The benefits of a branding report are second to none in terms of keeping you, and other members of your team, on the ball.
Brand measurement, a brand report, the brand report card — call it what you want. The outcome of a brand report is the exact same:
To help brands understand its current positioning in certain markets, highlighting strengths and weaknesses in the process.
It sounds so simple on paper, but brands struggle time and time again to effectively analyse their performance. There’s a few reasons for that, one of which involves not knowing which key performance indicators (KPIs) to track.
Notable brands (i.e. Adidas, Disney and McDonalds) will put together multiple branding-based reports within a single year. They do this to help accentuate goals in line with other key metrics relating to brand – such as brand trust and brand perception.
And you can form these reports of your own, with the right information and guidance.
In this post we’ll be looking at branding reports in full, covering the various ways to effectively analyse your performance. We’ll also be answering some frequently asked questions as we go.
‘What’s included in a branding report?’ And, ‘what are the differences between a brand audit and a brand report?’
What is a Branding Report?
A branding report is an evaluation of any branding strategies and methods implemented. By using key metrics, company’s can evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the brand.
The goal of a brand report is to make improvements where improvements are needed and to identify what works. Think of it as a measuring stick, only the thing you’re measuring underpins everything about your business.
“Brand is a long term sustainable competitive advantage that any business can create that is really hard to unseat. Whereas somebody else can copy your feature, someone else can copy your sales model. These other things are all short term, whereas brand is a long term, durable, sustainable competitive advantage.”
– Brad McGinity, CRO of 15Five
Do keep in mind that branding isn’t limited to just a name and a logo. It covers every touchpoint – from brand identity all the way through to web presence.
That being said, not every brand report needs to be as comprehensive as it sounds. You might choose to hone in on one particular area, such as social media marketing and analyse your performance on specific platforms to then compare with others.
Why is a Brand Report Important?
Brand reporting is a game of strengths, weaknesses and numbers.
Highlighting any branding-based strengths will allow marketing managers (or whomever is responsible for anything to do with branding) to identify what is working best overall.
Not everything will be working as you want it and that’s totally fine. It’s your weaknesses that help bring you closer to your brand as it encourages you to think of much more critically, or try new things that you might not have considered at first.
The numbers (data and metrics) are simply there to determine how the brand is performing.
These days, there are just far too many variables for brands to prepare for in terms of how the brand is marketed, what it looks like, and how adaptable you can be.
Those that don’t stay on top of how their brand is performing will likely lose interest from their target audience – likely losing out to a competitor.
So as you can see, a branding report is more of a requirement than a suggestion.
To summarise, these are the reasons why you should be analysing your performance via a branding report, these include:
- Outlines strengths and weaknesses
- Determines the current positioning of the brand
- Encourages brands to re-align strategies
- Helps brands understand themselves better
How Often Should I Conduct a Brand Report?
How often you report on branding will depend on how much effort you put into the brand. For example, there are some businesses running large-scale campaigns around branding that pull reports together following every campaign.
And then there are those that go in another direction, only reporting once per year.
Gathering reports just after seasonal periods and holidays are also pretty popular as audience behaviour does tend to fluctuate throughout the year.
We’d recommend a hybrid approach where you run specific reports for any relevant brand campaigns you run, and then an overarching brand report every quarter that summarises all findings. Doing this will ensure that you’re seeing what exactly is helping, or not helping, you achieve your goals.
Personal preference will almost always determine how often you put together branding reports. The fact that you’re running at least one a year is better than not caring about brand performance at all.
Measuring Brand Performance Effectively
Time to get down to the nitty gritty. It’s time we talk about measuring brand performance effectively in your branding report.
Brand performance is incredibly important as it determines brand equity, as in how desirable and how profitable it is compared to others occupying the same market.
You might think that branding is next to impossible to measure. After all, how can you really quantify certain aspects of branding?
You measure performance through specific metrics, these include:
- Brand Sentiment/Perception
- Brand Consideration
- Sales Volume/Value
- Brand Loyalty
All of the above are key KPIs that will help you evaluate your brand effectively, and help you structure your reports.
Let’s begin by breaking down the importance of measuring brand awareness before moving onto brand sentiment.
Measure Brand Awareness First
Brand awareness is what you might call ‘a cornerstone metric.’ It tells you how recognisable your branding is currently. Knowing your current positioning is incredibly important, as it underpins every decision moving forwards.
To measure brand awareness you need to be using the right tools and metrics. Choosing the right KPIs will allow you to measure this effectively, these include top-of-mind awareness, unaided awareness and aided awareness.
- Top-of-Mind Brand Awareness: Is your brand the first people think of when they think of a certain product or service (i.e. coffee = Starbucks)?
