Helen Rowe, ‎Head of Brand & Communications Tracking at Kantar TNS UK, reveals how today’s connected landscape has fundamentally changed brand and communications tracking. To keep pace, businesses must rethink how they measure and what they do with the measurements they derive.

With the rise of connected devices, greater transparency through digital and the growing commoditisation of information, Tweet thisthe real source of competitive advantage lies in truly understanding the needs of customers and serving them in the moment.

Consumers today are always-on and fully connected, creating unprecedented opportunities for businesses to reach people across an exploding number of digital moments. What does this mean for businesses and their brand and communications tracking strategies? Today, smart B&C tracking requires new methods and tight integration between insights, strategy and business outcomes. Our recommended best practices encompass eight key points.

1 Embrace mobile-centricity

It’s no secret that consumers are using smartphone and tablet devices in growing numbers. Today, tracker surveys should be shorter, more engaging, device agnostic and built for mobile.

2 Incorporate neuroscience understanding

Researchers are often guilty of assuming people ‘think’ much harder in most situations than they actually do. Human brains are extremely well adapted to avoid thinking wherever we can, relying instead on heuristics or mental shortcuts to execute decisions and actions much more quickly. Neuroscience highlights the importance of the ‘instant meaning’ of brands and ads. To gain the best understanding of how brands and ads feed into consumer decisions, ensure surveys tap into system 1 thinking and supplement surveys with indirect tools from neuroscience..

3 Incorporate flexibility

B&C tracking should be agile enough to enable business decisions to be made as soon as issues occur or opportunities arise. A composite programme that incorporates survey and social data as well as alternative data sources will help you to develop the fullest possible picture of your brand in the marketplace.

4 Obtain answers faster

Ideally, tracking insights should allow you to immediately identify the consumer moments that matter. Faster answers add up to faster activation. To drive this kind of agility, data processing automation is essential.                                 

5 Establish intelligent brand metrics

Ensure you’re using brand relationship measures that are validated to business performance and connected to commercial outcomes. That way you can be sure your decisions are based on what’s really happening in your market and are driving true growth.

6 Directly link tracker data to marketing decisions

Using data to inform marketing actions is a powerful way to drive brand growth. For example, in recent work for Budweiser, Kantar used surveys to discover a key audience that would be most receptive to digital ads and most likely to post positive social commentary about the brand. We then isolated 2 million lookalike consumers and served digital advertising to them. These groups showed a significantly stronger intention to purchase.

7 Use communications feedback to inform future digital spend

It’s vital to monitor the effects of your digital spend. Is your advertising reaching real people in your target audience? Is it effectively encouraging sales in the short term? How is it affecting consumers’ hard-wired brand memories and associations to create long-term benefits for the brand?

8 Derive insights that generate growth                                                           

It’s no longer enough to simply obtain data. You need a holistic view of your brand to drive decisions that lead to growth. Tweet thisGoing forward, full brand guidance consultancy will become the new normal for providers of B&C tracking.

By developing these best practices, our specialist brand and communication team at Kantar identifies, optimises and activates the moments that spark a connection with your brand to deliver growth. To find out more about our team and our work click here.