We have been running global brand tracking programs for some of the world’s most iconic brands for over 30 years. Just about every time we transition a client’s tracker from another agency, they report struggling to keep the research fresh, and they’ve almost always been struggling to deliver new insights with each reporting cycle. These clients have decided to work with Material because they are hoping to make their tracker more dynamic and ultimately more actionable.
A new client recently shared, “If I get another 100-page PowerPoint deck full of boring trend charts, I will rip my fingernails off.” Another said she would just like to see us provide a little “pizzazz” compared to the previously lifeless reports they’d received from prior partners. Luckily, we have a few creative ways to reinvigorate what would otherwise be another dull presentation.
Given our successful long-term relationships with global brands, we wanted to share some of the ways we keep things fresh because if a tracker isn’t actionable, why even do it?
1. Use video in your brand tracking surveys
One great way to help bring brand tracking findings to life is through the usage of video open ends. Asking real consumers what topics like value, quality, and safety mean to them can shed a lot of light on why a higher-level metric may be shifting over time. It also provides insight on what brands can do to address issues and trends. In fact, almost any topic warranting a deeper dive to fully understand a finding is a great candidate for video open ends.
In 2020, safety took on a whole new meaning in the retail and rideshare space, for example. Capturing the best video responses and synthesizing them into a story-driven highlight reel provided us with a nice way to breathe some new energy into the reporting for our client. 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 featuring consumer responses in a gritty, realistic format (they’re frequently capturing video 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, along with other company-related information (e.g., sales, ad campaign launches, and findings from other research initiatives) for 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:
With today’s technology, if you can draw it or design it in a software platform, you can translate it into a visually pleasing data dashboard.
Dashboards can make a story jump off the screen in a clean and concise manner for the viewer. With annotations of what the 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 and easy to navigate, providing the key information emanating from the latest wave (or full year) of tracking quickly and in a story-driven form.
These are most appropriate for the higher-level reader (e.g., C-suite) who wants a quick overview in a visual format, but doesn’t necessarily want to get into the weeds of the data.
The use of motion graphics in reporting is another tool 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 by 2022, so it’s worth thinking about how to best incorporate it into your data-solutions. A motion graphic can easily be incorporated into a report, used to present to key stakeholders, and keep relevant information (e.g., key segments) 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 the research to life as it shows what specific measurements (e.g., marketing allocations, promotion mix, distribution, etc.) clients can take to optimize their bottom line.
In this age of digital media domination, market research report formats are going to 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 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.