Brand Health Tracking

Brands today are constantly looking for measurement and success. Brand managers are obsessed with how much money was spent in a year and the return the brand earned with respect to the budget spent. But is tracking your brand’s expenditure & revenue all that matters? Once upon a time, maybe it was sufficient, but not anymore.

In today’s competitive environment, what the consumer thinks of your brand & product is more important than ever, since that is what delivers the differentiation your brand needs to deliver the eventual sales target. A consumer’s thought process and his perception of your brand are what make them take the final purchase decision – whether they buy your product, or that of a competitors’.

To make a successful brand, it is imperative you know more than just the size of your customer base. You need to know how your brand is performing in the mind of the consumer and identify your competitive strengths & weaknesses. We then use these findings to edit and fine tune our marketing decisions& activities.

And this is where brand health studies come into play.

WHAT IS A BRAND HEALTH TRACK?

Even if your products are moving off the shelf faster than you can stock them back, taking a step back to analyze which direction your brand is headed in, is essential to measure its performance on a forward looking basis. As brand managers, it is imperative to have a 360 degree view of the brand, consumers and competitors in the market!

A brand health tracking study gives you first hand information on your brand’s health and serves as a heads up for any changes in consumer’s perception about your brand vis-à-vis competition.

Foolish uses a brand health study to track your brand’s performance over time by analyzing how informed a consumer is about your brand, what brands does a consumer usually prefer, how frequently does a consumer use your brand, how loyal are current consumers to your brand and many such factors.

WHAT DOES A BRAND HEALTH TRACK MEASURE?

The purpose of a brand health track is to understand and evaluate how consumers and potential consumers perceive your brand.

Here are some avenues that we at Foolish track for you in our brand health track studies:

Brand Awareness – It is imperative to measure brand awareness with respect to a consumer’s potential to recall and recognize your brand. Questions like what brands come to mind when you think of a particular category tells us how well informed consumers & potential consumers are about your brand. Another aspect of awareness is to measure how ‘top of mind your’ brand is in the consumer’s mind. Did they think of your brand’s name as soon as they thought of the category (unaided recall) or did it take them cues to get to your brand (aided recall)? Brands that pop in the mind of the consumer indicate a high degree of brand equity & awareness.

Usage – This tracks the type of brands that a consumer / potential consumer currently purchases. This covers the TG’s product purchase frequency, the amount they spend on the product category, the quantity of products (amount in KGs / number of pieces per year) or even product consumption patterns over months / seasons in a year.

Brand Experience – Was the consumer happy with the purchase? This is essential since this tells you key aspects that you can build on. For example, if a consumer liked a particular product feature that you currently don’t talk about / advertise – you have your next opportunity right there! Digging deep into your consumer’s brand experience gives us insights on how the consumer’s purchase experience was, how did the consumer like using the product, how satisfied were they using the product and more such qualitative aspects.

Communication Awareness – A look into how your advertising impacted consumers and potential consumers. How exposed was the TG to your advertising activity, did they relate with your brand positioning, do they recall your advertisement, did the ad successfully influence / impact their purchase decisions.

Brand Perceptions – As a brand, you get to know what the consumer’s view is about your brand. Asking consumers qualitative questions about your brand and positioning enlightens you about how your product and brand is perceived in the market and what sort of associations do consumers have with your brand.

The ultimate goal of any brand track study is to identify and narrow down on key drivers that have the ability to make a difference to consumers’ brand choices and purchase behavior while developing marketing tactics. Looking at the larger picture, a brand health study tells you if your marketing money is being spent in the right places and whether or not the money spent are achieving the desired results. At any point, if research findings tell us otherwise, a cue can be taken as to which direction to take and plans be tweaked accordingly.

WHEN SHOULD YOU GO FOR A BRAND HEALTH TRACK?

A brand health track study involves collecting quantitative data from consumers from time to time and there are usually 2 ways in which a brand can go ahead with this. One method is to keep collecting information continuously in pre-defined intervals (can be every 2 weeks, every month, every 2 months, or whatever interval you choose). Continuous collection of consumer information gives the study a more representative picture of where the brand stands currently. One of the benefits of continuous tracking is that it lets us control / change any marketing activity that isn’t performing as well as it should.

The second method is pulsed tracking, with the study being conducted at periodic intervals which serves more as a ‘before & after’ measurement of a particular campaign or media spend. This type of a brand health study will cost less than a continuous study but also restricts the information that you derive from the study.

While budget constraints are a factor in deciding which study type your brand should opt for, some factors that Foolish looks into are general marketing activity conducted in your product category, consumer’s frequency of product purchase and level of competition in the category.

Foolish’s approach to arriving at a track study frequency is by aligning research studies to GRP’s spent. Mapping consumer scores to GRP’s tells us what the money spent actually delivered in terms of recall, ad likability and impact on future consumption. This proves extremely helpful in planning and executing media plans, another step in letting the numbers guide our decision making.