A Better Tracking System: 3 Ways Your Tracker Can Do More for Your Brand
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A Better Tracking System: 3 Ways Your Tracker Can Do More for Your Brand

April 28, 2017

Mara Kiernan

Whether it’s building a good foundation, aligning with ad campaigns, or just getting better at using data you already have, these 3 steps can help you get more out of any brand tracking system.

There are some elements of a brand tracker that are simply expected. Consumers’ awareness of the brand, their associations with and perceptions of it, how likely they are to use it…these metrics are both table stakes and keys to keeping tabs on brand health in a world where brands don’t always have control over how they are perceived. But as data-driven decision making becomes as much of a reality as it is a catchphrase, we as marketers and as market researchers constantly need our brand tracking systems to do more for us – more insight, more direction, more answers – and quickly.

But, if we’re creative, that doesn’t mean that we always need to do more research. Rather, we need our research to be more efficient – to give us more of the answers that we need, in less time. The steps and strategies below can help you consistently get more out of your brand tracking system at three critical stages: before you begin, during framework development, and after data collection.

  1. Before: Set a strong foundation.

Most companies know the demographic profile of their customer base. Ideally, this provides guidance on how to look at tracker data; and a truly fantastic tracker should allow us to cut data any which way to our heart’s content. But that doesn’t mean that it’s being cut the right way – and in an age of data overload, looking at the right data is critical.

So, before you dive into setting up a brand tracker, set up a strong foundation first by running a customer segmentation to inform tracker analysis. Once you know your segments, you can embed the algorithm into your tracker – and see data cut by top priority segments year over year, not just top priority demographics.

  1. During: Tie into ad campaigns.

We often time brand trackers to launch after a major ad campaign, as a proxy for or augment to an ad tracking study; and while this is certainly effective at capturing trends in post-campaign brand health, it’s ultimately a one-sided approach. Let your brand tracker tell you more by:

  • Fielding key components in a pre-post framework. Capturing key brand health measures just before a campaign launches not only gives you an early peek at how your brand is doing, it provides a concrete comparison for post-campaign brand health, allowing you to see how much you’re moving the needle in the moment and year over year.
  • Building in a copy test. Rather than a pre-post framework, build in a copy testing module to test ad recognition and brand linkage. While this won’t get you the same two-sided view to brand health as a pre-post, it will allow you to isolate trends in brand health among ad recognizers to get a more direct understanding of the campaign’s brand impact.
  1. After: Make data available – and actionable – for your team.

How often do documents meant to inform strategy end up on a shelf collecting dust? Brand tracker data can be the backbone of understanding and maintaining brand health – but only if your teams use it.

Keep teams constantly up to date on tracker metrics by preemptively creating tailored scorecards and infographics. Know the metrics that matter most to different stakeholders across your teams – and give them that data in an easily digestible format. Quick-scan scorecards and infographics can keep tracker data accessible and easy to reference, allowing for quicker, more informed decision making.

As you think about your next brand tracker – or even think through an existing tracking system – consider different ways to get creative with setting up, and using, your data. Whether it’s building a good foundation, aligning with ad campaigns, or just better using data you already have, the steps above can help you get more out of any brand tracker – giving you the right data to inform better decisions.

Mara Kiernan

Manager, Quantitative Research

As a Quantitative Research Manager, Mara supports the quant team throughout all phases of the research process. She particularly enjoys designing surveys that dig deep into the nuances of consumer...

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