Knowing what is brand tracking and the steps to brand tracking is just the first step. There are different attributes of brand tracking, some could be useful, some might add little value, depending on your brand.
So, here, we wanted to point out what are the 6 dimensions we can look at when doing brand tracking so all of us can select what's useful and not for our next study.
Dimension #1 - Brand Awareness and Usage
To understand the success of a brand is to understand the consumers’ opinions on our brand. The best type of brand awareness are those that become proprietary eponyms, the alpha dog of brands. We want people to associate items with our brand.
Ask me for a Kleenex and not a tissue, ask me for a Coca Cola and not a soda. We want our brand to be the first our consumers think of and the only brand they consider over and over again.
For that to occur, people have to be aware of our brand and there must be a high usage rate. To understand the level our brand is at, we have to use brand tracking.
Understand the level of familiarity consumers have with our product and if they do not have that familiarity, establish a brand trial with them.
A good brand awareness is when both brand recognition and brand recall are strong.
Brand recognition is when your consumers are able to confirm their previous exposure to our brand from just a normal cue while brand recall is when consumers are able to name our brand from memory with just a product category as a cue.
Questions we can ask:
- What brand of phones are you aware of?
- What is the brand of the phone you are currently using?
- Which brand of handset do you consider using or buying?
- If you need to buy a phone tomorrow, which one would you go for?
- Have you heard of [product]? [establish familiarity]
- Have you used [product]? [establish trial]
Dimension #2 -Brand Imagery
The image of our brand is the promise of our brand. Brand imagery is the tangible or intangible elements that consumers associate with a brand. It comes from the 5 senses of a human; visual, auditory, olfactory, tactile and oral and it differs for each consumer. What we want to achieve is a positive image :)
The image we want for our brand depends highly on the objective and target market of our product. For example, if we are targeting a high end market, we would want our brand to have the luxurious, extravagant kind of image. If our brand has the objective of being a normal everyday object, we would want our brand to have a more approachable image.
The best kind of brand imagery is when people associate our brand image to our users too such as people who drives Volkswagen prioritise safety. If we wish to change our image to one that best suits your company’s objective, we will have to first understand the image that our brand has in the eyes of the public and this can be achieved through brand tracking.
The 4 dimensions of brand image is explained by BrandAsset Valuator, a model produced by Young & Rubicam. According to BrandAsset Valuator, the 4 dimensions are brand’s perceived differentiation, brand’s relevance, brand’s knowledge and brand’s esteem.
Questions we can ask:
- To what extent do you admire and respect people using [product]?
- How much do you like people using [product]?
- How well do each of the following words describe [product]?
- Please list the quality of the users of [product].
Things we need to know
- The qualities of the products in the same industry
- The words our consumers use to describe us
- The words our consumers use to describe our competitors
Dimension #3 -Brand Feelings
Titanic would always go down (literally) as the most tragic romance movie of all time while Coca Cola would be known as the “happiness” drink for their famous tagline “open happiness” as well as the company that brought us the epitome image of childhood happiness, Santa Claus.
We should want our brand to be associated with these type of strong emotions. Regardless if it causes rage or causes “depression” (as people like to put it lightly these days), it helps with our brand recognition and is commonly known as emotional branding.
It’s difficult to change the emotion consumers have towards our product, which is why we have to get it right the first time. If we are able to get our customers to be emotionally connected to our product, we would always have recurring sales despite having minor setbacks.
To ensure our brand continuity, we should be very certain about the feelings our brand ignites in our consumers so that we do not continue marketing a product that is negatively viewed by the users which will end up causing our company’s overall image to fall.
Things you need to know:
- Does our [product] give our consumers a feeling of….happiness, sadness, safety, etc?
- When people think about our company or product, what are the feelings and associations we want them to have? Are they unique? Can we “own” them?
- What are the emotional benefits that only we deliver to our customers?
- The list of emotions our brand wants to associate with.
- Do they think of this feelings occasionally or every time?
