Any forward-thinking business should be monitoring their brand image. When we say “brand image,” we refer to the reputation of your brand in the eyes of customers. Some common questions to start with:
- How does my brand compare to our top competitors?
- Where are customers and fans connecting the most with my brand?
- What are aspects of my brand that can improve upon, and what am I already doing well?
- Who is my primary audience?
By strategically assessing competitors, customers, and commentators, you will be able to implement meaningful changes to your business model and operations. In this article, you will learn not only why brand image metrics are essential, but also a few actionable steps to build a cohesive brand image tracking program.
Why Brand Image is Important
Leaders of any organization are undoubtedly focused on how to improve their company continually. We’re here to show you why setting up a brand image tracking program should be your priority.
- Brand perception: Having a brand image strategy helps companies know their consumers more deeply. By understanding clients’ interests and needs, you can quickly identify where to make improvements. Monitoring client feedback online is the simplest way to improve your product continuously.
- Competitive analysis: Benchmark yourself among top competitors. Understanding the development of competing products and services puts you in a better position when it comes to rolling out new initiatives.
- Product perception: Keep tabs on your products’ performance and services to see how your brand resonates best with consumers.
A business can efficiently maximize its potential by identifying different threats and opportunities that surface thanks to sophisticated brand intelligence.
Social intelligence is one of the many ways to get an accurate look at your brand image, offering a unique blend of data-driven research. Used well, it can provide a mix of qualitative and quantitative information such as statistics and sentiment analysis. The organic nature of conversations reduces response bias found in surveys, while the volume of communications means that you are not limited to a specific set of questions. This multi-faceted approach helps you to know the issues you’d like answered while also finding aspects of the conversation you hadn’t anticipated.
Building a Program
Step 1: Surface and Identify Trends Using Artificial Intelligence
Signals, Synthesio’s AI-powered brand intelligence tool, helps to uncover which trends are worth looking into and which are short-lived. Using data gathered from social listening dashboards, Signals examines both your brand and the competitors you want to track. Looking at longer-term trends exemplified by a volume timeline is a great way to begin.
Here, we see a significant increase in United Airlines’ conversation, shown here in dark blue, in mid-September. By clicking into a contextual report, it is possible to examine precisely what caused the increase in interactions and mentions about the brand.
We see that the top hashtags during the shift are about the September 11th, 2001 tragedy, and the United Airlines flight that crashed that day. This information gives us some excellent context for what happened to drive conversations during that period and can inform outgoing communications from the brand going forward. Hashtags like #NeverForget and #September11th provided ways to get in touch with the people interacting with United Airlines online.
Step 2: Interpret and Understand Your Data
While collecting social media metrics for campaign monitoring has long been a widespread use case, one can also find deeper business insights and crucial information about their brand image. Even new or small brands with lower volumes of conversation can gain insights by looking at the broader discussion.
With social intelligence, you can uncover the competition’s strengths and weaknesses, understand their unique selling point in the eyes of the customer and get an overview of the level of competition among different markets and demographics by measuring share of voice.
This Share of Voice chart reveals that American, Delta, and United are all very close to having the dominant voice in the market. Delta closely eeks by, commanding 28% of the conversation than Americans’ 23% and United’s 22%. A competitor wanting to look into what kind of discussions have mentioned Delta would get much more context looking at the top mentions and sentiment behind the posts.
Looking at the volume timeline reveals two significant spikes in conversation about Delta, shown here in pink. We wanted to see why this was the case.
The Power of Social
However, not every mention of the airline brand is positive. Academy Award-winning actress Marlee Matlin posted about taking a Delta flight that didn’t have closed captions for in-flight entertainment for deaf individuals like herself. The post garnered tens of thousands of retweets, likes, and comments. Matlin’s post was responsible for the second large bump in volume about Delta seen on the volume timeline.
Taking this idea one level deeper, Synthesio provides businesses with the opportunity to peek into their customers’ minds. Using sentiment analysis to look at responses to this tweet about Delta Airlines, it is clear that commenters look to figures of authority like Matlin for their opinion about the brand.
Another post from Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, represented by the first spike in the volume timeline, calls out Delta Airlines and a slew of other large American corporations for being tax-exempt despite their large profit margin. Fans retweeted, liked, and commented upon the post thousands of times, prompting Delta customers to demand that the company pay taxes that would benefit the greater American public.
Step 3: Act
To continue with the example of global airlines, we examined the reach of various providers. Reach references the amount of exposure that each of their posts receives. Emirates Airlines leads the pack by a clear margin, evidently connecting with a vast number of potential and current customers.
Observing some of the social posts that garnered a large amount of interaction, it is clear that Emirates does a super job building online engagement and a positive brand image. They do so by using hashtags such as #FlyEmiratesFlyBetter, which reach more than 5 million Instagram followers.
More recently, in light of the global COVID-19 pandemic, frequent travelers have become skittish about flying for fear of contracting the virus. The brand image of many global airlines has suffered as a result. To rebuild the trust of valued customers, Emirates deployed an informative and sympathetic social media campaign, primarily its Instagram account. They detail their precautions for their crew and passengers and tie it off with a new hashtag, #FlySaferWithEmirates.
Step 4: Measure Performance
The final step after launching a new brand image initiative is measuring the impact of the campaign. Once the team creates the hashtag, posts the picture, or whatever the situation may call for, it is simple to track the ensuing conversation. Continuing with the Emirates Airlines example, a frequent flier responded to a Tweet about their COVID-19 passenger protection plan saying, “We never doubt your quality.” Emirates has secured an excellent reputation for themselves and a positive brand image in their customers’ eyes.
There are multiple ways to measure the effectiveness of a brand intelligence campaign. The most crucial part is consistent tracking and maintenance to get to the juicy insights that eventually help solidify the brand’s image.
A Strong Brand Image
Brands that wish to deepen their understanding of their consumer and the competitive landscape should seriously consider implementing brand intelligence programs. This strategy serves not only to help business leaders anticipate upcoming events that necessitate a response but also keeps tabs on their biggest competition.
The best method for creating a brand image strategy is to use a mix of data sources, developing a tailored approach to suit your brand and industry. Some of the findings may be positive, and others may be negative. However, negative results can often be the best as they lead to opportunities to improve.
For another case study of one of our banking clients who utilized brand intelligence to revamp their social marketing strategy based on their competitors’ decisions, click here.