How frequently should you run your brand tracker?
“How frequently should my organization run its brand tracker?” is one of the most common questions when it comes to trackers.
Marketing and research teams want to know so they can plan their calendars and workflows. Executives want to know for budgeting. Product teams want to know so they can expect when to get updates on the strength of their brands. Agencies want to know so they can plan campaigns.
A brand tracker’s main value is being able to show you how your brand’s impact in the market has changed over time, across campaigns and during market evolutions. Running a brand tracker one time will only give you a snapshot of where your brand is now, but running it again later (many times) is far more valuable because it shows how your marketing, competitive activity or shifts in consumer behavior are affecting the brand’s impact since the last time you ran the tracker.
The frequency with which you should run your tracker will depend on a few different factors.
Factors That Determine The Frequency of your Brand Tracker
What you are tracking
For most brands, tracking is primarily focused on a brand funnel – how efficiently a brand moves buyers from general brand awareness, down to purchase intent, and eventually into loyalty and advocacy. For most brands that track a brand funnel, running a tracker annually should provide enough data for them to measure market shifts without spending unnecessary budget resources.
How quickly your market changes
Some markets simply move faster than others. Marketers working on a toothpaste brand probably don’t need to deal with the market velocity that occupy marketers working in high tech. If your industry sees swift changes with fast news cycles, aggressive competitors, changing technology and frequent product innovations, you may need to run a tracker more often – monthly or quarterly.
The entrance of new competitors
The entrance of a major new competitor may merit an ad-hoc new measurement of your brand.
The entrance of Red Bull, an Austrian beverage company, into the US market, would have been an excellent time for Coke to run a pre and post-entry brand tracker measuring the impact on Coke’s purchase intent.
Dunkin Donuts’ aggressive move into coffee should have had Starbucks running trackers to gauge the reaction from buyers.
Amazon’s short-lived entrance into the mobile phone market with its Fire phone likely triggered Apple and Samsung to run trackers to understand how the market was changing.
If Blockbuster Video had more effectively anticipated the brand impact of Netflix and video streaming, it may have had time to add its own streaming capabilities to protect its market share rather than going belly up.
The entrance of a major new competitive force should cause you to consider running an impromptu tracker to help guide your reaction decision.
The Frequency of your Ad Campaigns
Brand trackers are not infallible when it comes to measuring the impact of individual marketing campaigns, but when run correctly, they can give you helpful knowledge about which campaigns are moving the needle and which aren’t. You may want to plan brand trackers to run before and after major marketing campaigns to understand how effective your efforts were.
Some unexpected company events aren’t welcome – like when a celebrity sends out an unfavorable tweet about your brand, or when a customer videos an employee acting inappropriately and it goes viral.
Other unexpected events are welcome – for example if your product gets a shoutout from this year’s biggest popstar. But regardless of whether the event is positive or negative for your brand, it may offer an opportunity for you to run an impromptu brand tracker to understand how it is affecting your brand.
Overall Tracking Frequency
In general, most companies find it advantageous to run their tracker annually or semi-annually. This frequency allows sufficient time in between tracking waves, fits into their research or marketing budget, accounts for normal market events and yields enough data to act on with proper guidance.
eBook: Designing a World-Class Brand Tracking Study