- Unaided Brand Awareness: Will your target audience name your brand without a prompt (i.e. tech company = Samsung)?
- Aided Brand Awareness: Does your target audience know your brand at all when asked direct questions?
Aided brand awareness would involve questions like:
‘Have you heard of Nike?’
These questions will give you a pretty good idea of where you’re at. The goal of every brand should be a top-of-mind option. If you’ve hit that peak then it might be worth focusing on brand consideration and usage.
Tools to Measure Brand Awareness
There are a bunch of tools out there to help with monitoring brand awareness. Google Search Console and Google Analytics being the most popular options of the bunch.
These platforms allow you to do everything from monitor brand search volumes to the total impressions of each brand-focused campaign.
Brandwatch is another one. Similar to the Google options mentioned, Brandwatch provides accurate data in real time, allowing you to create graphs and other diagrams to present your findings within branding reports.
These are but a few examples of the tools used to gather and present brand awareness. You might have found others, which is totally fine. Just as long as they allow you to gather the data you need.
Analysing Brand Sentiment and Brand Knowledge
Emotion and branding go hand-in-hand, more-so in the modern day when you consider the number of brands that operate within the same space offering the same products more or less.
It’s the emotional ties that gather and maintain a steady flow of interest, which is pretty much what brand sentiment is all about. It’s how people feel about your brand and the emotions people feel when they interact with you in whatever way.
Brand knowledge is a little different. This covers how familiar people are to your values, products, messaging and positioning.
Brands that excel in this department will always have the upper hand as customers will have formed a deep connection to you. They’ll think of you even when you aren’t directly marketing to them.
They might see a colour or hear a certain phrase and automatically make that connection.
That’s power – power that helps retain customers and influence others to follow suit. In other words, it makes for loyal customers who are almost like an unofficial member of the marketing team. This is otherwise known as word of mouth marketing.
Tools to Measure Brand Sentiment and Brand Knowledge
SurveyMonkey is the first brand sentiment/brand knowledge tool that comes to mind. The email marketing tool allows you to be direct in your questioning, distributing surveys direct to the source. Surveys and online focus groups are still just as viable in the digital age, if not more.
Another option is a platform known as Awario, which tracks every time your brand is mentioned across the web – everywhere from Reddit to blogs. One of the best things about the platform is it highlights potential influencers.
Analysing Purchase Intent
Brand awareness and brand consideration couldn’t be any further apart in terms of how your funnel is set up. Just because your target audience is aware of your brand does not mean that they’d choose to engage with you over your competition.
Google calls it ‘the messy middle’ for a reason. How you bridge the gap has a lot to do with understanding purchase intent, and the driving force behind it.
To understand purchase intent you need to work out the typical paths to purchase for different audience segments, the length of the buyer’s purchase life cycle, plus any additional factors influencing the decision.
One of the best tools to monitor the buyer’s journey is one we’ve already mentioned. Using Google Analytics you can create custom sequence segments to see how visitors navigate your web pages and what their actions are.
Another helpful function allows you to create enhanced ecommerce segment reports. These reports highlight where your customers are dropping off and where you can patch any holes in your funnel.
Assessing Brand Loyalty
Retaining business from your target audience has a lot to do with brand loyalty, which does determine how good or how bad your brand is doing.
A loyal base will do most of the selling for you, either buying themselves or encouraging others to buy your products by word of mouth, as mentioned.
To measure brand loyalty, you should be looking at the following metrics:
- Net Promoter Score (NPS)
- Repurchase Ratio
- Loyal Customer Rate
- Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)
Customer reviews and social media mentions are also quality signs that your brand is establishing loyalty in the areas that matter. Remember, a loyal customer is one that will choose you over a competitor every time.
Do keep in mind that there are factors that can negatively affect brand loyalty and brand usage. A poorly built website, for example, will undermine sales and even damage the image of the brand despite other areas being strong.
Bounce rate will give you an idea of how your website is performing, including which pages work better than others. Heat maps are also very helpful.
A heat map will outline the areas of your site people interact with most, and where they fall off as they scroll.
How this Applies to Brand Performance
Brand performance has a lot to do with your overall branding goals. How well you generate sales, increase awareness, grow brand equity and increase engagement will determine how you’re performing.
Sales volume and frequency is one of the most common brand goals. In this instance your brand is running at optimal levels when your audience is buying your products, using them, and recommending them to others.
If your goal is to increase brand awareness, then looking at the number of engagements on social media platforms will help determine performance. Just remember to check the quality of these engagements as negative comments could mean you aren’t performing as well as you’d hope, and aren’t getting the message across properly.
Not every brand goal is the same, and we get that. That being said, the tools and KPIs mentioned will apply to a range of goals in some way or another.
