Brand Health Tracking: How To Measure + Helpful Monitoring Tools

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tools for brand health tracking

This blog explores brand health tracking - including what it is, how to measure it, and important brand health tools for monitoring over time.

 

Table of Contents 

 

 

What is brand health?

Brand health is an overall term to describe the various aspects of a brand’s performance, such as:

  1. Brand awareness/brand recall: Consumers’ ability to correctly remember or recognize a specific brand when asked about a particular product category or industry.

  2. Brand consideration: The number of current consumers considering buying the brand.

  3. Brand reputation: The brand perception consumers have in terms of its quality, reliability, credibility, and relevance (among other traits)

  4. Brand Equity: Brand equity is the intangible value and strength of a brand that can relate to its financial performance and market position (the rank and visibility within an industry).

  5. Customer Satisfaction: The degree to which a brand’s buyers are satisfied with its products, services, or customer support.

  6. Brand Loyalty: The extent that customers remain loyal to a brand and choose it repeatedly over others.


Strong performance on the metrics above forms a ‘healthy’ brand - one that attracts and retains a loyal customer base. To determine if a brand is healthy or not, brands can run brand health studies that ask respondents in their target audience for feedback on the above-mentioned aspects. Many brands opt to run these studies in the form of a tracking study, so they can monitor these data points over time and look to observe if/how they change.

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better brand health tracking webinar

 

 

 

The importance of tracking brand health

Tracking brand health is crucial for businesses as it enables them to monitor the performance of their brand over time and make informed decisions based on data that represents true customers or consumer opinions. As a result, brands can improve on areas where competitors might currently be winning while maintaining areas they're already performing well on; this makes for an efficient, strategic use of resources. 

The actual 'tracking' element of brand health tracking is key, as you can really be sure that whatever you're seeing in your data truly reflects consumer preferences - rather than just a point-in-time rise/fall in a certain metric, which could be due to market conditions or other external factors unrelated to your brand's performance. 


Aside from tracking your current performance, brand health tracking is one of the best ways to identify emerging trends in your market or category, so you can be the first to act - rather than trying to race to keep up. Knowing how consumer preferences are shifting can help adapt brand messaging, product offerings, and customer experience to best meet those changing needs. 
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Key brand health metrics 

Aside from the standard brand health metrics mentioned above, brands can capture a number of data points related to their brand performance and brand value that paint an overall picture of their health. While the below are just a few other metrics brands might want to consider measuring, it all comes down to what’s most important and valuable for a brand.

NPS (Net Promoter Score)

Net promoter score is a market research tool used to measure the likelihood that others will ‘promote’ your brand by word of mouth; NPS works by asking respondents to rate how likely they are to recommend your brand on a scale of 0-10.

Respondents that select a score of 0-6 are considered ‘detractors’ - unlikely to convince someone else to buy your products or services. Those that rate your brand a 7-8 are ‘passives’ - neither likely nor unlikely to promote your products or services. Respondents that rate your brand a 9-10 on the NPS question are your ‘promoters’. These are the consumers that are believed to actively recommend your products or services to others.

Share of Voice (SOV)

Share of Voice (SOV) is a metric that measures the relative visibility, reach, exposure, and engagement a brand has within its market. It can be thought of as the percentage of the total industry that’s ‘owned’ by that brand in terms of advertising, communications, or other media materials.

Share of Voice is important for brands to understand because it puts into context where they stand in relation to competitors. By monitoring changes in SOV over time (say, in a brand health tracking study), brand marketers can assess the effectiveness of their advertising campaigns, identify emerging trends relative to their business goals, and make data-driven decisions to optimize their existing and future marketing strategies.

Purchase Intent

Purchase intent measures the likelihood or probability that a consumer will make a purchase from a specific brand within a certain timeframe.

