As a company that pioneered a technology to make survey research easier and more efficient, we’ve done our fair share of brand trackers. Qualtrics has created, executed, and managed hundreds of brand trackers of varying complexity. Some were global B2B trackers with minimum quotas on usage of a specific type of product and some as broad as general market shoppers in the US.

This range of experience has helped us improve and evolve our methodology, project management, and reporting skills. To help you get the most out of your brand tracker, we’ve asked our expert brand tracking researchers to consolidate findings from over 100 trackers to provide you with tips on making sure yours is as effective as possible.

Set Clear Goals

It’s difficult to evaluate the effectiveness of any effort without clear goals around expectations and results. When setting up a brand tracker, as well as any piece of research, be very specific about what you hope to accomplish with that work. It’s also important for that expectation to be realistic and take into account the current climate within the organization. For example, don’t expect a brand tracker to drive ideas and content for the marketing team to use without collaboration with the marketing team.

Rethink Overall Brand Evaluation

Most trackers include some measurement of either reported satisfaction or brand recommendation on a 7- or 10-pt scale. These metrics have been found to be less than ideal in determining how people feel about your brand relative to the other options that are also available to them. People might like you, but do they want you?

A better question is asking respondents to gauge the benefit your brand brings to the product or service you provide relative to your competition, above and beyond what the product or service could provide as a generic option. Even better, consider creating an overall brand metric that combines awareness, consideration, and brand perceptions that influence the consumer decision process. This approach gives you more accurate data to tie back to business metrics.

Consider The Way a Question is Asked

People are notoriously better at answering visual questions than verbal scale questions. For example, a visual representation of how closely a brand fits the image an individual has of himself/herself is significantly more effective at gauging real brand appeal than a similar scale question.

Brand affinity

Establish your Rank

Having your brand in someone’s consideration set goes a long way towards being ultimately chosen, but it is not enough to understand that you’re in the top 5. The position your brand occupies within that consideration list, 1st, 2nd, or 3rd, etc. will have wildly differing financial implications for your organization.

Your rank within the consideration set is directly tied to your business performance, and that’s where your aim should be. The company ranked 1st in the consideration set by the majority of respondents will have a significantly higher market share than competitors that are ranked below them in consideration.

Use Open Ended Data

The right open ended questions can significantly improve your team’s ability to home in on reasons for changes in the market. Instead of including overly broad questions like “Please tell us why you provided that rating” or similar open-ended instructions, try to refocus participants on a specific experience they had with the brand and how they would evaluate that.

This will give you much more actionable data. For example, ask about any experiences with your organization that led them to consider or not consider you and why the experience affected them in that way.

Aleksandra Polovina is a product and brand leader on the Qualtrics research services team.