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How to measure and improve brand health

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To survive and thrive in today’s hypercompetitive markets, you need to have a healthy brand. But what exactly is brand health, and how can you measure it? Brand health is an indicator of brand performance that captures how effectively you deliver on the value promised to consumers, how aware the target audience is of your brand, and how your brand is positioned in the market relative to competitors. In this article, we’ll go into a deeper dive on how to measure the strengths and weaknesses of your brand and gauge its performance. We’ll also introduce you to some great solutions for tracking brand performance over time, such as SurveyMonkey Brand Tracker monitor. And, if your brand is underperforming, we’ve got some handy tips for improving brand health, putting you in the best possible position to stand out among competitors and grow your customer base. 

What is brand health?

But first: what exactly do we mean by brand health? Brand health is multidimensional and the best way to understand it is to break it down into its main components. The three main elements of brand health are delivery, awareness, and positioning.

Brand delivery

What are your customers buying? Whether you sell potato chips or shoes, your customers are really buying into your value proposition. In other words, your brand communicates a kind of promise to your customers about the value, service, features, or benefits they’ll be getting when they buy from you. Measures of delivery/consistency examine how well a brand is able to deliver on the value promised to consumers. So, brand delivery captures whether the goods or services delivered meet the expectations of your customers. A healthy brand delivers consistent, valuable experiences, while a brand with poor health leaves consumers feeling disappointed.

Brand awareness

A healthy brand is one that is recognizable to customers. In fact, research shows that 60% of people would rather make a purchase from a familiar brand than from a brand they don’t know or like. Brand awareness is the degree to which your target market recognizes your brand. Through your marketing and associated efforts, you’ll be regularly exposing your brand to the market. Ideally, over time, awareness of your brand will grow, which will put you in a good position to secure new customers. It’s key, then, to gather data from the market to ensure that your messages have landed, and to measure how aware your target customers are of your brand. A healthy brand has strong positive awareness in the marketplace—people are talking about the brand, and saying good things about it.

Brand positioning

There’s no doubt about it: brand positioning is one of the most crucial components of brand health. Since the modern consumer is overwhelmed with choice, you’ll need to find a strategy to differentiate yourself from the other brands vying for your target audience’s attention. Brand positioning helps create an identity for your business and for the products and services that you’re offering to the market. It helps you differentiate your products from those of competitors, and provides a way for you to offer added value to your customers. When brand positioning is strong, customers need to understand what is being offered, the value of the brand’s offerings, and differentiation from competitors. This is especially important in marketplaces that are mature, or that are saturated and which involve high or intense levels of competition.

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How to measure brand health

Measuring brand health is crucial, but how exactly can you do it? Some strategies that you should consider for measuring brand health include: 

Social listening tools

Monitoring social media platforms will help you find out who is talking about your brand, how often they discuss your brand, and what they’re saying. Combined with sentiment analysis, which evaluates whether conversations about your brand are positive or negative, you’ll be able to get good insights into your brand health, and learn more about what’s working—and what needs to be improved. Interested in learning more? Take a look at our market research guide where we specifically discuss how to use social monitoring and sentiment analysis to understand the health of your brand.

Brand health surveys

Brand health is all about how well your brand is perceived by the people that matter most: your customers. So, the best way to capture and measure it is to ask your customers directly. Brand health surveys can help get direct answers from customers about how they feel about the brand, what their expectations are of the brand experience, and whether that was delivered upon. We recommend regularly surveying your customer base in order to be able to track changes in brand health over time. That way, you can be alerted quickly to any changes in your brand, which means you can take swift corrective action. And, combined with a benchmarking tool, you can even see how your brand health stacks up against others in your industry, both at home and overseas. 

So what kind of questions should you be including in your brand health survey? A good way to ensure that you’re capturing data to measure each of the three main components of brand health is to divide your survey into three parts: delivery, awareness, and positioning:

Brand awareness

Include questions that measure how familiar consumers are with your brand, and what it is they expect from their experiences with the brand. Multiple choice questions are useful when you already have a list of competitors, and you want to learn more about awareness of your brand in comparison to that of your rival’s brand. A good strategy is to present survey respondents with a list of competing brands and ask them to tick the ones they’ve heard of. In addition, consider using open-ended questions to ask customers about the brands they’ve heard of, and determine whether yours is one that’s mentioned. For instance, you might ask survey respondents an open-ended question like: Which brands first come to mind when you think of energy drinks?