Purchase intent is an important metric for brands to measure and monitor over time so they can gauge the effectiveness of marketing strategies, product positioning, pricing decisions, and overall brand perception. Not only that, but it also helps to monitor a brand’s supply chain based on the rise and fall of purchase intent metrics as your revenue generally relies on the purchase (or lack of) of your products/services.

Using an online market research survey or qualitative focus group, brands can ask respondents about their likelihood to consider, recommend, or purchase one of their products or services. High purchase intent suggests a healthy brand; it indicates that consumers perceive the brand positively, find value in its products or services, and are motivated to make a purchase decision in the future.

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How to measure brand health 

Measuring brand health helps businesses understand how consumers think about their brand - including their products or services. As a result, brands can determine if their current brand strategy is effective for achieving company goals, or if they need to focus on areas for improvement.

There’s not one single way to measure brand health - though the approaches below are a few commonly used formats:

Online Surveys and Focus Groups

One of the easiest and most efficient ways to collect high-quality consumer feedback about your brand’s performance is through market research surveys - be it online quantitative studies or qualitative focus groups.

Using an online survey, brands can ask their target audience to provide numeric feedback (i.e. rating scales, ranking questions, multi- and single-select lists, etc.) on the above-mentioned brand health metrics (brand awareness, brand recall, brand reputation, purchase intent, and so on). With these results, brands are able to put together quantitative charts into a final deliverable like a dashboard or PowerPoint report to present data-backed insights to key stakeholders. When running an online brand health survey, many brands opt to turn their study into a tracking project to easily identify consumer shifts as they arise. With this approach, the same study is run on a regular cadence (monthly, quarterly, yearly, etc), as these work as timeframes to compare benchmark data against.

Focus groups are another great way to measure brand health - either in-person or through an online video research tool. These qualitative means of measurement allow brands to receive detailed feedback about their brand in consumers’ own words. During a focus group, a brand’s designated moderator might ask respondents which brands in the ‘x’ category they’re aware of, which they’d consider buying...and why, and why they may or may not be satisfied with the brand. Qualitative feedback is great to use in partnership with quantitative studies to add some color to your numeric findings and further explore the ‘why’ behind consumer decisions.

Brand Awareness Campaign

Because brand health is a measure of a brand’s visibility, recognition, and familiarity among its target audience, a brand awareness campaign dedicated to improving these metrics is a great way to see where your brand health stands.

Brand awareness campaigns typically involve a combination of tactics across various marketing channels, such as television, radio, print, digital advertising, social media, public relations, and experiential marketing. Within the marketing collateral on these mediums, brands would communicate their brand’s value proposition, unique attributes, key offerings, and more, to see where those metrics currently stand (as a benchmark for brand health) and eventually how those metrics improve over time (in a tracking study).

If metrics are steadily improving over time, that means your brand is doing a solid job at building and maintaining its brand health in the eyes of consumers.

Website and Social Listening 

Another way to measure brand health is by monitoring your website traffic and social for insights into consumer perceptions, sentiments, and interactions with your brand.

Brands can track their website traffic with tools like Google Analytics to monitor the number of visitors, page views, and session durations on their website. If traffic is high and visit duration is long, that suggests healthy brand interest and strong brand engagement. Brands can also measure brand health by the number of other sources that are driving traffic back to their site. If other brands are referencing your company in their content or on their social media platforms, or your posts are appearing at the top of search engine results pages, it means you’re doing something right. Your brand health is strong enough to be noticed by others - Google included.

Aside from monitoring website traffic and backlinks, there are several social listening tools on the market that allow brands to monitor actual brand mentions, hashtags, keywords, and other key brand metrics across social platforms. Social listening might even lead a brand to identify influencer partnerships that can help them further improve their brand health.

By leveraging websites and social listening, brands can gain valuable insights into their brand health. These insights help identify areas for improvement and guide decision-making processes.

Customer Feedback

One of the simplest ways to understand brand health is to listen to your customers! While this approach to brand health won’t come with numeric values or key metrics like online surveys or website monitoring, it is highly valuable in hearing from consumers in their own terms - unsolicited.

