Published Feb 27, 2020
Debbie Senior, VP, Product Automation
For several decades brand tracking has been an important tool for brand and insight managers to measure the strength of their brands and stay ahead of threats and opportunities. But due to their predominant focus measuring knowledge and equity, brand trackers have not kept up with the changing way we now interact with brands and how that impacts our feelings towards brands as a result.
Social media and other digital-based interaction mean the brands most likely to thrive are those with whom consumers have the fullest two-way conversations. Think of it as a relationship with a friend or family member. When you really care about someone, you can share positive feedback as well as constructive criticism, because you want them to improve. You are invested in their success.
Traditional brand trackers
Having a strong brand is important for market share and overall company value. But brands that don’t remain relevant, innovate, or add value to consumers lives could easily disappear without anyone caring.
Traditional brand models are based on measuring past or current success, rather than momentum moving forward.
Measures like awareness, familiarity, consideration, and usage assume a linear framework which worked perfectly in an age where messages were pushed through mass media and communication was one way, brands set the agenda, and the target audience had little opportunity to influence the brand relationship.
They are no longer enough to measure brands’ successfully in today’s environment. This requires a new model for brand tracking – one that considers the whole relationship between the consumer and the brand. That’s why we developed hi brands. Our model considers the complexities of the way brands engage in consumers lives and how rational and emotional consumer experiences deepen brand knowledge and influence preference and purchase. In other words, the model is future looking; measuring the future relevance and vitality of the brand.
Relevance and Vitality
The successful brands have consumers who are excited about the brand and its products and services. This means they seek out information about the brand and encourage brands to stay in contact. And where they are worried about missing out on the latest products and services or want to be one of the first to try or own a new product or take advantage of services and offers, for instance new phones and games. Consumers care more about brands if they feel there is a reciprocal relationship of listening and being empathetic to their needs, and making improvements that are relevant to those needs, in way that is more co-creational than in the past.
Creating brand excitement: giffgaff
A great example of how a new brand entered the market and quickly built brand vitality and future relevance by having a strong two-way conversation with consumers is that of the mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) giff gaff, owned by Telefonica and using the O2 network. It calls its customers “members”.
The MVNO has a community-powered model offering good rates and rewards for members for promoting the business and answering support queries – also enabling it to keep operating costs as low as possible due to minimal staff.
With around 3 million members at the heart of everything it does, a key goal is to adapt its business to remain relevant to its members. It invites members into its office and they guess star in adverts and they create video and blog content for other members to enjoy. Members have had over 600 of their ideas implemented… and we see all this coming through strongly in its hi brand ratings.
To be a compelling brand that achieves strong market share and mass market success, a brand still needs to score well on equity and knowledge – as measured by traditional brand trackers. But in order to thrive in the future, they will also to secure their relevance and vitality.
And this means brand tracking must adapt to fit today’s world and deliver ROI.
And in keeping with the underlying cause of this revolution in brand tracking, we use online platforms and templated/automated solutions to enable even faster and more cost- efficient insights, including self-serve for those who want to engage with us this way.