How Search, Social Signals Support The Health Of Brands

by , Sep 4, 2013, 1:08 PM
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Consumer behavior makes measuring the health of a brand complex. Search marketers must learn how to mine social data that supports other media. Crunching numbers reveals insights into why sentiment changes or remains the same. You might find a slight change in the Web site sends potential customers packing.

In the Forrester Research report released this week analyzing "brand health measurement," analyst Tracy Stokes explains how social listening tools alone serve a limited role. Once thought of as a "soft metric," the sector and its tools and services must evolve to create new strategies. She believes this conclusion -- partly derived from interviewing 14 vendors and marketers from companies using the tools such as Ace Metrix, Anheuser-Busch InBev, BAV Consulting, and Capital Access Network, among others -- will drive major change. I agree.

Stokes points out that traditional methods can't keep up with today's pace of change, and marketers' demand for speed and integration will drive this disruption. She explains that once upon a time, marketers had little information on consumer perception of brands beyond sales data. A wealth of data at their fingertips and direct access to their own customers through real-time social listening, online consumer reviews, and frequent customer surveys created a new breed of CMO that demands insights.

Search marketers will rely more on social signals and other data to make search engine marketing decisions. Not just for paid-search campaigns, but for organic as well.

The report highlights a case study focusing on this new school of brand health measurement. "Brand is an asset for investment, not an expense to be managed," Stokes writes. "Brands are a significant quantifiable financial asset. Millward Brown calculated that more than 30% of market capitalization of S&P 500 companies was derived from the intangible asset of their brands. Brand valuation firms such as BAV Consulting (BAV) and Interbrand have long-standing models that tie perception metrics to real financial results."

Stokes also believes these tools will make market share more predictable, and marketers will no longer need to conceptualize pricing power. The next phase of brand measurement will serve as a strategic advisor for media and campaigns.

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