Now more than ever, businesses need to track their brand to keep their customers happy.
As humans we are programmed to prefer things that we’re familiar with over ones that are novel.
Think about it—when buying cereal in the supermarket do you pick the brand you know, trust, and like, or do you go for the latest offering on the shelf? Or say you were looking to open a new bank account—would you choose one of the new brands on the market over the bank that you have used for years?
Across all industries, in most instances it’s fair to assume you’re going to choose the option you’re most familiar with. Our preference to select brands we know and have used before is known as the familiarity heuristic. And in today’s crowded and uncertain marketplaces having strong brand awareness—and therefore familiarity—is a key competitive advantage.
However, with consumers’ behaviours, preferences, and attitudes changing at an incredible rate right now brands are having to work and act faster than ever to maintain and grow awareness.
This major market shift demands a new approach to brand tracking and brand management, helping businesses identify the lead indicators they need to build brand preference.
Brand Actions in a Crisis are Key
Being a brand that is salient and meaningful is critical as businesses navigate challenges created by the pandemic they need to carefully consider how they show up in the market.
Research from Qualtrics found brand actions during a crisis have a major impact on trust for two-thirds of Singaporeans. As a result, one right or wrong move can have a major impact. With little margin for error, brands need to listen closely to the needs and behaviours of their customers, employees, and the wider market.
For example, the same Qualtrics report revealed more than 80 per cent of people in Singapore believe it’s important for brands to take care of their employees and customers, and not take advantage of the crisis to maximise profits right now. This shows that in today’s world of brand engagement, a brand’s purpose will only be relevant if it sits within people’s own purpose, and not the other way around.
A great example of a business that is adjusting its brand tracking platforms to increase awareness is the international skincare company Beiersdorf, which includes brands like NIVEA and Elastoplast. One of the most important actions Beiersdorf made in response to COVID-19 was to quickly deploy a market sentiment tracker to understand how people were feeling and behaving during the pandemic.
Insights into how people were feeling about the pandemic and its impact on product usage, spending habits, and media consumption helped Beiersdorf optimise the go-to-market strategies across its portfolio of brands.
By tracking sentiment weekly, Beiersdorf has been able to stay ahead of the market by reacting faster, bringing out campaigns sooner, and capitalising on market opportunities. As a result, it’s able to remain familiar and relevant while things continue to change at an unprecedented rate.
Brand Tracking is Business Critical
In this new reality, brands need to go beyond measurement by taking action to address customer needs. Data needs to be in real-time, and you need to be able to monitor how you’re delivering at every touch point—empowering you to prioritise key moments, allocate and optimise resources, and identify opportunities for growth.
When we look at previous recessions, businesses that increased marketing spend typically experienced high sales, market share, or earnings during or after the downturn. While increasing spend might not be possible right now, every brand has the opportunity to access data uncovering lead indicators with the right tools—which is why instead we recommend focussing your efforts on trimming brand tacking instruments to focus on the bare brand and category essentials helping you anticipate performance and plan ahead.
By adjusting your brand tracking programmes, you’ll have all the insights you need to build brand awareness and preference today and into the future.
Lisa Khatri is the research and brand experience lead for Qualtrics in APJ. Drawing upon more than 15 years' of experience across Asia Pacific and the Americas, Lisa provides customers with expert advice and consulting services to guide, enable and support best-in-class research, brand tracking, and experience management (XM) programmes.
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