Clients are increasingly questioning the relevance of brand tracking, but it’s not because they don’t see the value of brands. What they doubt is the effectiveness of brand tracking programs.
Kantar Millward Brown and Kantar TNS have been talking to clients and account teams all around the world to understand what’s going on. We see that, to maximize brand value today, clients need an agile, actionable and future-oriented integrated framework to build and grow their brands in the digital age. The ability to act immediately is more important than ever before.
We now design “Holistic Brand Guidance Systems” to address three core needs: speed, cost efficiency, and diagnostic insight, to provide better value for each brand and their budget. We harness all available data to help them shape future growth. Our brand guidance systems, whether a deep-dive strategic solution or ongoing performance measurement and optimization, all focus on an understanding of how to drive brand growth.
There are four layers to this multi-source control system, helping brand managers define their strategies and marketing plans, and allowing them to continuously improve their activations.
1. Brand strategy at the core
We see brand strategy and brand guidance as two sides of the same coin. An effective brand guidance system needs to check clients are on track with their strategy – and help them course-correct accordingly. It then needs to feed back into and inform the evolution of that strategy. Our approach provides a holistic way to inform brand management. In the brand strategy space, we can help clients understand what their brand currently stands for, what it should stand for, and how to activate it consistently across channels to help them create winning brands.
2. Performance measurement to fuel fast action and reaction
In this fast-moving, competitive world businesses need to read the signals about their brand and campaign performance, and make sure they’re aligned with the brand strategy, in order to act and react quickly. This requires:
A framework linked to growth combining survey and non-survey data, providing the actionable insights clients need for their business, when they need them. This should integrate validated survey measures (fast, mobile-friendly surveys) with social, search, sales, media, behavioral data and more. Programs should be tailored to brands’ specific needs.
Advanced analytics, which can highlight critical information in an interactive dashboard.
Hot alert, early-warning indicators (flagging up strong growth, alarming signs of decline, or competitive activity) to help clients course-correct and optimize marketing investment.
Real-time performance measurement systems allow brands to make fast, informed decisions, helping them stay one step ahead of the competition. These tools should all be adapted to the scale of the brand and its media investments.
3. Deep-dive modules for continuous improvement
In this world of finite budgets but fragmented, hard-to-engage consumers, brand managers need to ensure every marketing dollar is working hard. They need diagnostic insight into the latest consumer sentiment and how their activity is (or isn’t) connecting with consumers. So, brands should trigger relevant deep-dive modules to answer their challenges as they arise, such as when signals in the data raise questions about a certain activation, or competitor activity. Research can provide actionable insights on topics related to touchpoint performance and activation, media investment optimization and creative content, and guide brand managers as they seek to make their brand better resonate with their target audience.
4. Prediction and future focus
Integrated insights provide predictive, future-focused and actionable recommendations. At a time when growth is hard to come by, marketers need to be constantly uncovering and defining the best opportunities for future growth. They need to harness all of the market and consumer data they have available to understand exactly where and how to keep winning. Brands should therefore periodically regroup, pulling together all available data and using it as a lens through which to look at the drivers of their growth. Holistic brand guidance offers a tiered portfolio of advanced analytics solutions to drive consumer-centric decision making. Analytical approaches, tools and time-series models use data from all available sources to identify key growth drivers (both short and long term), as well as future opportunities and ways to improve ROI.
These approaches use research in creative, agile and logical ways to shape business understanding of how consumers respond to brands in the real world – and fuel long-term growth in brand value.
Written by Pierre Gomy,Managing Director Brand & Communication,Kantar TNS - Kantar Millward Brown