Brand is a perceived value of the product. Learn what KPIs one can use to quantify and measure it on the level of awareness and coherence.
- 5 Steps to Measure a Brand for SMB
- Brand Awareness Metrics
- Metrics of Brand Coherence
- Brand Manager Strategy
What is a Brand?
Brand is a perceived value of a product or service. It starts with a visual style but is translated throughout all activities of the organization.
- On the company side, the brand can be broken down into specific brand promises.
- On the customer side, the brand’s perception will be different across different stakeholders.
Who are the stakeholders of the brand?
- End users, of course (we can categorize them further)
- Company’s partners
- Internal stakeholders: employees, top management, talent manager, brand manager
- Shareholders, Press, Investors, Competitors, etc.
Respectively, when measuring the brand, we need to understand what brand promise we are talking about and who are the stakeholders.
5 Steps to Measure a Brand for SMB
Here is a quick plan on how a small and medium-sized business can approach brand measurement.
- Quantify general brand awareness (see the details below)
- Describe brand promises
- Define the stakeholders of brand
- Match brand promise and stakeholder
- Quantify brand coherence
- Improve based on the findings
A simple stakeholders/brand matrix would help a lot in understanding what each brand promise actually means for different stakeholders and how to quantify this very aspect of the brand for this very stakeholder.
Here is an example of such a matrix:
|Stakeholders\Brand promise||Being a great place to work||Excellent customer service||Reliable product|
|Employees||We are allowed to work remotely
Metric: employee satisfaction, %
|We are equipped with an omni channel customer support tool
Metric: tools availability satisfaction, %
|Do QA seriously
Metric: the # of near miss reports
|End-users||The company’s team is always ready to help me
Metric: response quality, %
|The company answer fast even if we leave a comment on YouTube video
Metric: response time, %
|Bugs are solved quickly
Metric: time to solve critical problems
|Partners||The company’s team is stable
Metric: top performers retention, %
|Even if there is some problem, the company solves it quickly
Metric: customer service reliability, %
|The company’s product is easy to maintain. We can build-in their solution into our product.
Metric: maintainability, %
|Brand manager||Our brand helps us to hire talents faster||We value the time of our clients||We do a high quality product, and here is what it means in your case…|
I’m not adding brand awareness to the table (we discuss it below) because it is something that any brand wants to achieve and the approaches to quantifying awareness are similar for different stakeholders.
Why Do We Want to Measure Brand?
Before discussing specific brand metrics, we need to ask a fundamental question:
- Why do we want to measure brand?
In the case of SMB brand, the best answer is:
- Learn how our stakeholders feel about what we offer and improve something in the company, product, customer service or marketing message
What Are We Going to Do with the Results?
The action plan about all the findings of brand measurement is to analyze the situation and plan some improvements accordingly.
To plan any improvements, we need to know a starting point or a baseline – this will be our own historical data or relevant information about the competitors.
Brand Awareness Metrics
Brand awareness refers to the brand recognition and recalling. The Wikipedia article summarizes some general approaches, but let’s focus on what we can use in a case of SMB company.
How can we measure brand awareness among end-users?
By doing some independent surveys. For example, in a case of BSC Designer, we could survey 100 strategists from different companies (that’s a realistic number for an off-line conference), and ask them what software solutions for strategy execution they have heard about.
That’s a realistic option, but it had certain potential issues:
- Those 100 conference delegates will be just a small part of the potential market, and those are not necessary for your potential clients
- It is costly, as to get a high participation rate, organizers of the event would need to invest in something more engaging than a before-event email survey
What about other stakeholders of the brand? The brand awareness metrics will be similar with certain adjustments. For example, in the case of our internal team, we are interested that the team would know how exactly we plan to deliver our brand promises; in this case, measuring strategy awareness level is a good idea.
Proxies of Brand Awareness
What are easier ways to measure brand awareness?
Brand Searches Metric
Track the number of monthly searches for the brand name in search engines. This data is not that detailed now, but at least you can have some general understanding and compare your product against the competitors.
Track the number of incoming backlinks. The general number of backlinks won’t tell you a lot, analyze the links and count those that come from editorial content. This can be combined with other SEO initiatives discussed before.
Direct Traffic Metric
Look at the direct website traffic. It’s another indication of how your brand works.
