Is Your Research Stuck in the 1980s? Update Your Brand Tracker!
It is time to update your brand tracker. In 1988, my TV only had seven channels. There was no social media, internet, or email. Cable and satellite TV was a luxury that most people did not have. As a result, a commercial could dominate the airwaves and print ad would take over the major magazines and newspapers. In the 1980s, it was easier to be seen and heard.
The following thirty years brought a shift in the way people consume media. As internet providers such as AOL became more popular in the 1990s, consumers began surfing the web and sending emails. By the 2000s, traditional media outlets such as magazines, newspapers, direct mail, and radio have all suffered a hit from the digital revolution.
In 2007, Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone and media was truly accessible anywhere and anytime. Today, waking up in the morning, the first thing many people do is grab their iPhone to check the weather, news, social media, text, or email.
Changing With the Times – Brand Tracker Makeover
Given the change in the way that consumers absorb media, awareness of brands is no longer driven simply by a TV commercial or a print ad. The consumer journey has become fragmented. The traditional shopping behavior is transformed into a labyrinth of multi-channel interactions that influence the customer decision process.
There are more media channels and content than ever before. Also, consumers are now viewing media from multiple devices simultaneously. The amount of time spent online has quadrupled between 2007 and 2016, with total internet usage coming close to the amount of time spent watching TV (IPA Media in Focus, 2018).
However, long-term sales and brand equity are still crucial regardless of the media mix, and it is important to track this data needs. Current brand tracking surveys often miss the boat when it comes to understanding the new consumer journey.
While building a brand that consumers love still needs to include measuring a brand’s fame, emotional association, and what drive sales. Brand building in the digital age also includes tracking how prospects, current users of a brand, and the competition utilize media channels (e.g., search, YouTube, banner ads, TV commercials). It is critical to see how this multi-channel behavior of buying a product or service impacts brand relevance, experience, and if visitors want to return to these sites.
Successful Brand Tracking Yields Actionable Results
Advertisement placement, messaging, and brand promise analyzed by how consumers are shopping will yield more actionable results than a standard brand tracker. It also allows a company to measure the impact of a brand and its competitors during the purchasing decision.
Brand tracking surveys need to break down the decision journey. Identify critical points of influence regardless of if it is online or offline. Content is widespread in ways that nobody in the 1980’s and before could foresee. Who knew that there would be computers, phones, and tablets in every home in the country? Your brand tracker needs to account for all technology use to help you determine where to place your products effectively and efficiently.
Most importantly given that the consumer journey is constantly shifting a brand tracker needs to be flexible. While tracking and measuring key data points are critical, adding or subtracting questions should not be seen as a negative. You can update your brand tracker without the world ending but if you want to stay in the 80’s – feel free!
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