How To Create a Brand Tracking Survey

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mrx glossary brand tracking study

This blog post will cover how to create an effective brand tracking survey to closely understand brand awareness, brand perception, and more.

 

 


 

Table of Contents: 

 

What is brand tracking? 

Brand tracking research is the consistent monitoring of quantitative consumer data to identify how consumer sentiments may be shifting over time. This form of research provides brands with a continuous measure of important key metrics to guide their business strategies. 

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What is a brand tracking survey?

Unlike ad hoc studies which are run just once, brand tracking studies are run at evenly spaced intervals, which might be every month, every quarter, or every year - depending on what makes the most sense for a business’ product/service.

 

Tracking studies often include survey questions focused on key metrics that help inform a brand where they are performing well or where they need to improve, such as brand awareness, brand consideration, brand satisfaction, brand loyalty, and any other metric that provides insight into overall brand health.

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Benefits of brand tracking surveys

Brands can come back to their brand tracker results at any time to remember how consumers reacted to certain marketing strategies, price changes, or promotional campaigns (and repeat or change that activity depending on the outcome). In this way, brand tracking studies are helpful for real-time insights, historic insights, and future insights. 

 

Below are a few specific benefits of running a brand tracking study as part of your brand strategy:

 

1. Instantly capture new data findings

Once initially set up, brand tracking studies are fairly simple to repeat - and oftentimes, there are no changes required at all each time you run the study. This means brands have a reliable and real-time capture of brand associations, with very little (if any) manual work required each time the tracker goes live. For this reason, many brands opt to run an ongoing tracker while also running interim ad-hoc studies as needed. This way, they can supplement their specific ad hoc research findings with brand tracking metrics to build an even richer story.

 

2. Gather extensive data

With each new wave of data you run in your brand tracking study, your insights become that much richer. Extensive data makes it easier to identify changes in your consumers' perceptions - by seeing noticeable lifts or declines in a metric compared to prior waves. On the flip side, seeing minimal or no changes in your data over time can signal a stable and healthy brand performance. 

 

That’s the beauty of a brand tracker with extensive data points; it not only provides an overall glimpse into your consumers at a point in time, but it can also act as a benchmark to quickly identify consumer shifts and act on them - something you wouldn’t be able to notice as clearly in a one-off study.

 

3. Measure the effectiveness of your strategy 

Say you’ve just launched a new social media campaign, placed a new product on the shelves, or changed a product’s packaging. You can measure how consumers feel about these things - but in comparison to what?

 

Building on the point above with regards to extensive data, you can think of brand tracking data as snapshots in time. You can see how the introduction of a new product impacts your brand awareness compared to prior to the launch. Similarly, you can see if purchase consideration or brand usage goes up following the launch of an advertising campaign relative to your brand tracking metrics before the campaign went live. If your new wave of brand tracking metrics looks good, you know your strategy (be it pricing, advertising, product packaging, or something else) was well-received among your target consumers. If brand metrics dropped after making changes to your strategy, it could be beneficial to circle back to the drawing board and devise new strategies.

 

4. Measure the impact of competitor activity

In addition to measuring the health of your own brand through a brand tracker, you can also keep track of competitor brand performance which is invaluable in creating a brand strategy. By understanding your category and how certain shifts or events affect perceptions of both your brand and those of competitors, you will start to see how different tactics and strategies achieve high (or low) scores on different KPIs.

For example, if your key competitor has recently launched a new advertising campaign, pay attention to their metrics in the next wave of your tracker. If key metrics rise for this brand right after the launch of their campaign, this signals that your target consumers responded well to their efforts and will provide an idea on how to best reach this audience in your own future campaigns (be it humor, music, celebrity appearances, etc.). 

 

5. Uncover new areas for market research exploration

As mentioned above, sometimes brand tracking studies can show interesting lifts or declines in data points that signal something has changed. These changes might spur an idea for a new form of research that a brand can supplement its tracking data with.

 

Say for example a brand saw that satisfaction for a close competitor significantly increased in their most recent brand tracker results. A follow-up implicit or conjoint study might help decipher which specific aspects of the competitor’s products are preferred, or unveil subconscious associations that might help explain the shift.


As another example, say your brand image has been struggling in the past few months or quarters of your brand tracking study. Running an A/B test on a new logo design or marketing campaign idea might help understand which areas to focus on to build brand image back up.

 

6. Understand ROI

Companies are constantly investing in their brand and need to understand their ROI. Data can be measured through behavioral metrics such as online clicks, but this type of data doesn’t provide further context on how your overall brand is being perceived or why it’s performing the way that it is.


