Many of our clients count on their brand strategy to be a springboard for growth. Whether they’re falling short of ambitious goals or have truly hit a wall, brand strategy can help create the shifts they need to move ahead.
But how do you measure success beyond hard numbers like revenue and inbound queries? How do you get insight into whether, how, and how much your brand strategy is fueling your growth – and what more it might be able to do?
Brand perceptions, after all, are a squishier metric than dollars. Right?
Benchmarking Research Demonstrates ROI
Not necessarily. Brand perceptions can be measured with great accuracy – you just have to make the investment in research. We’re big believers in benchmarking your brand before making any strategic shifts, and then using ongoing surveys to stay on top of your brand’s standing in the marketplace.
Benchmarking research can be one of your smartest growth strategy investments, with real ROI that you can track. Here’s how it can help.
Establish Which Problems Need Solving
Benchmarking research establishes your baseline while providing critical insights to inform your brand strategy. It helps you understand what associations people have with your brand; whether you are top of mind, nowhere on their minds, or somewhere in between; what they know about you and how much of that is actually correct.
Are you battling a lack of perception, misperceptions, or a combination? Or is apathy the main problem – a lack of resonance?
These insights should inform both your brand strategy and the way you go to market. (Read more about using quant for emotional insight here.) A lack of awareness may require a bigger media investment, a more resonant positioning, harder hitting messaging, or a combination of those things.
One thing is certain: You won’t really know unless you ask a statistically significant sample of your most desirable prospects.
Learn which Sales-Related Levers to Pull
Benchmarking research can also help you understand your audiences’ purchase priorities and how your brand is helping or hindering sales growth.
A good piece of quant can gauge the most important factors in purchase decisions, assess how your brand attributes – and competitors’ – align with those factors, and identify where you need to strengthen your story vis a vis your rivals.
Are there any elements of your brand story that are important to sales, but are being underplayed? Are there any misperceptions that are hurting you in the marketplace? Is there any valuable space your competition is owning where you could make inroads?
These are the type of levers you need to pull to jumpstart growth.
Keep Tabs on Your Brand and ROI
So you conducted your benchmarking research, put your new brand strategy in place, and have gone to market with well-crafted messaging. Most likely you’re seeing some sales lift. At this point, usually a few months in, you’ll want to assess the impact of your brand work with a new round of research.
This is where you get to see how well your hypotheses are bearing out. Is your new positioning creating more resonance vis a vis competitors? Are you correcting any misperceptions? Are you strengthening the attributes that correlate most closely to purchase? Have you boosted awareness, consideration, and preference among the audiences you value most?
With this information, you’ll be fully armed to continue growing your sales while building your brand. And you can watch the ROI increase as your numbers tick up.
Emotive Brand is a San Francisco brand strategy and design agency.
Carol Emert, thank you for this post. Its very inspiring.