Keep Your Brand on Track with These 3 Tips
It has only become more complicated to accurately measure the health of a brand. According to Frank Zinni, an XM advisor at Qualtrics, brand tracking is an essential element to guard and protect a brand for the future and to help you protect and grow your asset. “It’s not only to protect and grow that asset but it’s a key element of what one does to protect an asset,” said Zinni who was speaking at a breakout session at the Qualtrics Experience Management Summit in Salt Lake City back in March.
He continued by saying that sometimes, brand tracking is simply needing to report back to a boss and giving them a number to get by. However, at some point, you have to be paying attention to the market when an inflection point comes. “You have to be paying attention to the market. You have to know what consumers are thinking about you and your competitors and you have to be read and you have to be ready to use that inflection to drive your brand to new heights. If you don’t, you will fail.”
He added that brands and business assets only exist in the minds of consumers. “They are not a real thing. They have no physical reality. They’re an idea. And honestly, these impressions can last for a long time. So those of us who are charged with taking care of that brands or asset, if you will, they need to be looking over their shoulders, and around corners, to make sure that they protect it.”
Some of the key reasons why one would need to track the health of brands, according to Zinni, is to validate the effectiveness of marketing actions and investments, scope out the competition to see what other brands are doing, establish manage and maintain a brand’s positioning, detecting early trends and managing unexpected events.
Noting this, Zinni proposed three principles to keep in mind when it comes to building a solid brand tracker which MARKETING-INTERACTIVE laid out below.
1. Know thyself
When it comes to brand tracking, it is really important to understand what business you are in, according to Zinni. It is also important to understand what makes you different, who your competitors are and, most importantly who your consumers are.
Additionally, it is important to know what category your business falls into. “This is always the tricky part and I find it tricky because customers looking at your brand need to find a competitive side with your competition in the category, so how do you describe your business so that the average person on the street can take a survey and answer questions about your brand in a meaningful way?” he asked.
He continued by saying that this is all about positioning. You want to identify those four or five players that you want to compete with in the marketplace and then you figure out what matters to the consumer with regards to them. “This is how you’re going to differentiate yourself and you need to be very clear about this because often, a mistake brands make is that they don’t go after their own strengths,” he said.
He added that some companies and organisations such as non-profits don’t have competition and that some businesses work in categories where competition is not a thing. “That’s perfectly fine. But establish what you want to benchmark yourself against even if it is just cooperation and collaboration.
“Who are the other non-profits operating in your region or your state or the country that you want to compare yourself to?” he asked
2. Keep it simple
Building on his point, Zinni mentioned how important it is for brands to remain simple when it comes to brand tracking.
“Make sure it’s a design that is straightforward and that uses language that anybody can understand.” He recommended. He continued by saying that understands the desire to take a number of questions and adding them together to make a really beautiful psychometric scale but that it is ultimately not practical.
“When numbers change, and your boss wants to know why it changed, you have to go back, and spend five or six days to tear [these intricate questions] apart. Look at what really matters and try to keep it down to one question,” he said. He added that simplicity takes work and that a key thing to remember is to always use language that people can understand. “Don’t over complexify your analysis.”
No one likes surveys that are too long, said Zinni, and most long surveys have information that is not even recorded. “Start with the end in mind. Ask yourself what the problem is that you need to solve and the action that you will likely take as a result of this.”
3. Focus on experience
Finally, Zinni noted that experience was a critical factor in brand health. “People are having experiences with your brand that you have no control over. That’s the reality. We can certainly try to ask about it but there are other things that you have greater control over and experiences that are more direct,” he said. He continued by mentioning that brands have more control over experiences such as when you send a consumer a product in the mail or when they visit your website.
These experiences are tangible and controlled which allows you to get a better understanding of brand health because it offers significant value and insight, according to Zinni.
“Focus on experience. That’s what’s going to keep your car on track,” Zinni concluded before wrapping up his breakout session.
Credit: Marketing Interac