In tracking data over time, brands can more deeply understand how their strategies, actions, and use of budget is impacting their bottom line.

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How to approach a brand tracking survey

The first thing to do when planning a brand tracking survey is to decide which metrics you want to track. There are some standard aspects that most brands tend to track, all of which give a reliable snapshot of your brand’s performance at any moment in time:

 

  • Brand awareness: how aware consumers are of your brand
    • Brand attributes: the various characteristics that contribute to consumers’ brand perceptions
  • Brand usage: how often and on which occasions consumers are using your brand
  • Brand purchase: how often and on which occasions consumers are purchasing your brand
  • Purchase intent: how likely consumers are to buy your brand in the future
  • NPS: (net promoter score) - how likely consumers are to recommend your brand to other people

Understanding each of the above metrics (especially over time) creates a foundation for you to build off of. If perceptions of these metrics are generally negative, you know which areas to start taking action on. If metrics are positive or unchanged, you can focus on ways to maintain customer loyalty. 

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Examples of brand tracking questions

Once you’ve decided on the scope of your brand tracking survey, it’s time to formulate questions. Here are some examples of the types of questions you might want to ask:

  • Brand awareness:

    Questions should focus on brand recall by asking respondents to come up with brands unprompted. For example: ‘When you think of dog food, which brands come to mind?’

    Responses will indicate how top-of-mind your brand is (as well as how top-of-mind your main competitors are) so that you know which competitors you need to closely watch.
    • Brand attributes:

      To gather the characteristics that consumers naturally associate with brands in your category, it is useful to ask open-ended questions like: ‘Which words would you use to describe your ideal dog food?’ or ‘Which words would you use to describe a dog food that you would not buy?

      Once you have a list of attributes to use in measuring your brand’s performance, you can ask consumers which of those attributes they associate with your brand as well as with competitor brands. Such attributes might include: nutritionally well-balanced, wholesome, easy to use, crafted by experts, expensive, cheap, or low quality. 
  • Brand usage:

    Perhaps you’re interested in how often your product is used compared to other products (i.e. do dog owners have a repertoire of loyal brands or do they stick to only using one?) To find out, a brand usage question might simply ask: ‘How often do you use the following brands?’

    The setup could look like a list of brands down the side of the page, with frequencies such as: daily, 2-3 times per week, once per week, etc., across the top of the page. Be sure the list of brands down the side is in a multi-select format so that a respondent can select more than one brand they use if applicable. 
  • Brand purchase:

    Brand purchase questions might look similar to brand usage questions, such as: ‘How often do you purchase the following brands?’ with a list of brands down the side and frequencies across the top.  Alternatively, you might want to phrase the question as: ‘Which of the following brands do you purchase regularly?’ or ‘Which of the following brands have you bought in the past X years?’

    Understanding consumer behavior in this area will not only reveal customer loyalty but will also provide a benchmark against which purchase intent can be measured after a marketing initiative has been launched.
  • Purchase intent:

    To ask whether consumers are planning to buy your brand, ask a question like: ‘How likely are you to buy the following brands in the future?’

    You can narrow this down to more specific timescales such as ...‘in the next month’ or '...in the next year’. This information will help you time brand campaigns according to purchase plans.
  • NPS:

    Knowing whether your brand is regarded highly enough for it to be recommended to others is a good overall measure of customer satisfaction. Simple questions such as: ‘How likely are you to recommend brand X to friends and family?’ can be used for NPS. 

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Sample and timing

As well as knowing what to ask in your brand tracking survey, you’ll need to know who to ask. Pinning down the demographics of consumers who buy from your category can be done by analyzing any existing consumer data that you own or conducting an ad hoc survey to collect it.

 

Companies that operate in a fast-moving competitive environment or who are in a period of rapid growth tend to conduct brand tracking studies every quarter. Other companies should consider conducting them at least once or twice per year.

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quantilope’s approach to brand tracking

Businesses need to keep a constant pulse on their consumers to help shape their sales and marketing strategies effectively and to build an overall strong brand reputation.

 

quantilope’s automated online survey platform is designed to suit all your brand tracking needs. Its intuitive drag-and-drop questionnaire functionality makes creating surveys quick and easy, and the platform even has templates specially designed to help ensure you include the right questions to measure your KPIs. quantilope’s fielding section of the platform displays real-time results so that you can monitor each wave of your tracking research as it progresses - and even begin to analyze your metrics before fielding is complete. quantilope’s automated charting tools allow you to quickly generate visuals with custom data cuts and interactive statistical testing to share with colleagues and stakeholders in a dashboard format.

 

Ready to get started on building your own brand tracker? Get in touch for a brand tracking demo below: 

Request a brand tracking demo!

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