Brand tracking essentials: Using brand insight to maximize marketing spend

The right brand performance indicators from brand tracking can help you maximize your marketing budget and futureproof your strategy.
23 March 2023
brand performance

Product Marketing Director, Kantar

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Identifying the most effective metrics and prioritizing the right opportunities for your marketing spend will help you to make the strategic decisions that will drive brand growth, even in an uncertain economic climate.

We explored how proactively investing in brand tracking can help you navigate risks during an economic downturn. Now, it’s time to ensure you get more bang for your buck. Let us walk you through the importance of understanding your brand performance and how to use brand tracking to ensure your business remains successful throughout any recession or when facing headwinds.

Understanding your brand performance leads to growth

Evidence from one of our clients during the last recession shows just how important the right marketing investment is to grow your brand. During the 2008 recession, a leading premium chocolate brand was facing pressure from its global headquarters to reduce its media budget by 40% following a weak sales season. However, based on evidence from their Kantar brand guidance program, our client increased media pressure relative to competitors and achieved stronger communications awareness than all other brands (premium and non-premium).

Increasing media pressure relative to competitors

Increasing media pressure relative to competitors

And our tracking database shows that when brands (at least) maintain their communications awareness, all other brand measures hold up.

When communication awareness levels are maintained, other brand measures hold up better

Percentage of brand increasing

Driving brand growth

Based on our experience, this is how understanding brand performance can lead to brand growth:

  • Make your marketing spend more effective. When you are marketing on a budget, it is essential that your spend is effective in achieving your marketing goals of strengthening perceptions and predisposition to buy or pay more. Brand performance programs help you measure success against these goals.
  • Make your marketing more efficient. Reaching a wider audience and getting your brand messages across is crucial for brand growth. Brand health tracking allows you to monitor your campaigns in market, optimize the mix of ads to maximize reach. This means you can drive brand awareness and recall and improve marketing ROI.
  • Build brand equity. Once you understand your successes and improvement areas, you can identify which activities need a boost to make strategic improvements and build brand equity. Nudge your equity every step of the way – from early awareness, first impressions, and developing associations to lasting brand memories and long-term equity.
  • Give your team’s motivation a boost. When it comes to the success of your brand, there is no upper ceiling. Being able to see and celebrate brand success is essential for boosting team motivation.
  • Thrive during troubled times. We’ve seen a recent spate of job cuts from cost-cutting measures. Marketing 101 says that building a strong brand that people are willing to pay more for and don’t want to give up even under duress, is a better strategy to weather a downturn. The right brand performance program provides the confidence in knowing you have a strong, differentiated and meaningful brand to stand out from competitors.

Be bold and build better campaigns

The reality is, in times of economic downturn, it takes courage and vision to increase your marketing spend. However, with the right brand monitoring tools, you can start marketing on a budget that works for you, whilst maximizing your marketing spend ROI.

Here are some examples of how successful brands use brand tracking to maximize their ROI and drive brand growth.

Prioritizing short- and long-term activities

The right metrics allow brands to steer their marketing strategies to reach and appeal to their target audience. They focus on the needs of the business, aligning metrics with specific goals. For example, if you are a small brand with tight budgets you should focus on campaigns that create brand awareness and use media that is super targeted to your potential customers, to generate short-term wins. Your tracking metrics should then align to these business objectives.

Tip: Investment in digital marketing continues to increase. With brand health tracking, you can identify missing opportunities so that your brand can drive growth by focusing on the right channels. This means you can allocate the correct amount of marketing spend to these areas and avoid spreading your brand budget too thinly and slowing your brand growth.

Brand health tracking to modify campaigns

With the right brand tracking tools, brands understand both the live, in-market impact and the reasons for specific market reactions. This helps them modify their campaign approach and ensure their marketing strategy is bolstered by the content consumers encounter.

Tip: Real-time data can solve some of your problems. As a marketer, you also need to know what to do and where to tweak your campaign. Kantar brand tracking tools will give you the right metrics to assess campaign performance, identify the weak creative and course correct to meet your goals. Reliable metrics can provide the signposts you need to allocate your resources and set you up for success.

Make your brand budget go further

When you are planning your marketing spend during an economic crisis, the main challenge is to make your investment go as far as possible. Success comes from connecting your actions from a holistic point of view, ensuring a seamless campaign without the need for big budgets or data blending.

Consider these brand tracking essentials to maximize your marketing spend ROI:

  • Use your brand performance tracking indicators. Prioritize the right indicators such as brand awareness, perception and loyalty and track your brand’s performance in these areas. This will help you to ensure you allocate your brand budget correctly and increase your marketing spend ROI.
  • Don’t underestimate the power of digital marketing. Every part of the consumer experience builds your brand perception. Kantar’s Media Reaction’s 2022 study shows a marked increase in focus on digital marketing over offline marketing. Social media channels offer huge opportunities for brand tracking and managing budgets in real-time. Despite the fast pace and the fact that your brand experience will be competing with many other content sources, digital channels allow you to track campaign reach, how well your consumers engage, and ultimately conversion rates.
  • Don’t underestimate the power of connection. Digital marketing is important. However, connecting emotionally with your consumers is even more important in building your brand perceptions and equity. Brands create value when they create and reinforce these connections in the minds of their consumers. A brand health tracker shows you how well you are building these mental connections and which opportunities to go after.

Now you have all essentials for marketing on a budget. Find out how successful brands use the Kantar brand tracking and brand guidance systems to ensure their marketing spend goes further - even in times of economic turmoil. Get in touch to find out more.

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