Brand tracking research usually focuses on how customers and prospects get brand impressions through market communications. However, research shows that once a person begins interacting with a brand, their actual experiences have a far greater impact on their perceptions and likelihood to shop, buy, or recommend.
Too often companies' brand tracking research doesn't account for this dynamic in any significant way, thus missing the opportunity to tell a more complete story. That's why I believe that the most effective brand tracking research incorporates both:
- Impact of the Brand: The extent to which market communications are delivering the most compelling brand promises; and
- Impact of Experience: The extent to which people's experiences at every touch point (e.g., the product, the store/purchase, personnel, problem resolution) match up with what the brand led them to expect
So where does social media fall into the equation? Obviously social media has both a brand element and an experience element. To keep things simple, I look at social media as another very important touch point. One that can impact people's perceptions and behaviors that is not under the "controlled" communications umbrella.
While it isn't possible (or advisable) to dive into great detail about experiences in your brand tracking, measuring both communications and experiences within the same research enables the findings to be very specific about the changes you can make to acquire and retain more customers. And it enables marketing resources to be spent more efficiently by detecting and diagnosing areas of the customers' experiences that could undermine even the most effective branding work.
Below is a great example of how bad experiences can undermine your best branding efforts. Enjoy!
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downloading our social media report:
"Why Social Media Matters for Your Business."
Posted by Josh Mendelsohn. Josh is our VP of Marketing and loves live music, pugs, tv, great food, market research, New Orleans, marketing, Boston and sports. You can follow him on Twitter @mendelj2.