Your brand is one of the most important assets you have working in your favour when you’re running a business. Any individual advert is short term – you’re telling people about a specific product or service, a specific location, a specific sale. Your brand works in the long term. It’s the identity that allows customers to relate to your business (a legal and corporate construct) on a personal level: to get excited about new developments for your business to feel loyalty to your brand, to experience a sense of safety, comfort or familiarity when they shop with you.
Your brand also serves as a subtle, pervasive and persuasive advert, telling people that your business is the right place to spend their money. If your messaging and decision-making is consistent and clear, then your brand will be strong and consistent. This is important: brand integrity is one of the key values that inform customers’ decisions, even if they’re not aware of it. If your businesses contradict the promises made by your brand or if you fall short on a brand promise then you harm your brand. You confuse your messaging and make it harder for customers to trust you.
Tracking Your Brand Health
It’s important to track your brand’s health. Every decision you make can potentially affect your brand, so you need a real time read of what people think of your business to avoid harming your brand as you attempt to save money, expand your business or launch new products.
Brand tracking research can help you get this insight. This is a form of surveying that asks respondents to rank your business against others based on how it embodies the key qualities you’re trying to build within your brand. This helps you see how your brand changes over time, how your decisions impact how your customers see you, but also, crucially how your competitors’ brands are changing as well. This could expose opportunities for you to exploit or show that you’re falling behind and need to take action.
You can also measure the value your brand adds to your products, your brand uplift. Launch the same ad with two different versions: one with your brand, one identical but genericised. Look at the difference in click-through rates, in the sales generated as a result. This is a measure of how valuable the brand you’ve built is, and how much of a tool it is for customers navigating a confusing marketplace.