Start by monitoring online reviews and ratings for your brand. Look at sites like Yelp, Google Reviews, or industry-specific publications like CNET to see what consumers are saying about your brand. While it’s ideal to have positive customer reviews, it can go a long way to engage with reviews that are negative - asking that customer to reach out to your customer service team or to somehow make things right. If your brand is genuinely invested in its customer feedback, it should start to positively impact brand reputation - a key part of brand health.

Social media is another great tool for gathering customer feedback - given how frequently consumers are on social platforms every day. Use polling features to ask consumers for feedback on anything from flavor or scent preferences to usage and behavior questions about a particular product. Use the real-time feedback from your consumers to guide your brand’s product development or marketing processes.

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What causes a decline in brand health?

Several factors can contribute to a decline in brand health - either rapidly or over a long period of time. Below are a few scenarios that might cause your brand health to decline.

  1. Negative customer experiences: It goes without saying that negative customer experiences such as poor customer service or damaged/faulty products, can negatively impact brand health. These experiences often lead to negative word-of-mouth and public reviews on social media or other websites that will damage a brand's reputation and thus, its overall brand health.

  2. Consumer trends: Brands that fail to stay relevant and meet evolving consumer needs may experience a decline in brand health over time. Brands today need to always be monitoring the latest consumer trends and making a plan to innovate new products or services based around them. If brands fail to do so, consumers are going to look elsewhere (aka, competitors).

  3. Increased competition: Few brands today have the luxury of dominating any particular market. There is always going to be competition - in fact, increasingly so, and brands need to somehow figure out how to differentiate their offerings to maintain market share. If competitors offer more appealing products, better pricing, or stronger marketing strategies, it will be tough for consumers not to switch.

  4. Brand inconsistencies: Brand health can suffer when a brand deviates from its core values and loses its brand identity. Inconsistent branding, disjointed marketing campaigns, confusing messaging, or a lack of clear positioning can confuse consumers and weaken the brand's image and perception.

  5. Lack of communication or engagement: Brands that fail to effectively communicate with their audience or engage with customers through various channels may experience a decline in brand health. Inadequate or inconsistent messaging, neglecting customer feedback, or lacking a strong online presence can result in decreased brand awareness and customer satisfaction.

  6. Decreased or ceased advertising efforts: Similar to the above in terms of engagement with consumers, if brands cut back on their advertising or stop advertisement campaigns altogether, consumers will have less exposure to the brand, fewer ‘prompts’ to check out or buy the brand, and thus, brand health could suffer.

  7. Negative publicity or controversies: Negative publicity, scandals, or controversies surrounding a brand or its leadership can have a significant impact on brand health. Public perception of your brand can quickly shift, leading to a loss of trust, consumer boycotts, or negative sentiment that affects brand preference and loyalty.

  8. Economic factors: Economic downturns, recessions, inflation, or other changes in consumer spending habits can affect brand health. During challenging economic times, consumers may prioritize value for money or opt for lower-priced alternatives, leading to decreased brand loyalty and reduced sales - in turn affecting brand health.


To avoid or manage declines in brand health, brands should focus on addressing these above issues proactively. Stay in touch with consumers, prioritize customer service and strong communication, stay on top of industry trends and competitors, and respond to dynamic markets as much as possible.
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How to diagnose and fix brand health 

Although there are several factors that can cause a decline in brand health (some of which are out of your control) there are steps you can take to get it back on track.

Diagnose what is causing declining brand health 

The first step to fixing declining brand health is to diagnose the problem. If you don’t already have a market research tracking study in place, that’s step one. You need to have an ongoing pulse of your consumers to understand what might be contributing to declining brand health. Look at key metrics like brand awareness, customer satisfaction, brand reputation, and purchase intent to see if there’s been a significant change.

Next, look into competitor data to see if their performance could be impacting your own brand health metrics. Has a competitor recently introduced a new product or service? Did they lower their prices? Are they available in new stores?

