To rebrand or not to rebrand? That is often the question. If you’re the one responsible for making the decision, you know how difficult a question it can be. It may be obvious to you that your company’s brand is in desperate need of a refresh, but brand management involves so many intangibles. How can you be certain it will all be worth it in the end? More importantly, how can you prove to other company stakeholders it will?

The answer is brand metrics. While they may not be the most thrilling part of the branding process, brand metrics are the proof in the pudding, the hard numbers that tell you how your brand is performing. Metrics measure the success of your branding effort. More than that, they provide prescriptive insight on what course corrections need to be made to optimize future performance.

Every decision-maker loves that quiet “told you so” moment when the value of their strategy is borne out by measurable results. Brand metrics give you just that. Let’s take a look at how you can make them work for you.

Types of Brand Metrics

There are literally countless data points that can be taken into consideration when measuring your brand. It’s helpful, then, to think of metrics in terms of higher-level orders, each representing a different facet of your brand’s success. We organize metrics into three primary categories whose causal connection reflects the science of brand impact: perception, performance, and financial. How a brand is perceived affects how it performs, which in turn affects its bottom-line financial figures. The three-tier model also maps to consumer behavior. Metrics measure consumer perceptions, enabling you to identify the optimal state of those perceptions. By implementing metric-driven course corrections you can influence consumer behavior, which ultimately determines financial performance. Here’s a more detailed breakdown of what each category entails:

Perception Metrics

Perception metrics are a measure of customer awareness and sentiment. They monitor the effectiveness of your engagement efforts with comparative stats on how your target audience feels about your brand and the extent to which they are familiar with it. Examples include:

Awareness

  • Recall
  • Website traffic
  • Followers
  • Reach
  • Impressions

Consideration

  • Differentiation
  • Relevance
  • Esteem
  • Perceived quality
  • Purchase intent

Performance Metrics

Performance metrics are a measure of the consumer behaviors that are driven by brand perception. Performance metrics examine both isolated behavior (such as purchases), as well as behavior over time (brand loyalty):

Purchase

  • Leads
  • Sales
  • Close ratio
  • Preference
  • Price premium

Loyalty

  • Customer satisfaction
  • Repeat purchase
  • Referrals
  • Retention
  • Customer lifetime value

Financial Metrics

Financial metrics gauge how customer behavior creates tangible economic value. They are the proverbial proof in the pudding when it comes to demonstrating the return on investment in branding efforts. They include metrics like:

  • Market share
  • Revenue
  • Profitability
  • Cost per acquisition
  • Brand valuation

Making the Right Metrics Work for You

Leveraging the power of brand metrics is a pretty straightforward process:

  1. Establish a framework: Decide which metrics are most important to your brand’s performance. If you’re not sure, ask yourself which metrics will enable you to make a decision. The only valuable brand metrics are actionable brand metrics. There’s no point in spending money on research and analysis unless the insights you get back are practically useful. Keep your list reasonable to ensure that the data gleaned is rich and relevant. Pick the top 5 metrics to start.
  2. Set your benchmarks: Determine where you brand currently stands with regards to each of your chosen metrics. Brand awareness, web traffic, sales leads, profits—determine the benchmark for each so that you have a baseline to work with.
  3. Measure brand impact: After implementing your branding efforts, return to the field and collect precisely the same data you did in Step 2. Collecting the same data by the same methodology ensures statistical integrity and actionable figures. Differential analysis will allow you to see where your brand is outperforming expectations, and where it is struggling.
  4. Evaluate and optimize: Branding should be a continuously informed and regularly implemented endeavor. Take the actions necessary to course correct where your brand is lagging and capitalize where you see momentum. This ongoing process will ensure the optimization of your branding initiatives.

Like anything in business, brand metrics should be dynamic and responsive. As your business objectives shift, so should your metrics. They should remain relevant to both business performance and the bottom line. Keeping brand metrics tied directly to business goals is the key to placing a hard and fast value on this intangible thing we call “brand.”

The Definitive Guide to Rebranding

Everything you need to know about rebranding your business-and avoiding costly mistakes.

Read more by

A prolific blogger, speaker, and columnist, Brian has more than a decade of experience in design and branding. He’s written for publications including Forbes, Huffington Post, and Brand Quarterly.