Do you also have Flat Brand Tracking?

I am not first on this subject but I strongly believe it´s important to address Flat Brand Tracking, as it may become the death of brand work as it pulls the brand issue out of the boardroom. Who want´s to see flat KPI’s that never will move even though the world is constantly changing?

Let´s take one of the key measures in a Brand Tracking “Spontaneous brand awareness” as our example.

It´s a wide spread KPI, basically telling us if a brand can be recalled and if it is top of mind.

The image on top shows the Spontaneous brand awareness in Sweden for 10 International Consumer Goods brands in a category in a 2-year period with quarterly data.

The question arising is of course how this can be possible. There are 10 very competent players in this category fighting for the heart and mind of the consumers as well as for new market shares.

Could it be that all the 10 players are doing completely the wrong things without no or very limited effect on the spontaneous awareness?

Of course not, they are doing every thing they can in order to be more attractive, convincing and competitive having advertising and sales campaigns all year around. But yet it seems that all these efforts have had very limited effect on people´s spontaneous awareness.



Brand Trackers doesn’t show emotions and intuition

My firm belief is that since most experiences and decisions are intuitive and emotional a Brand Tracking should mirror this. Today most Brand Trackings are aimed for our conscious thinking and if we measure the wrong thing the curves tends to become flat.

Digital marketing has low reach. Brand Trackers are built for high reach.

Marketing the last years is focused on brand engagement (interacting) and liking using Digital and Social Media that creates involvement with brands but not necessarily high reach. The Brand Trackers become flat as they reward high numbers of interactions, which is hard to achieve with digital marketing.

Recall and Spontaneous Awareness can’t be expected anymore.

Digital Marketing is easy to avoid by not looking. Most of it is not leaving any major memory trace that can be recalled. Todays Brand Tracking is better at mirroring the “old way”(Print/TV/Outdoor/Radio) than today´s digital environment. Using Recognition may be a route forward as it better reflects the short and fast memory people have to use to cope with all information. But Brand Trackers are focused on recall and that creates flat lines.

People are tired of questions

There are too many and too long questionaries’ out there. Quality in sample and method is more important that ever. Bored respondents answering long questionnaires will also contribute to your flat Brand Tracker.

To cope with all this you need to take immediate actions before it is too late. Be proactive not reactive!


  1. Make sure your Brand Tracking measures narrow target groups. Challenge your sample size. Is it big enough or maybe is it too big for your purpose?
  2. Take a very close look on your questions. Are you measuring the right things with open and closed questions? Is the frequency (Weekly/Monthly/Quarterly/Yearly) correct for your type of data collection?
  3. Don’t rely too much on open recall questions.
  4. Include an Emotional research part making sure your brand is linked to relevant and positive Emotions.
  5. Include a relevant set of Social Media data for the category and selected brands. Here I would recommend Reputation Score and Share of Talk.
  6. Ask your Brand Tracking supplier how long the questionnaire is and if you share the sample with other companies. If the questionnaire is longer than 7 minutes and if you are part of a syndicated data collection, make sure your data supplier use rotation of the question so your part avoid the risk of always being at the end of questionnaire when the respondent is tired and want to leave.

“Standing still is now the fastest way to move backwards. Every day that we don´t move, we are getting exponentially further and further behind our consumers”.

Marie Wolfe, Consumer & Markets Insights Director of Research Innovation at Unilever

Don´t wait too long to adjust your Brand Tracker for 2018 to better mirror your marketing activities and keep your seat in the boardroom!