We can’t stress the importance of Google Analytics enough for gathering key data and metrics. And let’s not forget about SurveyMonkey in the gathering of qualitative data to run alongside anything quantitative.
Once you have everything you need, it’s time to wrap it all up in a branding report!
What To Include in a Branding Report
You’ve done the research and you’ve effectively analysed your brand’s performance in line with your goals and objectives.
Now comes the fun part!
In order for your branding report to be the best version of itself it can be it needs to be focused, presenting relevant information in line with whatever you’re reporting on.
Here’s a quick rundown of what you should include in a branding report:
- What Worked
- What Didn’t
- Relevant Info
Strengths are pretty self explanatory in that they outline what worked well. Weaknesses pinpoint what didn’t work so well. It’s important to be as specific as possible when outlining the positives and negatives here, as these will influence any future decisions in terms of brand strategy.
Brand Reports are a numbers game so it’s important that you include percentages to highlight performance. For example, you might say that brand impressions are up by 42% overall in Q2 compared to Q1.
Showcasing this information in graphs and diagrams are really helpful, and will break up your reports nicely instead of them consisting of a massive wall of text and numbers.
Try to always include takeaways or context to the statistics shown if you can. Doing so will highlight room for improvement, not to mention, action points for what to do next.
Reports need to be comprehensive in this way to help the brand evolve as time goes on and new opportunities present themselves.
Relevant information could be anything from screenshots of messages received on Twitter, to trends in the current market that have helped in your efforts. If it’s relevant and backs up your findings, then use it!
The Difference Between a Brand Report and a Brand Audit
Anyone that is familiar with a brand audit (we have a post on it for anyone not in the know) will have noted the countless similarities between that and branding-based reports. Both involve reflection of some kind, depending on which campaign, strategy or method is in question.
The goals between the two also align in that they identify strengths and weaknesses while leaving enough room for marketers to improve with future efforts.
It’s for these similarities that many simply use the terms interchangeably, despite the terms representing two different things.
Similar things, but different things.
Think of it like this:
If the brand report is an evaluation, then a brand audit is a re-evaluation of whatever you’re reviewing to a certain point. Does that make sense?
Still not sure how to discern one from the other? Not to worry, our next two points should help make the difference.
Brand Audits Can Be Handled Externally
Both are weighted the same in terms of importance, only not every marketer/marketing manager will be asked to pull together a brand audit. Sometimes, an external party steps in to gather the relevant data for you.
Why they do this comes down to how unbiased marketing folk can be when evaluating their own performance. Brand reports, on the other hand, are typically handled internally and shared internally to heads of department and even some of the higher-ups.
That’s another one of the differences:
Brand audits apply to specific departments, whereas a brand report can be shared throughout the company.
Brand Reports Are More Common
Ask any marketing manager or gun-ho marketer which they do more – a brand report or a brand audit – and they’ll almost always say the former.
Reporting is a lot more common than you think given the number of strategies that revolve around brand these days.
Circle Research found that 77% of marketers feel branding is a crucial factor in future growth. It’s an eye-opening statistic, one that explains perfectly why things like personalised billboards, social media campaigns and email marketing are all promoting brand.
And with every effort, comes a branding report that follows. Otherwise, how would you know to do the same method again? You’d just be spending money without any regard for growth if you never reported on it.
The Branding Report: How to Effectively Analyse Your Performance
We’ve covered a lot in this post, enough for you to form reports of your own based on your own experiences in the branding department. Just remember to focus on the KPIs that align with your goals, as this is how you monitor performance effectively.
More and more businesses are understanding the power that branding has over long term goals. It’s why creating effective branding-based reports are so important to ensure that all strengths are capitalised on and all weaknesses have solutions.
Branding reports and brand audits, both are paramount in understanding your current positioning, plus room for growth in your respective market.
Staying on top of branding will also ensure that you’re constantly ahead of your competitors, as you’re constantly adapting to engage your target audience. Branding that stagnates will almost always have a negative impact on the business as a whole.
That’s the power of branding.
Need help with branding? Get in touch with Canny.
We’re an agency that helps position your brand for success regardless of what success looks like. We’re adaptable, and can connect you with your audience in ways your competitors can’t.
Branding Report FAQs
What is a branding report?
A branding report measures the brand as a whole or any relevant brand strategies/methods, highlighting strengths and weaknesses as shown through data/metrics and any relevant factors.
How do you write a brand analysis report?
First, start by identifying what you want to analyse within the report. Then begin pulling together relevant information to include within your brand report. From there, simply outline your findings, but try to be concise with how you present your findings. Don’t overthink it.
Which are the best brand KPIs to monitor?
The best brand KPIs to track brand performance include brand sentiment, brand perception, brand consideration, brand value and brand loyalty. Which you choose to evaluate will depend on your goal/objectives.