Branding is the marketing discipline used to communicate, manage and develop brand identityfor a given product or service. It’s origins as a word is derived from the act of marking a possession (e.g. cattle) with a branding iron to demonstrate ownership.
Today, branding goes beyond from being just a mark and seeks to develop an emotional connection with the target audience. The difference between marketing and branding is that marketing is for the business, whilst branding is for the customer. For this reason, most businesses need to focus on managing brand perceptions and consumer research is the ideal measurement tool to develop your brand and marketing strategy.
What is Brand Tracking?
Brandtrackingis the process of measuring brandperceptions over time and measuring changes over time and plays an important role in developing the brand strategy and evaluating whether the brand is heading in the right direction. In addition, with frequent monitoring (e.g. monthly) it can help evaluate the impact of marketing activity.
There are many ways that professional brand tracking agencies measure brand image. Typically, these are conducted through online survey research as theonline method offers a good balance of speed, quality and flexibility. Questionnaire length and content can vary, but many tracking companies will cover some, if not all the following themes:
- Brand awareness
- Brand consideration
- Brand usage and loyalty
- Brand recommendation and word of mouth (WOM)
- Brand image (e.g. user imagery, brand identity, brand relationship, product attributes)
- Brand collateral (e.g. logo recognition, strapline recall, advertising memories, brand experiences)
An important aspect to brand tracking is the measurement of competitor brands – this is essential as it allows a brand’s positioning to be ascertained and monitored. It also allows brand owners to understand how new and emerging brands are performing and allowing for remedial actions to be taken.
Compared to developing long-term success, launching a brand seems like arelatively easy task given that 90% of brands fail within their first five years from launch. However, investing in research and regular brand trackingis one the best ways for marketers to identify early issues and to develop and refine their brand strategies.