We have been running global brand tracking programs for some of the world’s most iconic brands for over 30 years, helping them better understand consumer behavior and strengthen customer loyalty. When we transition a tracker from another agency, the client invariably reports that they’re struggling to keep the research fresh and deliver new insights with each reporting cycle. These clients have decided to work with Material because they want to make their brand tracker more dynamic and actionable in order to improve brand health and brand awareness.
A new client recently told us: “If I get another 100-page PowerPoint deck full of boring trend charts, I will rip my fingernails off.” Another said she would like us to provide a little “pizzazz” – something more engaging than the lifeless reports she’d received from prior partners. Luckily, we have a few creative ways to reinvigorate messaging in what would otherwise be another dull presentation.
Given our successful long-term relationships with global brands, we wanted to share some of our tips for keeping things fresh. If a brand tracker isn’t actionable and can’t reinvigorate brand strategy and brand performance, why even do it?
1. Use video in your brand tracking surveys
One great way to help bring brand tracking findings to life, explore brand perception, and ascertain the success of marketing efforts, is through the usage of video open ends. Consumers record a video of themselves answering a survey question and then upload it. Asking your target audience what topics like value, quality, and safety mean to them can shed a lot of light on why key metrics may shift over time. It also provides insight on what brands can do to address issues and trends and ultimately create more powerful marketing campaigns. In fact, almost any topic warranting a deeper dive to fully understand market share, metrics, and brand loyalty is a great candidate for video open ends.
In 2020, safety took on a whole new meaning in the retail and ride share space, for example. Capturing the best video responses and synthesizing them into a story-driven highlight reel provided us with an effective way to breathe new energy into the reporting for our client, who appreciated consumer insights delivered in this fun format. At the same time, this deliverable provided actionable insights in a format that is a lot more digestible and fun than a 100-page deck of mostly static data.
In addition to a gritty, realistic format featuring responses recorded by consumers on their smartphones, we also employed higher production value to create videos with a moderator who told the story of the quarter or summary of the year.
This was supported by relevant images of the findings from the latest tracking wave. Combined with other company-related information (e.g., sales, ad campaign launches, and findings from other brand tracking research and initiatives), were were able to present a truly holistic narrative.
2. Keep your brand tracking data visual
A different way to breathe some life into a tracking program is through the usage of well-designed visuals. Here are a few forms that might take:
Using cutting edge technology, we can translate data into visually pleasing data dashboards.
Dashboards can make a story jump off the screen in a clean and concise manner for the viewer. With annotations of what brand health findings mean and what the implications are, the dashboard essentially becomes the report, which can then be exported to PPT or another format as desired for hard-copy sharing.
More recently, we have adopted the creation of highly visual microsites. These sites are intuitive, easy to navigate, and quickly provide key information from the latest wave (or full year) of tracking in a story-driven form.
These are most appropriate for the higher-level reader (e.g., C-suite) who wants a quick overview of brand health and metrics in a visual format, but doesn’t necessarily want to get into the weeds of the data.
Motion graphics are a great way to quickly and effectively convey complex insights to a broader audience. Motion graphics can connect your audience to a story by using animation combining elements of static design with video.
A majority (82%) of web traffic will be video in 2022. Since social media is increasingly important, it’s worth thinking about how to best incorporate motion graphics into your data-solutions. A motion graphic can easily be incorporated into a report for key stakeholders and keeps relevant information (e.g., key segments and demographics) top of mind within a large-scale organization.
3. Blend data streams for dynamic reports of brand tracking studies
The blending of data streams from different sources is especially conducive to tracking, which can tie everything back up into a single, cohesive brand story.
Additionally, the data can be modeled in Advanced Market Prediction Systems (AMPS) which truly bring research to life. AMPS show what specific measurements (e.g., marketing allocations, promotion mix, distribution, etc.) clients can take to optimize their bottom line and improve brand performance.
In this age of digital media domination, market research report formats will continue to evolve. Rather than clinging on to an antiquated format for old time’s sake, we encourage you to push the envelope on how your research findings and customer insights are delivered.
Whichever of the above techniques you choose to employ, we guarantee there will never again be a need to lose fingernails over another boring tracking report. Ultimately, data collection in a dynamic brand tracking study will help you raise brand awareness and create a truly memorable brand experience.