Dimension #4 -Brand Resonance
Brand resonance is the dimension that talks about the relationship consumers have with the product and how well he can relate to it. This dimension arises from a model called Keller’s Brand Equity Model which states that to build a strong brand, we must shape how our customers think and feel about our product. The model states that only when our customers have specific, positive thoughts, feelings, beliefs, opinions and perceptions about our product, will we achieve brand equity which is the commercial value of our product.
Brand resonance is achieved when we achieve 4 things, behavioural loyalty, attitudinal attachment, sense of community and active engagement.
Behavioural loyalty is when our consumers are so loyal to our brand that they would never consider another brand of the same product.
Attitudinal attachment is when our customers see the purchase of our brand as a special purchase.
Sense of community is similar to brand feelings when our consumers feel a sense of belonging when they own a product that majority of the public owns.
Active engagement is the most intense form of brand loyalty where consumers are actively engaged in our brand even though they are not the individual purchasing or consuming it.
To climb up the next stage of Keller’s Brand Equity Model hierarchy, we should first understand our current and potential customer’s current brand loyalty. This is where brand tracking comes in. Once we have an understanding of our current brand loyalty, our goal would be to achieve the next level of brand loyalty with the ultimate goal being active engagement.
Things you want to know:
- Whether our consumers buy our product whenever they can
- Whether our consumers would go out of their way to buy our product
- Whether our consumers join our products’ newsletter/fan accounts and user chat sites.
- Whether our consumers consider themselves loyal to our brand
- Whether our consumers would only choose our product and no one else's.
- Whether our consumers feel that our product is easy to consume.
Dimension #5 -Brand Judgement
It takes only 7 seconds to form a first impression on someone, brands are no exception of this rule.
Consumer’s make accurate judgement with surprising speed and sensitivity based on relevancy of the product to the consumer’s circumstances. Customers would judge where one product falls in comparison of another product and it can be based on actual interaction or perceived reputation.
Brand judgement is the general public’s overall opinion on our product in terms of superiority, price worth, satisfaction and whether it is favourable in comparison to existing market competitors.
Questions you can ask:
- How favourable is your attitude towards [product]?
- How well does [product] satisfy your needs?
- How likely would you recommend [product] to others?
- Is [product] worth the price?
- What do you like best about [product]?
- To what extent is [product] superior to other brands?
Dimension #6 -Brand Perception
Brand perception are illusory consumer sentiments and customer impressions that are driven by emotion. However, different from brand feeling where we wish to ignite the most positive feeling in our consumers, brand perception is neutral.
In brand perception, we want to know our consumers’ feelings regardless of whether it is positive or negative. It is to gauge how our consumers feel about a brand, how they respond to it, talk about it, and interact with it.
Brand perception is triggered by 8 factors; emotion, individuality, communication, social influence, competitiveness, innovation, leadership and durability and comfort and inspiration. These 8 factors will determine whether our brand can emerge as the top brand in our industry.
However, be warn that when we are a food and beverage company, our brand perception is influenced largely by the information our consumers are fed before they try our product. It has been tested that when you try to gain market share through taste tests, it is largely influenced by the brain. Dan Ariely described in the book “predictably irrational” that the pre-frontal cortex responsible for higher order brain functions activates when it is given information (being told that this brand is better) and can override part of the brain that reacts to taste. Thus, think twice and weigh your options before we react to a competitor’s taste test results.
Questions to ask:
- What are the 3 words that come to mind when you think of our brand?
- What do you think our brand does?
- Compared with our competitors, what advantages made you choose our brand?
- If this brand were a person, who would it be?
- What is this brand missing?
- Why would you recommend this brand to other people?
Conclusion is, brand tracking is an important marketing tool and we should not shy away from it as it can bring us many benefits such as:
- Being able to retain customer loyalty
- Lower marketing cost if you use the right tool
- Showing customers that you pay attention to their needs
- Keep track of the success or failure of your strategies
- Increase in market share
- Improve employee morale as business transactions become smoother
- Support brand extension
- Increase marketing communication efficiency and effectiveness