis, brand tracking market research can help you understand what sets you apart from the competition and where there is room for improvement. As an added bonus, your key differentiators can help you carefully craft your brand's unique selling proposition (USP). This can help make your marketing efforts stronger, clearer, and more likely to convert customers.

Employee Feedback

Your employees are on the front lines, interacting with customers every day. This gives them a unique perspective on how customers perceive your brand. Conducting regular employee surveys is an excellent way to measure brand engagement and get feedback on brand strategy.

employee helping customer

Brand Tracking—Essential Metrics to Watch

Numbers and metrics are what brand tracking is all about—the data. But, before you can get started, you need to identify which brand metrics you want to track. When choosing metrics, focus on data that’ll help you achieve your business goals and objectives.

However, there are some key brand metrics that all businesses should track.

  • Customer satisfaction

  • Net Promoter Score (NPS)

  • Brand awareness

  • Brand equity

  • Brand associations

  • Brand preference

  • Brand perceived quality

  • Brand usage

  • Brand purchase

Metrics are the fundamental building blocks for assessing the effectiveness of your brand strategy. So, make a plan to track the most important ones for your brand, then watch the data flood in. In turn, this brand tracking data will give you the insights you need to make data-driven decisions about your brand.

Key questions to include in your brand tracking survey.

When it comes to developing questions for your brand tracking study, there's no single question list. Instead, the key is to design brand tracking surveys that sync with your business goals.

So, what do you ask? Consider the type of brand feedback you want to collect and what insights you hope to gain from the brand tracking market research. From there, you can develop a list of brand tracking questions that will help you achieve your desired outcome.

Consider these sample brand tracking questions to help assess your brand health.

  • How often do you think about our brand?

  • What words come to mind when you think about our brand?

  • How would you describe our brand in one sentence?

  • Do you consider our brand to be trustworthy?

  • Is our brand relevant to your needs/interests?

  • Would you recommend our brand to a friend or family member?

  • How likely are you to purchase from our brand again in the future?

  • Which brand do you prefer: ours or our competitor's?

  • Why did you choose that brand?

man on laptop

Ultimately, you want questions that give you a panoramic view of your brand health. So, mix up the style of questions you ask. Include multiple-choice, ask respondents to rate their answers on a 1-5 scale, and throw in an open response question. Pick and choose which type of question is best suited to gather the data you seek.

How often should you conduct brand tracking market research?

Don't think of brand tracking market research as a one-and-done approach. If you run a brand tracking study once, you'll only get a snapshot of your brand's impact. But, what you want to get is a full picture in high resolution. That means you’ll want to conduct brand tracking market research continuously.

What do we mean by “continuously”? Well, don’t go overboard. You don’t need to conduct brand tracking on a weekly or monthly basis. But you will need to do it often enough to get a pulse on your brand. If you're just getting started with brand tracking, consider conducting a study every six months to get a baseline of brand awareness and sentiment. From there, you can adjust the frequency as needed.

Graph showing the number of marketers who changed their target audience due to COVID-19

Brand tracking market research takeaways to make better marketing decisions.

If you want to have a consistent brand presence, you need to know how it's performing. Brand tracking data can provide powerful insights that can help you fine-tune your brand strategy and marketing efforts. By understanding how customers perceive your brand, you can make better decisions that will positively impact brand awareness, engagement, and conversions.

But, how can you interpret and use the data?

  1. To determine if a campaign was successful. You can use brand tracking data to see if there was an increase in brand awareness or brand sentiment after a campaign.
  2. To refine your target audience. A 2020 study by LinkedIn found that 43% of US marketers are now targeting audiences whose needs have changed because of COVID-19. If you're not getting the results you want, brand tracking market research can help you assess whether your current target audience is the right fit. It can also help you determine where to focus your marketing efforts.
  3. To inform product development. Brand tracking data can help you understand how customers perceive your products. If you're thinking about developing a new product or service, brand tracking research can uncover whether there's a need for it in the market.
  4. To adjust your brand positioning. Your brand may evolve and change over time. Brand tracking market research can help you determine whether your brand's positioning still resonates with your target audience. If it doesn’t, it may be time to adjust your brand messaging.
  5. To benchmark against competitors. Don’t let the competition outpace you. Understand how customers perceive your brand in relation to others so that you can make necessary adjustments to your brand strategy.

Remember, while brand tracking can give you powerful data and insights, only you can decide how to use it.

Need help conducting brand tracking market research?

Good branding isn’t by chance. It takes time, effort, and constant fine-tuning of your strategy to enjoy the many benefits of a strong brand. Rebel is a research and strategy firm that can help you conduct brand tracking market research or put your data into action. We analyze consumer journeys to find insights in places you wouldn’t expect—to take you to places you never thought possible. Let's chat.