Once you’ve looked into your market research data for consumer trends and patterns, look internally at sales data and other performance metrics to see if that might be contributing to the decline in brand health. Analyze your sales figures, market share, and revenue targets to assess how your brand is performing in the market. Declining sales or market share can be indicative of underlying brand health issues.

Outline a strategy to improve brand health

Once you’ve diagnosed the issue that’s causing your decline in brand health, you can begin strategizing on how to fix it.

Below are a few examples on how to strategize, depending on what you find is contributing to your brand health decline:


- Customer Satisfaction
- If your diagnosis pointed to customer satisfaction as a contributor to declining brand health, focus efforts on improving customer interactions. Depending on your specific business and what makes sense for your operations, consider enabling a customer service chat feature, setting up a dedicated customer service phone line, responding to customer reviews or complaints on your website or social media pages, or closely managing your customer service email inbox.


- Declining market share -If you’ve noticed a decline in market share - perhaps due to competitor activity or a change in consumer trends, it could be a good idea to strategize with your research and development team to brainstorm new product or service ideas that can compete in the market. A segmentation could be useful in this case to understand consumer needs. Maybe consumers are looking for an all-organic line of products or sustainable packaging. Focusing on these needs to craft new offerings can help build back market share over time.


- Inconsistent branding - If your diagnostic market research points to inconsistent branding, you need to work with the marketing team to create a focused campaign. This might involve rebranding company colors, logos, advertising collateral, or general brand elements (fonts, images, etc.). Once you establish your core branding, everything that comes after should incorporate these elements so that when a consumer sees your branded products or advertisements, there’s no question about who it belongs to.


Whatever your specific areas of improvement may be, a solid strategy and plan forward will get you one step closer to better brand health.

Measure the progress against actions taken

After diagnosing the problem and strategizing on improving your brand health, you’ll have to measure how well your strategy is working. You’ll want to track brand health over time as a way to capture initial benchmark data once you start acting on your proposed strategy and then measure improvement after a few weeks or months.

If your brand health metrics begin to rise, you know your strategy is working. If not, it might be time to go back to steps 1 or 2 and either diagnose a different area that might be having a bigger impact on brand health than you originally thought, or, come up with a new strategy for your initial diagnosis.
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Brand health monitoring tools  

Below is a list of tools to use to effectively monitor brand health.

quantilope

quantilope’s Consumer Intelligence Platform is equipped to monitor brand health in a number of ways. Run your studies on your own using a DIY approach, Do-It-Together (DIT) with quantilope’s team of certified research consultants, or have your study fully managed by your dedicated quantilope research consulting team.

As respondents complete your survey on quantilope’s panel agnostic, end-to-end platform, watch your brand metrics populate charts in real-time to act quickly on brand insights. Monitor these metrics over time by setting new waves of a tracking study live with the click of your mouse. All charts come with automated significance testing that users can see by simply hovering over each data point.

Google Alerts

Google Alerts is a free online tool that notifies brands via email anytime their brand name or specific keywords have been indexed by Google search bots.

By setting up a Google Alert for your brand name, you can keep track of online mentions and discussions about your brand. This can help you stay informed about what people are saying, whether it's a positive or negative sentiment, and allows you to respond or take appropriate actions as needed.

Google Alerts is a great way to stay informed, monitor your brand, track industry trends, and manage your online presence more effectively.

Brandwatch

Brandwatch is a great tool specific to social media monitoring. Using Brandwatch, brands can leverage sentiment analysis to understand how consumers are talking about their brand (positively or negatively) on social media and monitor trends relevant to their industry.

Because consumer interaction is a huge part of brand health, Brandwatch allows brands to connect with influencers, engage in consumer conversations, and see how consumers are interacting with key competitors. Brands can also use this tool to monitor the performance of their marketing campaigns and see if they’re positively impacting brand health metrics.

