Brand health refers to the overall perception and well-being of a brand in the eyes of its target audience and the market as a whole. It is an assessment of the brand’s equity, reputation, and customer sentiment across various measurable aspects of a brand, including brand awareness, brand preference, brand loyalty, brand advocacy, and market share. Brand health is essential because a strong and healthy brand can attract and retain customers, drive sales, and maintain a competitive advantage.
Measuring brand health helps companies understand how well their brand is performing, how it is perceived by customers, and whether it aligns with their business objectives. More importantly, it should identify gaps between your brand and that of your competitors and priority actions to close that gap.
In this blog, we list seven key metrics to measure brand health, along with data and methodologies that can be used to implement a brand monitoring program. Several key metrics and methodologies can be used to measure brand health. Here are some commonly employed approaches:
#1. Brand awareness
This metric evaluates how familiar consumers are with a brand. It can be measured through surveys, interviews, or by analyzing metrics such as brand recall and recognition.
Aided & unaided recall
You may have seen an example of this when you were asked in a survey to list brands that come to mind in a particular industry. This type of measure is called unaided recall, and brand managers would want to know the frequency in which their brand was mentioned without any prompting. Alternatively, in aided recall, consumers would be presented a list of brands and asked which ones they are aware of. Surveys and polls are the most common methods for collecting brand recall data.
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Brand mention and its reach
Consumers would have to be aware of your brand to mention it on social media or search it online. Brand managers can use search engine optimization (SEO) and social media monitoring tools to count the frequency that this occurs and tally the number of times the brand is mentioned (brand mentions). A brand mention on social media can also reach a broader audience, so the reach of brand mentions is a helpful metric of the number of potential consumers who have seen it.
#2. Brand perception & association
Consumers’ perception of a brand involves understanding how they perceive its attributes, values, and positioning. Key questions for the brand manager might include what attributes come to mind when thinking about a brand or do consumers more readily associate value-for-money with my brand or my competitors’ brands.
Attribute mentions and sentiment
Traditionally, brand surveys and focus groups were the primary data collection methods; however, current options in content analysis, sentiment analysis, and review analytics help the brand manager summarize and order unstructured data such as customer reviews and comments. This leads us to the next important brand health metric.
#3. Brand & competitive share
In addition to market share data by sales, brands also compete for positioning in the consumer’s mind. Competitive benchmarking studies can reveal a brand’s relative strengths and weaknesses across a range of metrics including:
Share of voice (SOV)
This metric measures the visibility of your brand relative to your competitors. SOV enables you to gauge the extent to which your brand is featured in marketing, advertising, and social media conversations. Brand managers would want to know the percentage of all category brand mentions on search and social media that belong to their own brand. Tools in brand monitoring and social media listening can capture and report SOV data.
Based on data from attribute mentions and sentiment, all brands can be placed on a positioning map, also known as a perceptual map. On this map, brand managers can see which attributes where their brand stands out distinctively from competing brands. They can also see which brands cluster together, in need of further differentiation. This is a powerful example of how qualitative data can be transformed and visualized in an instructive and measurable manner.
#4. Brand preference
Measuring brand preference involves assessing the extent to which customers prefer your brand over competing brands in the market. It provides insights into consumer behavior and their inclination to choose your brand over others. Their preference might be exhibited in observable behaviors, including:
The growth of new and return visits to your website is a fair indication of interest or preference towards the brand, particularly when traffic comes from a keyword search of your brand (branded search). Traffic on a landing page from advertising campaigns are also a good indication, as is the average Click Through Rate (CTR) for those campaigns. Tools in competitive intelligence or competitor analysis will reveal website traffic of your competitors as a benchmark.
Earned mentions and backlinks
Other businesses, publications, and influencers who link back to your website (known as referral traffic) is another indication of their preference for your brand. Brand managers interested in measuring brand preference would monitor the growth in the share of website traffic that comes from backlinks and referrals, which benchmarking it to the industry average.
Higher engagement levels demonstrate a higher preference for your brand as customers actively seek information and engage with your brand online. This could be measured in the average engagement rate for social media posts, or average page views and session durations on your website.
Surveys and choice experiments can include questions about brand preference. The more common method is to ask consumers to rate their likelihood of choosing your brand compared to competitors or to indicate their preferred brand in a specific product category. In experiment surveys, consumers are presented with different scenarios and asked to make choices between brands. Surveys could also be used to gauge consumers’ resistance to switching brands. These methods help quantify the relative preference for your brand.
#5. Brand loyalty & advocacy
A healthy brand has loyal customers, who might also be advocates. There are several internal data sources that can be used to measure customer loyalty, including customer churn, customer retention rates, repeat visits and purchases, and loyalty program enrolments and participation rates. Similarly, customer advocacy can also be tracked through Net Promoter Score (NPS) surveys and social media mentions. With so much data, brand managers can sometimes overlook a major external data source:
Both loyalty and advocacy can be measured from customer feedback on online review platforms such as Google My Business (Google reviews), Yelp, TripAdvisor and Amazon. These reviews are arguably the most important data source of brand advocacy because they are visible to other consumers who are looking for word-of-mouth recommendations. Sentiments and words in the reviews can be analyzed for expressions of brand loyalty and brand evangelism. Tools in reputation management or review analytics can generate benchmarked metrics for a brand’s competitors.
[Check out this blog if you would like to know more about how customer reviews are a great starting point to measure the health of your brand.]
You may read about brand equity or brand performance as other measures or related concepts of brand health; however, these methods are often more about profit, sales, and valuation models, which are heavily influenced by other factors that have little to do with customers’ perceptions of your brand.
It’s important to note that measuring brand health is an ongoing process, and multiple metrics should be used together to gain a comprehensive understanding. Companies often combine qualitative and quantitative methods to gather data and derive actionable insights to improve their brand health.
Check out our ‘About BrandTrack’ page to understand how we translate customer feedback into actionable insights for your brand health. Better yet, check out our sample BrandTrack dashboard here to see it in action.