By Brianna Valleskey
Brand marketing is, in fact, very measurable.
(And if you have any about this, check out part 1 of this series).
But once you know what metrics you can measure for brand campaigns, which ones should you focus on? How do you measure your overall brand awareness? And what KPIs do you show your C-suite?
We’re tackling all of that and more in part 2 of this series. So get ready for a fun, strategic, and data-driven ride.
Knowing What to Measure (and When)
Understanding what metrics you’ll measure to determine success should be an integral part of your brand campaign planning. As you think through what your goal of the campaign is, consider what metrics you want to see move as a result. Ideally, these will be leading indicators on whether you’ll hit your larger, overarching goals for the quarter or the year.
For example: If your yearly PR KPI is to own the Share of Voice in organic media placements, then “# of media placements” would be a good campaign-based KPI. If you want to increase the organic web traffic to your website, then “increase in direct/referral web sessions” is where you want to focus (whether you look at the direct traffic or referral traffic will be based on the nature of your campaign: are you expecting visitors to come directly to your website from a podcast or out-of-home advertisement, or will they come to your website via referral from another web domain?)
The number of metrics you choose to look at should correlate with the size of your campaign. A small- or medium-sized campaign with only a few activities targeted at one channel may only need one metric in order to determine whether or not you are successful.
But a larger, integrated campaign with multiple activities going out across different channels will require that you measure multiple metrics. Which metrics though? Generally, if your campaign is primarily brand-focused, then I would recommend focusing on one primary brand metric and two or three secondary metrics. If you’re trying to measure the brand part of an integrated campaign, however, then you probably only need to look at two or three brand metrics maximum. (We’ll address the dangers of over-measuring later in this piece).
The length of time you continue to measure a campaign should also be based on its size and the amount that you invested (time, effort, money, etc.) in building it. Small campaigns can usually be measured in a matter of weeks, medium campaigns can go on for up to three months, and large campaigns can be measured anywhere between 6 to 12 months after launch.
Brand KPIs for Your Leadership and C-Suite
So we know that your executive leadership team is busy, and it’s not helpful for anyone to get them too bogged down in the weeds—especially when it comes to metrics.
I’ve listed a lot of metrics in both parts of this series, but keep it simple for your leadership team. Pick three to five metrics that align the most with your primary brand awareness strategies and OKRs. Let me repeat: The metrics you select must align with your OKRs or stated goals for the year or the quarter. Otherwise, you’re just presenting numbers that will confuse and overwhelm your audience.
What those three metrics are will vary depending on your company stage, industry, and go-to-market approach. A healthy mix for a B2B SaaS company, for example, could look something like this …
I would use something like this as an overarching reporting framework, with campaigns metrics and what I call “milestone metrics” mixed in: when you pass 100,000 email subscribers, social media followers, daily website visitors, etc.
But Are You Gaining Brand Momentum?
When trying to build a brand, there are a few qualitative signals you can look at, as well, to understand whether or not you’re gaining traction:
Sure, brand surveys are a little old school, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t use it. Conduct your own survey with SurveyMonkey or Typeform to send to a segment of your market asking how aware of your company they are, how aware of your products or services they are, etc.
Or you can partner with a third party service. You’ve probably seen a lot of these on Youtube asking things like, “Which of the following brands have you heard of or seen lately?” with multiple choice answers that are generally two leaders in a space and two newcomers. These are more often used for B2C brands, but can also be an effective way to measure brand in B2B.
Tools, Tips, and a Tiny Bit of Parting Wisdom
A Quick Word on Tools
Some of your brand metrics can be measured manually, while others will likely require a specialized too. Meltwater is great for measuring PR Share of Voice (but you can track that manually by simply setting up Google Alerts and tallying placements in a spreadsheet).
SEMrush and Ahrefs are great for SEO share of voice or simply your own keyword rankings. Check out Google Search Console for branded search volume and Google Analytics for all web traffic, which can be broken down by acquisition type (organic, paid, referral, etc.), site behavior, and so much more.
Hootsuite and Sprout Social are great social media tools. Salesforce has a social media tool that can make it easier to connect your social activity with the customers in your CRM, but it’s pretty intricate (and, of course, expensive), so not a tool I would recommend until you have a dedicated social media manager on your team.
You can also use a tool like the Shield App that has an “earned media calculator,” which quantifies how much you would have to pay to get the same reach as you’re getting with your social media activity.
Most of what I’ve mentioned above is related to digital campaigns, but there are a lot of tools to help you connect online and offline marketing. Direct mail campaigns can utilize a custom CTA that takes people to a dedicated landing page just for the recipients (a tool like Sendoso may also help with the tracking here). You can use that same strategy for something like a print ad or billboard. Or if the CTA in any of those places is to call a phone number, you can use intelligent call tracking solutions like ringDNA.
One Tip to Rule Them All
Are you ready for it?
Not all metrics are created equal. No sir. I know I’ve delineated between campaign metrics and C-level metrics already, but here’s a quick breakdown of different levels of metrics that sums much of these two essays up:
But there’s one more thing you should know …
A Tiny Bit of Parting Wisdom
Just because you can be measuring all of these brand awareness metrics, doesn’t mean you should. I see a lot of teams become strangers to strategy by focusing on all the metrics they’re trying to influence and measure.
There is no one-size-fits all approach. Every brand strategy is different. A good place to start is to pick three channels you’re going to focus on, and no more than two metrics for a channel. But learn and iterate and grow to figure out how you can best use your metrics to drive growth, not just measure it.
What doesn’t get measured doesn’t get managed — this is true. But what is over-measured becomes unmanageable. So find the right balance of focusing on metrics that work for you, not the other way around.
Godspeed, and happy branding!
Fearless Thoughts are my insights on marketing, entrepreneurship, startups, business growth, creativity and whatever else comes to mind on any given day. Writing is how I make sense of the world.