Nick Gower, Mentally Friendly
Measuring a Brand’s True Value
"Companies must take a broader bird's eye view to truly calculate brand value".
Social Mention, Hootsuite, Trackur, Brand Watch, Icerocket, Topsy… the list is seemingly endless. The consistent introduction of social tracking tools means there is no shortage of ways to measure the social performance and value of a brand. The question is, do these new tools really make our lives easier or do they just create more confusion?</p>
According to a recent IBM study “marketing specialists recognize that the world in which they now operate is much more volatile, uncertain and complex. 79% of marketing professionals believe that the level of complexity will be high or very high over the next five years. Only 48% feel prepared to cope with it.” That’s a staggering insight. There are more solutions for measuring the performance of a brand than ever before, yet less than half of us feel we can deal with the complexity.
This may be because most digital marketers spend their time analyzing performance at a micro, channel level. While there is a place for this level of analysis, brands must take a broader bird’s eye view to truly calculate a brand’s value.
What does ‘true value’ of a brand actually mean?
Put simply, it is a multi-channel view of a brand’s engagement performance online. It’s important to note here that acquisition alone does not give us an accurate or valuable measure of a brand’s true value. What is the point of 500,000 followers if none of them are engaged? If you have no influence over them? If you can’t convert those ‘fans’ to an action or goal conversion on your website?
Calculating the true value of a brand means looking beyond social media engagement metrics to include website performance. Your website, whether transactional or not, is where your potential customer will achieve the most in-depth brand experience. Social Media delivers your audience a ‘taste’ of your brand, but the ultimate rationale for social channels must be to drive the consumer into a purchase funnel. To eliminate the rank and performance of your website when calculating value is to eliminate the single most important engagement objective that you have online.
Finally, data needs context. Otherwise, it’s completely arbitrary. So calculating true value means appraising it within the context of other category players.
So, how can a brand’s true value be used?
Understanding the significance of your brand allows more accurate benchmarking against your competitors. You are no longer comparing on a channel level, but comparing based on the overall performance of your brand online. It is also a terrific opportunity to identify best practices within a category.
But also consider this – staying within your category is limiting. When you understand the true value of your brand, you must also consider the performance of brands outside your category that are appealing to your customer. Nike doesn’t just look at what Adidas does. They’re paying very close attention to what Red Bull does given the energy drink’s high brand value score and direct appeal to the Nike audience.
The most strategic way to source and approach brand partnerships is to understand your brand’s influence. Having a true value score for your brand makes it clear where the greatest incremental gains can be made from an engagement perspective. You essentially end up with a brief or roadmap to vet potential partners.
The same can be said for sourcing individual influencers to partner with on content marketing opportunities. When searching for those influencers, measuring their true value means considering more than just the size of their audience. It means measuring the engagement of that audience to ensure that you are partnering with someone who actually has influence.
Nick Gower serves as co-founder of Mentally Friendly. His team has engineered an online tool called ‘BrandData’ that measures the performance of categories – and brands within those categories – across all channels.
Illustration provided by US-based designer, Tres Swygert.