Brand Experience

17 brand tracker sins and how to avoid them

Your brand tracker should be one of your company’s most talked-about assets. When you have a tracker that works, it improves your messaging, your products, your employees and even your customer experience.

But if your brand tracker isn’t designed carefully, that asset can become a non-factor, or worse, an unforgivable liability.

Here are the scarlet sins of brand trackers to avoid:

1. Defining the competitive set that doesn’t match reality

If your tracker doesn’t present a list of competitors the way a respondent recognizes and understands, you won’t get an accurate representation of the marketplace.

2. Under-investment in brand tracking

A tracker doesn’t necessarily need to break the bank, but they’re not free either. Cutting corners on your tracker’s design, methodology, sampling or frequency will limit its usefulness.

3. Over-complicated survey logic

Brand trackers are like technology: simple is better. Survey logic may be necessary to your tracker, but don’t bog it down in overly complex ways. Your data will become meaningless if you decide for future waves to dramatically change the tracker in order to correct bad logic.

4. Collecting data no one can act on

Your tracker should be a system of action, not a system of observation. If your tracker doesn’t yield data that changes your marketing, employee training, products and brand messages, it isn’t doing its job.

5. Designing a long, bloated survey

You won’t find many people to take a 30-minute survey. Be brief, be brilliant, and be gone.

6. Contracting rear-view-mirror syndrome

Your tracker should change the future, not describe the past.

7. Having a tracker that isn’t sensitive to marketing efforts

A brand tracker should react to your marketing efforts. You can’t know if your campaigns move the needle if there’s no needle.

8. Neglecting to build shared dashboards

Share your tracker data with many teams using shared dashboards. If your tracker data only comes out as an annual PowerPoint presentation, it can’t make an impact.

9. Tolerating a high margin of error

No one will believe your brand tracker if you don’t have a sample size big enough to be statistically significant at the 95% confidence level. If you plan on breaking out tracker results by demographic or behavioral groups, you will need to have adequate representation at that level as well.

10. Using respondents who aren’t randomly selected

Asking your customers isn’t a scientific way to run a tracker. Your sample needs to be randomly selected and representative of the marketplace.

11. Changing survey questions from wave to wave

It’s really important to get your brand tracker right from the very beginning because changing it later is a huge hassle. Remember, your tracker can’t track unless it asks the same questions at different points in time.

12. Changing screening and sampling from wave to wave

Just like your questions, your screening and sampling approach shouldn’t change in future waves. Keeping your tracker’s sampling methodology the same over time will give you high-quality results you can trust.

13. Asking no demographic or psychographic questions

The beauty of a brand tracker is understanding how different groups of people react to your brand and move down the funnel. If you don’t ask demographic, psychographic and behavioral questions, you’ll miss out on the best parts of a tracker.

14. Accepting tracker data contains gibberish responses

Every survey will have a few nonsense responses, but if this is a frequent pattern it means you haven’t connected with a high-quality sample, or your survey isn’t able to engage respondents.

15. Tolerating speeders and straight-liners

Never trust all of your respondents. Go through your response data and throw out unengaged respondents and bad actors. These no-faith responses will corrupt your data and cast doubt on your findings.

16. Noticing that teams only talk about the tracker when it’s time for a new one

People tend to only talk about Groundhog Day on the actual Groundhog Day. Your tracker shouldn’t be like Groundhog Day. If it’s working, your tracker will be the subject of conversation year-round.

17. Not including brand funnel metrics in marketing goals

A tracker shows you how well you are channeling people through your brand funnel. If teams aren’t incorporating funnel goals into their product, marketing and PR strategies, they won’t know how their work impacted the brand.

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Aleksandra Polovina

Aleksandra Polovina is a contributor to the Qualtrics blog.

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