Above we learned that factors like the state of the economy or consumer experiences can strongly impact brand health. Using a tool like Brandwatch allows brands to stay on top of potential crises or reputation issues. Brands can quickly respond to negative sentiments, address customer concerns, and manage their reputation effectively. This helps in mitigating damage and maintaining a positive brand image over time.

Reputology

Reputology is a unique tool that focuses on monitoring and managing online reviews. It helps businesses track customer feedback across various review platforms (i.e. Yelp, TripAdvisor, etc.) and consolidate all those reviews into one dashboard for easy analysis.

From the dashboard, brands can respond directly to reviews to engage with their customers, address concerns, and show appreciation for positive feedback. Similar to Google Alerts, Reputology provides real-time alerts and notifications when new reviews are posted so brands can stay on top of their reputation management.
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Emerging trends in brand health tracking

Brand health tracking is a classic and age-old form of research - but it's constantly evolving. Today's businesses can leverage modern and emerging elements in their trackers such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), social media listening, and real-time data access to make informed decisions at the speed they need. 

 

Traditional brand health trackers include the typical brand funnel metrics - awareness, consideration, and usage. These are fine metrics but can often leave brands with outstanding questions - why are consumers considering certain brands? What brings consumers to a particular category in the first place? It's questions like these that led Jenni Romaniuk (Professor at the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute) to develop the Better Brand Health Tracking (BBHT) approach. 

Better Brand Health Tracking starts with Category Entry Points - the 'prompts' that lead consumers to a category in the first place; for example, 'going on vacation' is a Category Entry Point (CEP) for buying sunscreen. So as a sunscreen brand, you might want to really focus on elements of 'vacation' in your marketing or branding efforts. Once a shopper is in the category, that's when Mental Availability and Mental Advantage come into play - two other key concepts of Better Brand Health Tracking. Mental Availability measures which actual brands come to mind in these CEP shopping scenarios (e.g. Banana Boat, Neutrogena, etc.). Mental Advantage is when a brand in a category performs better than expected, given the brand's size and how 'typical' a certain attribute or CEP is to the category at large. Each of these analyses - Mental Availability and Mental Advantage - give brands a much more actionable takeaway than standard U&A metrics alone. 

quantilope offers its platform users many types of tracking capabilities - BBHT included. 
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Case studies and real-world examples

As an example of how Better Brand Health Tracking works (as highlighted above), quantilope ran a study within the soda category to understand how Diet Coke (focus brand) stacks up against nine key competitors: Coca-Cola, Dr. Pepper, Pepsi, Fanta, 7-UP, Mountain Dew, Red Bull, Diet Pepsi, and Sprite. 

First, a Single Implicit Association Test (SIAT) narrowed down a list of Category Entry Points to use in the official BBHT tracking study. These CEPs included 'thirst quenching', 'BBQ', 'Movie/TV evening at home', 'Family gathering' and so on. Respondents within the study then chose which of the 10 soda brands (if any) 'fit' with each of the CEPs shown - resulting in four major Mental Availability Metrics: Mental Market Share, Mental Penetration, Network Size, and Share of Mind. Notably, Diet Coke's Mental Market Share aligns with its real-world market share according to Statista (8%).  For more on these metrics and additional study findings, check out this post in quantilope's BBHT blog series. 

Additionally, check out how Edmunds - an online resource for new and used vehicles leveraged a real-time tracking study with quantilope to collect ongoing consumer insights around the car buying experience to shape their brand strategies and iterate as needed.

As Jessica Caldwell, Director of Consumer Insights at Edmunds puts it: 

 

“The fact that we can take learnings and apply them quickly makes a huge difference. As more stakeholders get familiar with quantilope, they can see for themselves how quickly we can get insights back (and pivot if need be) which has impressed a lot of colleagues” 
 - Jessica Caldwell, Director of Consumer Insights

 

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Using quantilope for automated brand health measurement

quantilope is the only end-to-end platform on the market to offer 12 automated advanced methods and a modernized brand tracker for your brand health measurement.

