Why might you do it?
1. What do people know about and think of my brand?
2. What effect does spending money have on my brand?
3. How do I make this spending more efficient?
Tracking: The bread and butter of quantitative research.
Sadly, as it is often seen as part of the fundamentals and something everyone has, tracking has become more and more standardised – something we feel is completely wrong. The alternative that we see quite often is looking exclusively commercial aspects and a direct ROI. Whilst we actively encourage brands to use the commercials as a big part of the puzzle when it comes to judging impact (this makes great sense), there is a lot of evidence to show that the investment in the brand may take a longer time to pay off, but ultimately will make the biggest differences in profits in the long term. The challenge here is that if we only focus on commercials, a lower immediate payoff becomes dismissive of progress and, fundamentally, what is actually best for the brand. A brand tracker allows us to see the brand progress much sooner, allowing a view on business progress.
Consider the below model of brand growth out forward by Field and Binet:
Without brand tracking, brands will often focus on sales activation over brand building as the wider business applies pressure to ‘show results’. Ironically, this is completely against what is best for both the brand and wider business in the long term. There is also evidence to show that effective use of brand tracking is accretive when used in conjunction with this kind of thinking, as it allows the entire business to step back and take a view of the bigger picture. For this reason, we suggest that any brand has a brand tracker at least once a year to keep an eye on the health of their brand, as well as the wider competitive context.
We also champion using tracking to take a step back and consider the bigger picture, looking at what has changed in the past 12 months (or less) that we want to understand. As such, we advocate flexibility in tracking – if the core metrics hold, we usually suggest that 10% of the questionnaire can be used to swing between topics that are current that need greater clarity. By allowing this flexibility to sit alongside brand health metrics, we can ensure that the tracker remains relevant and up to date for the business.
Qualitative Research Methods
Want to dig a bit deeper? Often the best way to understand something is to just ask why. This simple thought process can lead to fascinating and rich insights. Take a look at some of the ways we approach this kind of work.