Brand delivery

To measure brand delivery, ask customers whether your brand delivers on the expectations that customers have of it. A rating question will be useful here.  In addition, you’ll want to find out how consistently your brand delivers on customer expectations, and to identify any instances where you’ve missed the mark. In that case, it's useful to include a comment box where customers can share their thoughts and experiences. You might also want to capture insight on how trusting customers are of your brand. 

Brand positioning

To capture positioning, you’ll want to ask customers where they see your brand in relation to competitors. You should also find out what your target audience believes to be the strengths of the brand, and what sets it apart from the competition. Ranking questions are great here, because you can ask your target audience to rank you and your competitors on the characteristics and features that matter most to your customers. 

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Brand health tracking tools

One of the most complex things about measuring brand health is that it’s made up of so many different moving parts. Above, we’ve talked about brand delivery, brand awareness, and brand positioning. But, you also need to remember that these aspects can change very quickly depending on your own marketing actions, your competitors’ moves, changes in customer preferences, and broader market shifts. Keeping track of all that data and being alert to changes can be an overwhelming task. But, with modern technology, it needn’t be. Bespoke brand monitoring tools can analyze both social media platform data, survey data, as well as many more data sources to deliver an easy way to proactively track brand health over time. Take a look at our brand tracker solution to see how it works. 

How to improve brand health

What happens if your brand isn’t quite as healthy as you’d like it to be? In that case, it's time to execute some strategies to increase your brand health. Let’s take a look at some of the methods that can help. 

Awareness campaigns

If your research indicates that it's awareness of your brand that’s lacking, consider investing in some brand awareness-building campaigns. Marketing campaigns focused on awareness can not only put the brand in front of new potential customers, but also set expectations on what the brand delivers by communicating its brand promise and value proposition.  Once you’ve delivered your campaign, however, don’t forget to measure its impact. You’ll want to engage in some fact-finding to find out whether your messages have landed as intended with your target market, and crucially, whether the campaign has managed to increase awareness of your brand. Take a look at our in-depth guide on building brand awareness

Create a brand positioning statement

A brand positioning statement can set you apart from the competition and tell consumers exactly how you solve a need for your target audience. To start, we recommend researching competitors to identify and understand what makes your brand unique. From there, work on creating a one to two sentence statement that communicates your unique value to your customers.

Improve processes to improve delivery

While brand health is all about how your brand is perceived to external audiences, you shouldn’t ignore internal processes. Making improvements to internal processes can ensure that the goods or services delivered by a brand meet expectations, and lead to more positive consumer experiences, and therefore more positive customer sentiment in the future. As a starting point, survey your employees. After all, they’re in the best position to be able to comment on how well your existing processes are working, and where there are any issues that need to be corrected.

Develop brand personality

Ensuring that a brand has a well-defined personality that resonates with consumers helps drive positive brand associations, but also differentiates the brand from others in the market. In today’s highly competitive markets, it's actually quite difficult to make your brand recognizable to your target audience. Just like human beings, brands can be seen as fun, or innovative, or serious, or anything else. Identify what your personality is, and make sure all your branding actions reflect and reinforce that personality. If you put effort into crafting visual elements, brand attributes, and brand associations that resonate with customers, and stay consistent in how you convey your brand personality through customer interactions, you’ll be well paced to develop a recognizable brand that people know and respect. All of the additional activities that you engage in—both those observable and unobservable to customers—should reinforce your brand personality, which means that you’ll be seen by your target audience as delivering on your brand promises. 

Make sure employees are on board

Making sure that employees that are bought into the brand personality you're trying to create ensures that the customer sees this personality as genuine and helps with consistent messaging. Some employees are on the frontlines, and so consumers will associate them with the brand offering. Others might not interact with customers on a daily basis, but they’ll contribute to the internal processes involved in crafting, creating and delivering on the brand proposition. So, make sure that all employees understand the brand personality and are committed to reinforcing it in their day-to-day actions.

Track your brand’s health with a brand tracking solution

Above, we’ve talked about the importance of monitoring and measuring brand health, and introduced you to some handy strategies for building it. Need further help? Our Brand Tracker can monitor all of these metrics and more, tracking changes in your brand health over time and in real-time, and alerting you to any drops in performance. We also have a dynamic tool that can combine brand health insights with sentiment analysis and insights into brand loyalty, trust, reputation, and more.

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Global survey panel

Collect market research data by sending your survey to a representative sample

Research services

Get help with your market research project by working with our expert research team

Expert solutions

Test creative or product concepts using an automated approach to analysis and reporting

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