A Brand Measurement Framework with B2C Brand Tracking Metrics
- Measuring brand key performance indicators as standalone measures misses the biggest brand building opportunity.
- A brand measurement framework brings manageability and follow-through action to key performance indicators. It categorizes brand tracking metrics based on their causal relationships to company financial performance. It also shows how improvements in one area deliver impact in other areas. Brand management is not about accounting for value, it's about creating value.
- Three measurement best practices are to pursue fewer metrics that most matter, show the causal relationships among outcomes, and deliver the metrics with enough context or detail to induce action.
- Brand tracking metrics are valuable in as much as they correlate to company priorities. For most companies that means the brand is as valuable as its ability to grow revenues.
The Brand Tracking Metrics That Matter
There's no shortage of brand tracking metrics. There are several dozen that get bantered about. So, you know which ones are most used? The ones that are most easily measured. You know, the ones that can be easily captured with a social listening tool, Google Analytics or some other app.
Unfortunately, brand management only works when it measures the metrics that matter. And when it clearly shows which efforts and investments are working and which are not. And when it provides actionable insights so you engineer the strategy and tactics for improved financial outcomes. If your brand tracking metrics are not creating insights that drive changes to your brand strategy and plan, you've got the wrong metrics.
For a brand development program to be successful the metrics that matter should matter to the C-suite. That means the brand tracking metrics must align with company priorities such as customer acquisitions, revenue growth and profit margins. Choosing, measuring and acting upon the right metrics is best done with a brand measurement framework.
A Brand Measurement Framework
A good brand management framework will identify the most important key performance indicators, categorize them to show inter-dependencies and relationships, and show how to act upon them.
As mentioned, the first problem when choosing key performance indicators is selecting the vanity and activity-based metrics that are easy to obtain but so indirectly related to company goals they are meaningless.
The second problem is a proliferation of key performance indicators (KPI). Measuring too many KPIs of too little relevance fails to separate the signals from the noise and clouds the most influential findings.
The solution is to take a less is more approach and down select the measures that most directly impact the company's priorities. There are two key questions to ask yourself before adopting a KPI:
- Does it directly correlate to a strategic company goal (i.e., revenue growth)?
- Will measuring the metric induce action to improve and impact the strategic company goal?
The second challenge is treating all KPIs as though they are standalone. This approach fails to fully understand the connections and symbiotic opportunities available to marketers.
There are a few approaches to categorize brand tracking metrics. One is to divide measures into perception and impact categories. The first measures things that tend to be more qualitative, such as brand sentiment, brand association and brand essence. These KPIs bring measurability to how well your target audience recognizes and feels about your company or products.
Impact metrics are more quantitative and demonstrate relationships between branding efforts and customer purchases. These KPIs measure things like brand impact on price premiums and sales conversions.
Another approach is to allocate measures into the three categories of Perception, Performance and Profits. Perception measures are pretty much the same as mentioned above.
Performance measures demonstrate the causal connection between brand programs and marketing and sales results. They show the relationships between company identity and consumer behaviors.
Profit metrics are measures that correlate to financial performance. These measures include things like brand value, brand equity and brand loyalty.
Irrespective of the method chosen, it's important that you can isolate the KPIs so that you can test and measure improvements and understand how anyone KPI impacts others.
The third challenge is making KPIs actionable. When KPIs are aligned with financial objectives, linked to actions and measured by payback, information goes from being interesting to inducing action.
The KPI isn't the goal. It's a recommendation for action. Action is the goal.
The Johnny Grow Brand Measurement Framework
Over many years we've developed and refined our own brand measurement framework. It takes a balanced scorecard approach, forwards actionable metrics to a brand dashboard and aligns with the buyer purchase process. This approach allows the metrics to be manipulated to impact different parts of the sales funnel.
KPIs vary pursuant to each company's goals. The KPIs in the above table illustrate the most used KPIs but its unlikely any company would use them all. Managing more than about 8 KPIs creates unnecessary work, consumes limited time and clouds what's most important.
So, how to you decide which KPIs to use? For us that's an easy question – the one's that most directly correlate to revenue.
When working with clients we favor the financial measures that correlate to revenues such as brand reach (acquiring more leads) and brand purchase influence (higher sales conversions). We tend to minimalize activity, behavioral and communication metrics such as brand perception and behavior. For us, the brand's value is measured by its ability to impact revenues.