How to measure the success of a brand? — Measuring brand awareness

I’m a big believer in KPIs and brand audits, but before we start messing around with the fancy words and fancy concepts, let’s get to the basics.

What is a brand?

You and I have our own brands. That’s right. You don’t have a business? You still have a brand. A brand is a set of characteristics around a company or person. It’s the way you talk, communicate, look, your maneurisms, the tone of your voice, the way you walk, the way you dress, the specific way you put your hair up (or cut it), your story… You get the point.

A brand is more than the perception of what other people have of you. That perception will change from people to people (some people will like you, some will not), that’s part of a brand too, but it’s not all. Your brand isn’t for everybody: it is for people who identify themselves with all of the things on the paragraph above. You don’t necessarily need to change your brand to accomodate people’s perceptions.

The same way some people like Apple, others will prefer Samsung. And that’s fine.

How do you measure the effectivess of your brand?

I have not seen many people talking about brand audits. A brand audit is like a doctor visit for a company, the yearly checkups people make for their health, we have a branding version of it.

The reason we make brand audits is not to necessarily shift the strategy — that’s gonna depend whether we are sick or not — but to understand the “blood pressure” and the “levels of vitamins” of our company.

In the day to day of company running, we are focused on how many sales we make, how many subscribers we have in Youtube, how many followers on Instagram. We are busy measuring numbers that tell very little about the health of our company. Much like measuring the length of our hair to understand how healthy our vitamin B levels are — it’s just absurd.

In order to start measuring things — we call them KPIs — we need to go through audits. If you already have some KPIs that you measure, then you should do an audit in order to understand if you’re on plan or out of it. If you have weaknesses that need to be turned around. You don’t do audits when you are sick — that’s for the Emergency room. You do audits so you don’t get sick.

You might want to read: What the heck is strategy?

Where to look for brand awareness KPIs?

I’m not here to talk “you should measure your target audience”. This is the type of stuff people shove in a blog post SEO. This not what we are here for.

You measure brand awareness by 3 main groups.

  • Traffic
  • Conversion
  • Reputation

Now, these 3 words left alone in the middle of this text really don’t mean anything, and because we aren’t about this, let’s break them down and look some of the possible KPIs to follow in each category. By all means, take the concept with you and create your own relevant KPIs. Make the method your own. Also, remember that these KPIs are a conjunction of efforts in side your company: just creating a few blog posts or a few Instagram posts are enough, for example, to beat your traffic game. Everything needs to work in synergy and you can’t isolate the hand from the arm, so to speak. While you can examine the hand, you also need to look at the whole structure (even further back) in order to understand what the problem really is.

Traffic

Traffic is the first step to understand where and how people find your brand, if it’s Google, by walking, by someone tagging a friend on a post in Instagram… Traffic is the first one because it’s a touch point, the first step on the consumer journey.

One KPI I like to measure in traffic is the bounce rate of a website. The bounce rate tells you how fast people are likely to, well, bounce out of your page. I want my bounce rate to be 0%. In this KPI, the lowest number, the better your page’s performace. So, by setting a goal for that KPI, you are more likely to understand what needs to be changed, or at least to what direction to look in order to start applying those changes.

Another traffic KPI you could look at is the reach from your Business Instagram profile. This KPI can tells you the number of individuals your account has reached in the last 7 days, and also tells you the effectiveness of your communications. If less people are listening to you, people aren’t as aware of your brand as you might have wanted.

Conversion

Conversion is where you make the sale, someone does what your CTA asks for, the CTR (click through rate) of your email campaigns… And you should measure because conversion is the second sign, the second level in order to understand if your message is reaching the right ears.

Conversion KPIs are different depending on what channel your brand acts on:

  • Youtube would be subscribers, or even channel members
  • On Instagram, I look at saves, sends, and of course, link clicks on the bio, and even the amount of DMs you respond. You could also look at the “Get direction” or phone calls. Be aware though, a conversion KPI isn’t necessarily a sale, but a brand building “seed” (effort).

For an ecommerce shop, for example, I would look at the amount of wishlists on key products, as they sign a potential change in the consumer behavior: (s)he’s now flirting with your product and getting warmer to buy from you. What repressed demands are happening that you aren’t making that sale right away?

Reputation

What is it that people think of your brand? What are their testimonials, reviews, emails, comments saying? This is more abstract, but so is the way people communicate and think, and, apart from reviews, the hardest to quantify.

There’s a neat trick on Google called Alerts that will fire an email whenever your brand is mentioned online, and it’s a smart way to track if and when people are talking about your company online. The obvious KPIs to follow here are reviews. These are normally more abundant in the two extremes: when a company is doing something very right or very wrong.

These, in my opinion, are the most hands on methods to stay on top of your brand, not necessarily the only ones or the easiest ones. Some of these, specially reputation, will take a good amount of surveys, questionnaires, 1-1 interactions, and internet scraping to fully grasp. When doing a brand audit, remember to include the “updating of KPIs” in your agenda so you can have an overview of the awareness the market has of your brand, and to understand if you need to change your strategy.

Keep in mind that it’s useless to go to the doctor, find you have a minor sickness, get a prescription, and not take the medicine.

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