A brand tracker survey is a longitudinal, quantitative survey that measures and assesses the health of a brand over time. The band tracker survey helps brand managers measure awareness, user sentiment, and product usage. Brand trackers are also used to assess customers’ perception of brand attributes, understand the competitive landscape and how a product’s market is changing and evolving. Disciplined brand managers field their brand tracking surveys with regularity and consistency.
The remainder of this article explains how to run a brand survey. It answers:
- How to create a brand tracker survey
- What topics to include in a brand tracker survey
- How to field a brand tracker survey
- How to analyze the results of a brand tracker
- I ran a brand tracker survey. Now what?
How to Create a Brand Tracker Survey
1. Build Support for Your Tracker
Build internal support and consensus for the effort. Absent this, your findings might not make as much of an impact within your organization or your colleagues might not ascribe as much value from the results. Assemble stakeholders and educate them on the benefits of measuring the health of your brand. Illustrate that the results will reveal information about the level of awareness that exists for your brand and how customers and prospective customers view your product, the competition and the market, in general.
2. Determine who will do the brand tracker work
Evaluate if you’re going to conduct the research internally or hire a market research firm to support this effort. Hire an external market research firm if you have comprehensive needs, operate in a complex market with many competitors, and if you have the budget. Professional market research firms like ProdegeMR or Zeitgeist research can assist you in creating, fielding, analyzing and managing a brand tracker study.
If your needs are more straightforward, it is entirely feasible to design a brand tracker survey internally. With the use of widely available templates, including the ProdegeMR sample brand tracker, you can easily create a basic brand tracker survey.
3. Draft Your Brand Tracker Survey
If you work with a market research services company like ProdegeMR, they will assist you and can draw on their library of brand tracker templates. If you create the brand tracker internally, it’s good to write it out in a Google document. Then, port it over to a simple survey solution like Google Forms or SurveyGizmo.
4. Create Your Audience
Identify who should complete your tracker, how you’ll reach them, and what you’ll offer as a “reward” for sharing their opinion. Typically, brand managers and market research firms send emails to solicit participation in the brand tracker study. Participants share their feedback through online surveys and are rewarded with some form of consideration, like a Paypal payment or an Amazon gift card, for their time and opinions.
It is very important to capture a representative sample of your customers or current users as well as a representative set of prospects (people who don’t use your product but who you consider as part of your target market).
What Topics to Include in a Brand Tracker
1. Demographics and Psychographic Questions
Typically, brand trackers will include a set of demographic questions. These demographic and psychographic questions will allow you to segment respondents by gender, age, income, habits, values, interests, and attitudes.
2. Brand Awareness Questions
Brand awareness questions get at the core or heart of a brand tracker survey. They are meant to help brand managers identify customers’ level of awareness and familiarity with their and competitors’ brands. There are two types of brand awareness questions: Unaided Brand Awareness and Aided Brand Awareness Questions.
Unaided brand awareness questions really highlight how familiar customers are with your and competitors’ brands. For example, if you sold laundry detergent, the question might read: Please enter in the space below the names of laundry detergent brands that come to mind. Here, respondents enter a free-form list of brands in this market category.
An aided brand awareness question typically presents respondents with a list of brands that compete in market category and asks respondents to select the brands with which they are familiar.
3. Brand Attribute Questions
Brand attribute questions assess customers’ and prospects’ perception of brands. These types of questions help brand managers determine if their brand is viewed in a positive, negative, or neutral way. Examples of brand attribute questions include: “On a scale of 1 – 10, how memorable is this Brand?” Or, “how trustworthy is this brand?”
In addition, brand attribute questions can help identify perceptions related to a brand’s personality and the emotional place it occupies in customers’ minds.
4. Brand Feature Sets
Brand feature sets help brand managers understand how important certain features are to different demographic and psychographic segments.
Returning to the laundry detergent example, considered features might include the form factor of the product, i.e., liquid, powder, capsules; the ability to handle a range of colors or temperature settings, etc.
5. Net Promoter Score
A Net Promoter Score is another market research industry standard question that measures a brand’s overall favorability. A market research company called Sametrix developed this simple brand health score. Your net promoter score is the difference between the percentage of respondents who are Promoters and those who are Detractors.
It’s important to capture all these measurements not only for your own brand but for those of your competitors. This will allow you to evaluate how your brand measures up against the competition.
How to Field Your Brand Tracker Survey
1. Fielding Your Brand Tracker to Your Known Customers
Identify a representative sample set of your known customers. This sample should reflect your customers based on age range, gender, ethnicity, household income, and other segmentation schemes that are relevant to your business.
You’ll mostly contact your target respondents via email. However, not everyone you contact will respondent to your invitation to participate in your brand tracker. As a result, you’ll need to pull a sample set of customers that is greater than the number of responses you want to collect.
Then, you’ll need to invite your customers “in waves” until you’ve received the desired number of responses. Again, you will want to ensure that the responses you compile are from a representative sample of your to total customer base. For example, if 50% of your customers are female and 50% are male, then your responses should match that distribution, i.e., 50/50 female/male. The same is generally true for other segmentation elements.
2. Field Your Brand Tracker to Prospective Customers
You’ll want to collect feedback from a representative set of your target market. If your target market is 75% females and 25% males who are between 35 – 55 years old, the feedback you collect should match that.
To collect feedback from prospective customers, work with market research panel companies. ProdegeMR operates some of the largest consumer panels in the world. Either a market research company or a brand manager can contact companies like ProdegeMR. Examples of online panels include Swagbucks.com, MyPoints.com and InboxDollars.com. These are programs that have large user bases who willingly participate in online surveys in exchange for rewards.
How to Analyze Your Brand Tracker Survey
1. Organize Your Data
Typically, brand managers and market research firms use statistical analysis software programs like SAS or spreadsheet programs like Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets to organize and analyze data.
2. Run CrossTab Analysis
Cross Tabulation analyses of your brand tracker survey responses allows you to look at responses by a number of demographic and psychographic segmentation variables.
3. Analyze Free Form (Verbatim) Responses
Have a data analyst categorize verbatim responses into appropriate bucketed responses to identify common themes and trends. Use axial, thematic, or dialectic coding techniques as prescribed by a statistician for more advanced analysis of open-ended responses.
I Ran a Brand Tracker Survey. Now what?
1. Compare Responses
Diligent brand managers run trackers with consistency and regularity. Brand trackers are typically run semi-annually but some brands run trackers as frequently as weekly. The brand tracker survey should not change much in form and questions across fieldings. This will allow brand managers to conduct a longitudinal analysis and assess how the health of your brand over time. Evaluate how brand awareness has changed as a result of advertising campaigns, product feature enhancements, new competition, etc.
2. Identify Market Opportunities
Ultimately, a brand manager should use the results to identify how to improve their brand. Responses will reveal the importance (or unimportance) of features that brand managers can introduce (or sunset). In addition, if interpreted correctly, brand tracker surveys can reveal “market white space” that highlights where a brand might operate more effectively on account of competitors failing to address certain segments or delivering on important product features.
Now you know all about brand trackers in theory, but why not see them in practice? Take some paid online surveys to see what a panelist experiences when completing surveys. Sign up for free to a site like Swagbucks to see Brand Tracking Surveys in action and get the latest tips on how to craft your own brand tracker from others in the industry.
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