With real-time access to results, automatically-updated charting, a simple tracking setup, and easily shareable dashboards, you’ll set yourself up to monitor and act on metrics that will grow your brand health while keeping brand managers and stakeholders happy. In fact, hear directly from one of quantilope’s clients on how they leveraged the platform to identify and act on new trends in this case study.

Whether you’re looking to improve brand positioning, diagnose brand strength in your industry, perform an in-depth analysis into customer satisfaction, reach new customers, measure a brand's success, or generally monitor key brand KPIs over time, quantilope is your research platform.

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Brand health tracking FAQs

  • What does a brand health tracking process look like?

Brand health tracking typically starts with defining the brand health metrics you'd like to monitor over time - such as brand awareness, brand perception, customer satisfaction, and mental market share (to name a few). Once you determine your metrics, you can begin to actually build and program your study. This can be done using a traditional research agency (whose team will likely take care of this step for you), or, you can choose to be more hands-on with a platform like quantilope where you can easily drag & drop questions and advanced methods into your questionnaire in just seconds.

When your study is ready to go live, it's time to set up your first wave and connect to a respondent panel. As you collect respondent data, you can monitor your insights in real-time if you use a hands-on platform like quantilope. This is great for getting an initial read on your brand health metrics and to start formulating ideas for reporting charts. With quantilope, you can even start to build these charts, with new data automatically updating the metrics throughout the course of fieldwork. 

While you're in field, along with after fieldwork is over, dig into your data by cutting your brand health metrics by subsections of your audience and 'splitting' interesting metrics among other variables to get a more detailed read (such as the total sample's brand awareness, split by age groups). 

Your first wave is your baseline; this serves as a benchmark to refer future-wave data back to and look for lifts, declines, or steadiness. When it's time for a new wave, simply add another wave to your fielding tab (in quantilope's platform), or reach out to your agency partner to begin the next wave process. As you collect new-wave data, see how metrics are trending over time and take action based on those findings (e.g. shifting marketing strategy, developing new products, enhancing customer service, and so on). 

Regardless of how you run your tracking study and which partner you choose to run it with, the key to tracking is consistency. Regularly monitor your brand health metrics in evenly spaced increments (i.e. every month, quarter, year) to track the progress of your efforts and to ultimately improve your brand health.

  • How frequently should you track brand health?

The cadence of your brand health tracking study depends on your brand's unique needs, resources, and objectives. It can also depend heavily on the type of brand and what they're tracking. For example, a mattress brand isn't in that volatile of an industry; mattresses aren't coming out with new versions, colors, etc. the way perhaps a yogurt brand is coming out with new flavors, consistencies, brand partnerships, and more. This is all to say, a mattress brand might only need to track brand health metrics once a year, while a yogurt brand might want to track brand health metrics much more frequently. 

Whether your brand chooses to run a tracker every month, every quarter, bi-annually, or once a year, try to plan your waves around major product/service launches, business strategy shifts, public announcements, etc., to see how much those activities impact your brand health metrics. 

  • Where can I learn more about Better Brand Health Tracking?  

In this blog we touched on Better Brand Health Tracking - the approach that comes from esteemed Professor Jenni Romaniuk's work at the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute for Marketing Science (author of Better Brand Health and How Brands Grow Part 2). Better Brand Health explores the new and validated way to track brand health - grounded in years of empirical research and a must-read for anyone looking to adopt the approach for the brand tracking efforts. 

Those interested can also learn more about how quantilope adopted this approach in a six-post blog series starting here. The series includes everything from the basics of BBHT to specific analyses such as Mental Advantage

 

 

To learn more about quantilope’s Consumer Intelligence Platform and how your brand can leverage it to grow and maintain brand health metrics, get in touch below!

Get in touch to learn more about brand health tracking with quantilope!

 

 

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