The Most Important Metrics and KPIs for Measuring Brand Performance

This article was originally posted at BrandStruck 

It’s not uncommon, even for the big and otherwise well-managed brands, to measure too many metrics of little relevance, and thus not put enough emphasis on the ones that matter. For example, measuring the engagement level on your social media platforms in likes and shares or the virality of your videos expressed in YouTube views doesn’t mean much from the business perspective, unless you are able to determine to what extent (if at all) these metrics can positively affect your revenue.

Measuring brand performance is not about the number of likes or even the amount of traffic on your website. It’s about understanding the process of how your consumers, clients, viewers or financial supporters make purchasing decisions in your category (e.g., cars, soft drinks or streaming services), and in which part of that process you can increase your chances of being selected as their brand of choice.

Today, we will take a look at the most useful quantitative brand metrics, which measure brand performance at each stage of a decision-making process.

 

Stage 1: Awareness

a) What you want to find out

Do your (potential) customers remember your brand?

b) Key performance indicators (KPIs):

– Top of mind (TOM) brand awareness
– Spontaneous brand awareness
– Prompted brand awareness

c) How can these KPIs be measured?

To measure TOM and spontaneous awareness, you should use unprompted questions. For example, “When you think about smartphones (TV channels, charities etc.), which brands come to your mind?”.
For prompted awareness, you need to present a respondent with a list of brands and ask which ones he or she has heard of.

The percentage of respondents who mention your brand first (unprompted) gives you your brand’s TOM awareness (e.g., 20%).
The percentage of people who mention your brand unprompted, but not necessarily first, is your spontaneous awareness (e.g., 60%).
The percentage of people who recognize your brand on the list is your prompted awareness (e.g., 80%).

d) Caveats

Even relatively big brands can have very low TOM awareness (0 to single digits). However, you have a bigger problem if your brand’s prompted awareness is low, which for a mainstream brand is 60% or less.

 

Stage 2: Familiarity

a) What you want to find out

Do your (potential) customers know what your brand stands for?

b) KPIs:

– Self-declared knowledge about the brand
– Brand profile

c) How can these KPIs be measured?

Before exploring the profile of your brand, it’s advisable to first ask respondents whether they know anything about it or have any associations with it. This can be a simple “yes or no” question.
If you don’t ask this beforehand, you will also receive answers about the profile of your brand from people who know nothing about it (except for the name or logo).
When you eliminate this group, you can ask the remaining respondents how they would rate your brand (e.g., on a 1-5 scale) on a number of different attributes. Depending on the category, it should be a mix of rational (e.g., “they have good coverage”, “their products are widely available”) and emotional descriptors (e.g., “it’s for people like me”, “it’s friendly”).

d) Caveats

The higher the brand awareness, the stronger the brand is on almost every dimension. Smaller brands, even with distinct positioning, usually perform worse on all attributes, including their USP. For mainstream brands, the focus should be on growing the overall profile over time, which will mean that people have learnt more about the brand (familiarity).

 

Stage 3: Consideration

a) What you want to find out

Do your (potential) customers want to buy your brand?

b) KPIs:

– Purchase intent

c) How can these KPIs be measured?

Simply ask whether people would consider purchasing your product or brand.

d) Caveats

In most cases, this metric is positively correlated with sales. However, if this is not the case (people say they want to buy/sign up to/support etc. your brand, but your financial numbers do not seem to reflect this intent), a more in-depth analysis is required to explain the discrepancy. For example, people may want to buy a certain brand, but, then, at a point of sale, decide to go for something cheaper or are unable to find it due to limited distribution.

 

Stage 4: Purchase

a) What you want to find out

Do people buy your brand?

b) KPIs:

– Sales volume
– Sales value

c) How can these KPIs be measured?

How many items have been bought, and of what value. This is the only metric, which you don’t need to measure with research – it’s your real data, not people’s declarations.

d) Caveats

It’s crucial to know all factors that may have influenced your sales in a chosen period, and how much “the brand factor” mattered compared to the other factors (e.g., extended distribution, new pricing).

If your company can get this one right (easier said than done), you are top brand management experts and everyone should be learning from you. It’s that rare.

 

Stage 5: Advocacy

a) What you want to find out

Would your customers recommend your brand to their friends?

b) KPIs:

– Net Promoter Score (NPS)

c) How can these KPIs be measured?

Asking people how likely they are, on a scale from 0 to 10, to recommend your brand to a friend. Respondents giving your brand 9 or 10 are called promoters, 7-8 are called passives and 0-6 are called detractors. To calculate the final result, you need to subtract the percentage of detractors from the percentage of promoters. If you have 10% distractors, 70% passives and 20% promoters, your NPS is 10 (20-10).
It is also possible to have a negative NPS.

d) Caveats

NPS is particularly important in high-value categories (e.g., cars), in which people tend to act less impulsively and ask for opinions of others before committing to a purchase.

We’ve covered the most useful brand metrics measuring brand performance at every stage of a purchasing decision. However, it’s worth noting that these metrics only analyse the current state of play and don’t give answers as to why your performance is what it is. 

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