Building a brand is like growing a garden. It takes time, patience and consistency. You can't just toss some seeds on the ground, do a rain dance, and expect roses by morning.
Your logo may be slick. You've got your website dialed in. The ad campaigns operating to perfection. But how do you really know if your branding’s working its magic?
Branding covers a lot of ground, from your visual vibe to the messages you're putting out into the world. You've probably put tons of work into honing your logo, website and ad campaigns. But those branded pieces won't amount to much if people don't connect with your brand identity.
Building a brand is like growing a garden. It takes time, patience and consistency. You can't just toss some seeds on the ground, do a rain dance, and expect roses by morning. And unlike a direct marketing campaign, you won't always be able to pinpoint how or when a sale was won thanks to a specific branding move you made.
But that doesn't leave you in the dark. There are ways to shine a light on whether your carefully constructed branding strategy is resonating or needs reworking.
The key is zooming in on the metrics and markers that help determine your brand's health over time. Look for uplifts in brand awareness, sentiment, community engagement, and conversion rates. The numbers become your trusty field guide, revealing if your branding’s finding sure footing or still struggling to get off the ground.
Brand Awareness — Get the Inside Scoop on Your Brand's Fame (or Lack Thereof)
Do the Research - First, figure out if anyone recognizes your brand. Do some casual “field research” and poll locals and existing customers. Try online surveys with tools like SurveyMonkey too. Ask if they know your brand and what comes to mind. Their answers, good or bad, are your brand perception metrics baseline for measuring brand recognition.
Listen Up! - Keep tabs on online brand mentions with a social listening tool like Hootsuite. See who's chatting you up and their vibe. Lots of sunny conversations? Your brand's got game! More stormy skies? May need to make some adjustments before you have a full-blown community revolt.
Hire a Detective - For professional insights, use a service like Brandwatch to uncover your aided and unaided brand awareness levels across your target groups. Think of it like hiring a private detective to investigate just how memorable (or not) your brand really is.
Monitor Search Traffic - Use Google Trends to check your search traffic. Spiking searches for your brand name or related terms usually means your brand's catching on! Establish your benchmarks, then watch for steady upticks and traffic growth over time.
The key is establishing a baseline awareness level, then tracking it over time like a watchdog. Look for positive, measurable increases or upticks in performance metrics. Brand reputations build slowly through word-of-mouth, so have patience. The metrics will tell if your branding is making a name for itself out there!
Brand Sentiment — Take Your Brand's Temperature
Beyond basic brand recognition, you need to dive deeper into how people actually feel about your brand. What associations or feelings (good or bad) come to mind?
Think of brand sentiment as your brand's temperature. Are people ice cold on you? Lukewarm at best? Or are they fired up brand fans? Here's how to take a reading:
Embark on a Social Media Expedition - Monitor online brand mentions and the feeling behind posts using a tool like Hootsuite, Talkwalker or Brandwatch. Look for trends - are people gushing about your latest move or trashing your brand? Track changes to see if campaigns are helping you win over the haters.
Ask the Locals - Ask your followers and customers point-blank. Surveys, interviews and social posts can uncover how people really feel about your brand. They'll tell you if your brand sentiment's sunny or partly cloudy.
Study the Terrain - Examine customer touchpoints and journeys like the website, app, store, and customer support paths for pitfalls leaving people with bad impressions. Identify pain points or areas leaving negative impressions that hurt sentiment over time.
Regular check-ins on reviews, social conversations, and customer feedback provide a well-rounded view of your brand sentiment highs and lows. Aim for overall warmth, not burns. Keep an eye out for sentiment improving over time.
Evaluate Brand Engagement — See If Your Branding Blazes a Trail
Beyond vanity metrics, engagement shows if your branding blazes a compelling trail or leads to a dead end. Engagement means people click, share, comment, and interact with your branded content. Are they following your trail or getting lost?
Here are some ways to monitor engagement:
Set engagement goals for social posts and website content. Meet them? Your branding's a hit! Come up short? Time to switch up your approach.
Check time spent on blog posts, videos and social content. Longer = better when it comes to brand engagement.
See what people are tagging and hashing when sharing your content. It helps you widen your reach even further!
See if influencers get engagement on sponsored branded posts.
Poll target customers on brand recall. If they know your brand by name, your efforts are engaging!
Compare engagement rates to past campaigns and competitors. What creative resonates most?
While vanity metrics like impressions matter, when people like, comment, and share your branded posts, that's real engagement. It means your branding caught their attention. Tweak your branding based on what people actually respond to, not just what reaches them.
Analyze Conversion & Sales — Link Branding to the Sales Summit
Branding works behind the scenes over time, not overnight. But it moves people from just hearing about you to ultimately preferring and purchasing your product down the road. More sales come later thanks to branding done now. Here are some ways to tell if your branding works:
See if sales lift during or after branding campaigns. It could be your efforts paying off!
A/B test different branding messages or content styles. The variant with higher conversion wins!
Create dedicated promo codes for your branding campaigns. Redemptions show real ROI.
Add branding to key website pages and see if more leads and customers result.
Monitor software to identify new leads and customers that hit after a branding push.
While branding is about awareness more than direct sales, it should help sales eventually. Use data to connect the dots between branding and revenue. Focus on branding that shows it leads to more sales down the road. The numbers will indicate what branding works to boost your bottom line. But it may take time, so have patience and faith in the process. The numbers don't lie - they show if your branding's really moving the needle for your business over the long run.
When it comes to branding, remember no one conquered Everest in an afternoon. Building your brand is like blazing a new trail through uncharted wilderness. It takes patience and perseverance to forge a trail that resonates with customers and unearths rich rewards. Approach branding as an epic adventure - have a compass but enjoy the journey. Captivate people's imagination, and over time your trail will widen into a well-trodden road to revenue. Let compelling branding be your guide and you'll forge new trails that make an impact in your business and on the lives of others.
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I've been helping businesses/entrepreneurs rebrand, refresh, and evolve their brand identity for more than 20 years based on Who They Are, What They Do, Who They Help and Why It Matters.
Curious how that works? Learn about my workshops.