Social Trust Metrics
Comparison lists presence. Is your company listed in the relevant comparison lists? For example, in the case of BSC Designer, there are a number of independent websites that reviewed the Balanced Scorecard software, and we are glad to be listed there. It indicates a certain level of brand awareness (at least for the editors of the website), and it also works as other social trust signals for potential buyers as well as for the search engines.
The Relevance of Brand Awareness
In my opinion, the problem with brand awareness is that higher awareness not necessarily aligned with brand promises. It doesn’t necessarily lead to better user experience or more sales revenue…
The exaggerated examples:
- Think about a software solution that is promoted across all possible channels and for the most costly keywords on Google Ads – the awareness metric is high, but what message is actually translated to target users in this way? “We are the solution for any problem?” I doubt anyone will really trust this today.
- Think about those ads that interrupt your YouTube video, I’m sure you remembered the name of the brand, but what kind of emotions do you now have about them?
This leads us to the next metric.
Metrics of Brand Coherence
These metrics indicate the gap between the brand promises and the actual perception of the brand.
A car renting company can say a lot about how reliable they are, but some experiences caused by bad customer service will quickly ruin this brand value.
How to measure brand coherence? We need to quantify two things:
- The brand values
- The actual brand perception
Following up with car renting as an example. If the value is being reliable, then we can quantify it by the Service provided as expected, % metric. The baseline for the green zone for this metric should be somewhere at 98%. Any lower value is a sign of brand misalignment.
What metrics can help to measure brand alignment?
Social Engagement Metrics
Content likes and shares, social mentions. Brand is a lot about emotional engagement, so if your content is getting likes and shares, it’s a good sign. Don’t forget to categorize the interactions by positive and negative.
Newsletter Open Rate
Newsletter open rate, %. Everyone gets hundreds of email communications monthly from different companies. Some go directly to the trash bin, other are opened every time or carefully stored in a separate folder in your Gmail account. You read emails from those brands that you trust, that are proven to deliver some useful info regularly.
Positive or negative review metric. Even the strongest brands receive negative reviews (see the problems reported with Tesla cars or Apple phone), but those companies know how to learn from those reviews.
Returning Customer Metric
If people come back to you, then it’s a good indicator of the trust your product has gained. Or at least it is an indicator that you do better than your competitors.
Brand Value Metrics
Understanding brand value might be interesting in terms of calculating brand ROI, but frankly speaking, I don’t see how brand value metrics will help us with the challenges mentioned above in the ¨Why do we measure brand” chapter. Anyway, let me share some thoughts on this.
Brand investment, $
A rough estimation of everything we invested in the brand.
What should be counted?
Anything that impacts the image of your business. The calculations are actually not that obvious. We can count the costs of brand style design and probably the donations to the sports team, but the rest of activities will overlap with traditional marketing a lot. Take event participation as an example. You can do it for brand awareness, but there are things that are more tangible and measurable.
Premium Price Metric
They say that one of the benefits of having a strong brand is the possibility to set a premium price, the price that is higher than the competitors with weaker brands. I do agree; that’s one of the indicators of the strong brand. But there are obviously other examples that go against this logic.
Let’s take local Vueling airlines, they position themselves as low-cost (no premium price), but they definitely have a strong brand. The part of this brand is their consistent visual design, but it is much more about providing certain services.
Brand Manager Strategy
Having in mind the challenges that we have discussed, we can create a strategy map template for a brand manager (this is now available as a template for all BSC Designer Online accounts).
What financial results does our brand help us to achieve?
- Ensure long-term financial growth
What do our stakeholders expect from our company?
- Formulate brand promises for all stakeholders
- Ensure brand coherence
How can we satisfy the expectations of the stakeholders?
- Map touchpoints with stakeholders
- Check alignment between brand promises and actual behaviours
- Suggest improvement directions for the team
Learning and Growth Perspective
How do we innovate in the context of brand management?
- Establish effective brand communication infrastructure
- Analyze emerging stakeholder needs
- Suggest new skills required to deliver brand promises
Ultimate Brand KPI
What’s the ultimate KPIs for a brand manager? Sales revenue, of course!
- Access templates. Sign-up with a free plan at BSC Designer for immediate access to 23 scorecard templates, including Brand KPIs discussed in this article.
- Master skills. Check out free video tutorial for the Balanced Scorecard. Master your strategy planning and execution skills with Strategy Execution training.
- Automate. Learn what Balanced Scorecard software is and how it can make your life easier by automating strategy execution, KPIs, and strategy maps.