Market Research Qualitative Research

Beyond the Brand Tracker

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Stephanie Douglass

Sr. Director, Marketing and Operations

Brand is the personification of your company. Its purpose is to create an identity for your company that people can relate to. In the best of times, it is your biggest asset. In the worst of times, your biggest liability. Given that, your brand’s health is of vital import and as susceptible to neglect and poor care-taking as a person’s. To maintain a strong and powerful brand it’s important to conduct regular brand research. Not just a one-and-done brand tracker, but maintaining an ongoing commitment to measurement and tracking of your brand’s health.

To get and maintain a good pulse on your brand, your strategic brand tracking should include the following 3 health metrics:

Brand Awareness and Perception

Above all, brand research should uncover the current awareness levels of your brand. Tracking aided and un-aided awareness will determine an initial baseline you will leverage for all future brand research studies. In addition, it’s critical you get a pulse on how you measure as it compares to your competition. Beyond awareness, how is your brand perceived? How are your competitors perceived?

Exploring consumer perceptions of your competitor as well as identifying unique positive associations with your brand will uncover white space from which your brand can create a stronghold in the market.

Emotional Engagement

In this day and age, with advances in behavioral economics and technology, we are able to uncover deep, emotional underpinnings of associations with your brand and category. We can understand how your brand makes a customer feel – and not just how they say they feel.

With methodologies like metaphor elicitation, facial coding, and biometrics becoming cheaper and more accessible – market researchers are able to tease out implicit feelings and attitudes that can be analyzed alongside the articulated emotions of a consumer.  With this new metric, we can uncover even deeper associations and attitudes that a consumer may not be able to verbalize on their own adding depth and richness to our findings.

Customer Experience

Brand research should also provide intelligence around the role your brand plays in consumers’ lives. Traditionally, consumer journey mapping has been a study that brands commission separate from their brand trackers. It’s often viewed as an individual study that can offer insights into the products and processes a customer interacts with throughout their relationship with a brand. However, what is a brand if not the products themselves and individual interactions with its customers?

To deep dive into the health of your brand, you must also dive into your customer’s experience. Staying in touch with your customer’s real-world experience with your brand will allow you to innovate rather than react. You will uncover unmet needs faster and identify moments of truth in the customer’s journey that are true opportunities to connect.

Brand research is a standard and critical component of market research. Whether you want to understand the impact of your marketing strategies, uncover new insights, or develop product innovations around unmet needs, it all starts with a fundamental understanding of your brand’s role in its customer’s life.

Staying in touch with your customers’ perceptions and experiences will allow your company to focus energy on the future and creating pro-active growth strategies that align with your customers’ needs.

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