When you’re running a business, your brand is one of your most important assets. It’s how you tell your story to potential customers, how you convince them you are the right choice for them, and how you keep them after they’ve made their first purchase. Your brand is a family or club (depending on your audience and desired identity) that they want to qualify for and be a part of!
All this being the case, you need your brand to be healthy – to attract the people you want it to attract, and retain them. If your brand doesn’t have the desired effect of projecting an attractive image to the people you want to be drawn to your products and services, then something has gone wrong.
There are plenty of things that can affect the health of a brand, with the sort of dramatic short term damage that can be done by a single, badly thought through Tweet, and long term attrition caused by choices in your advertising, copy and design that simply don’t speak to the people you want it to.
How can you avoid this damage? Well, the first step is to get informed. You need data to make sure the choices you’re making are the having desired effect. While you have access to some very direct data, in the form of sales figures, this doesn’t address why customers are behaving a certain way. If you see a dramatic drop off in sales, and you don’t have a long history of customer behaviour to compare it to, you can’t be sure if it’s due to a recent advertising campaign striking the wrong note or simply your customers being distracted by sunny weather.
You need to work with a market research company. One of their specialisms is a brand tracker survey. This is a great assessment of the health of your brand: you can find out from customers what your brand means to them, and if they’re picking up on the same values you decided on in your brand manual. If they have a totally different impression of your brand from what you want to put across to them then you know something is wrong and you need to reassess what you’re doing in order to appeal to the right people. On the other hand, a survey like this might reveal you’re actually another audience that you hadn’t expected to, and it might be worth doubling down on that instead!