The intangible benefits of branding are not alien to a marketer. While it’s easy to see how brand awareness and great branding translate to sales, understanding what brand awareness can do to make the most of this acceleration is what can on help a brand understand a return on their investment.
David Ogilvy famously defined a brand as “The intangible sum of a product’s attributes: its name, packaging, price, history, its reputation and the way it’s advertised” and as Steve Forbes rightly said, “Your brand is the single most important investment you can make in your business.” In today’s hyper-transparent, super-reactive, transactional world a brand is both, the packaging and perception, the stories being told to and by the customer.
Brand building can produce strong commercial outcomes as well as brand associations. It connects the brand and the audience in powerful ways – through packaging, the essence of the brand and brand experiences that lead to recall. Whether created during
- website visits
- internal communication
- brand books
- long-form content
- customer services or other brand touch-points — branding can help businesses in significant, tangible ways.
The ROI on branding can be observed in word-of-mouth recommendations, increased brand interaction and reach, increased sales conversions, improved ORM, the gaining of brand advocates and visible business growth.
While looking to define your ROI on branding as a customer, listening to what the public thinks is an important practice that can help. Social listening! Website metrics analysis is one way to do this. A few tips for breaking down branding and its measure are:
- An increase in traffic on social media platforms and websites indicates increased brand curiosity. This shows that brand targeting and budgets are helping reach the audience making way for branding to build customer loyalty
- Tracking visitors can tell you two things. one, the size of the audience you’re reaching and two, the repeat visitors. If there isn’t a peak in repeat visitors, it’s time to relook at your brand campaigns and targeting
- Average time spent and bounce rates tell a story of how compelling the content is to customers and how much they can engage with it
- A peak in organic traffic tells you how brand awareness is on an incline and that the brand has a fair deal of positive word-of-mouth
- By setting goals to track conversions from the website or other social platforms the ROI on branding can be readily determined.
With an enhanced conversion rate, the cost per acquisition is lowered further helping businesses grow and reach the desired audience. With reaching conversion goals, the data of the ROI on investment offers a way to relook at the pricing, and margins and might lead to a convincing pricing premium. When a brand is well packaged and the story is compelling, the attractiveness of the brand increases hence making the brand more desirable and aspirational.
It is common knowledge to industry people that a brand’s true value is more than just its net worth (at the time) or the investment in branding and marketing campaigns — strong brands not only garner more revenue, they also consistently increase customer loyalty, retention and employee innovation. While it will always be a point of contention that in a world where everything seems measurable, placing an accurate currency value on branding is not always accurate or possible, the brands’ reputation on social platforms, its loyalists and public perception are means to do just that. These provide the brand or organisation with enough tangible data needed to justify their investments and estimate their returns.
While consistently working on brand awareness and building lasting relations to master audience perception, one must always remember-perception has to match reality. The window to slip up and ignore the audience’s expectation is extremely tiny, this could be product quality or the audience’s perception of what the brand stands for and what brand values they resonate with. To support that statement, the recent Twitter spectacle has been a tale of many sharp edges and hairpin bends, in today’s opinionated yet socially wired public.
To sum it up, a strong brand story needs to be a priority for all businesses striving to grow — and the proof is in the numbers. Measuring the performance of your brand strategy will give you clearer direction on where to focus your resources and how to make the most of your audiences looking to engage with you and play!