While they may not be the most thrilling part of the branding process, brand metrics are the proof in the pudding, the hard numbers behind how your brand is actually performing.

Brand metrics measure the success of your branding or rebranding efforts and provide actionable insight on what course corrections need to be made to optimize future performance. They’re also key to understanding the often-elusive ROI of branding.

Everyone loves that quiet “told you so” moment when strategic ideas are borne out by measurable results. Brand metrics give you just that. Let’s take a look at how you can use them to prove your branding’s ROI.

CONTENTS

What are Brand Metrics?

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Brand metrics are data points that measure brand performance. The many data points that can be taken into consideration when measuring a brand include everything from brand associations and brand preference to revenue and market share.

Brand metrics can be organized into three primary categories whose causal connection reflects the science of brand impact: perception, performance, and financial. How your brand is perceived influences how your customers behave, which in turn impacts your bottom line.

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Why are Brand Metrics Important?

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Brand metrics are the only way to objectively measure the performance of your brand. They enable you to better understand the effectiveness of your brand positioning and its impact on your business.

Understanding how customers perceive and engage with your brand enables you to optimize the way it’s positioned. Optimizing positioning enables you to better align your brand with business objectives, stay ahead of potential threats, and capitalize on emerging opportunities.

Branding metrics also provide visibility into which marketing efforts are paying off and which should be shelved or retooled for better impact.

Brand Metrics Examples

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There are countless approaches to brand measurement, including dozens of potential metrics to consider when assessing brand performance. These include everything from brand awareness metrics and brand perception metrics to brand consideration metrics and brand sentiment metrics.

Below, we look at 15 of the most important brand metrics, each of which provides a unique lens on whether your brand is helping to grow your business or holding it back.

  • Brand Associations – Brand associations are the connections customers make between your brand and other concepts, whether positive or negative. Apple, for example, is associated with creativity and design.
  • Brand Relevance – Brand relevance is a metric of how well your brand meets the needs and of customers. The minute your brand fails to meet customers’ needs is the minute it becomes no longer relevant.
  • Brand Preference – Brand preference evaluates how likely a customer is to purchase your products or services over a competitor with the same offerings. Brand preference is a good barometer for overall brand health.
  • Customer Satisfaction – Customer satisfaction measures the extent to which customers are satisfied with your products or services. Do your products or services make good on your brand promise? This is the ultimate test of customer satisfaction and, ultimately, brand loyalty
  • Purchase Intent – Purchase intent measures how likely customers are to buy your products or services. As a metric, purchase intent is distinguished from mere online engagement in the form of website visits or social media following.
  • Website Traffic – Website traffic is a fairly straightforward metric. How many unique visitors does your website generate every month? The more traffic you’re seeing, the better your brand is performing.
  • Lead Generation – It’s one thing to have impressive website numbers, of course, but it’s another to have significant percentage of them turn into sales leads. Strong brands generate leads with compelling, relevant brand messaging.
  • Customer Acquisition – Customer acquisition measures new customers gained over a specific time period. Strong brands are able to spend less money to acquire each customer, increasing profits.
  • Social Media Engagement – Social media engagement metrics including follows, likes, and reposts are brand performance indicators that can help you understand how engaging, relatable, or useful your brand is perceived to be.
  • Product Reviews – Online product reviews give you a window on how customers feel about your brand. If your products fail to deliver on your brand promise, product reviews will tell you with great specificity the ways in which they come up short.
  • Revenue – Gross earnings is a broad measure of brand performance. Measuring revenue quarter over quarter or year over year can indicate the relative effectiveness of a corporate branding or rebranding initiatives.
  • Profit Margin – The all-important bottom line is arguably the most important metric to executives when it comes to measuring branding’s ROI. Profit margin is a good measure of branding’s effectiveness in making sales and marketing efforts more efficient.
  • Market Share – Market share is a measure of your brand’s performance relative to other brands in your industry. Market share is ultimately the upshot of brand preference, indicating the extent to which customers prefer your brand over the competition.
  • Customer Lifetime Value – Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) is an important metric because it can predict the future success of your brand. There are different ways to calculate CLV, but a simple equation factors in average order value, purchase frequency, and customer value.
  • Brand EquityBrand equity is a measurement of the value of a brand as determined by things like loyalty, awareness, associations, and perceived quality. While it is different than the financial worth of your brand, brand equity has a significant impact on a brand’s financial valuation.

The Brand Measurement Framework

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As we mentioned in the section defining them, brand metrics generally fall into three distinct categories. It’s these categories that make up the brand measurement framework.

The brand measurement framework comprises perception metrics, behavior metrics, and performance metrics. Each of the metrics outlined in the previous section falls into one of these categories.

What’s more, there is a linear, causal relationship between the brand measurement framework’s categories. This is because the way customers perceive your brand influences behavior like engagement and purchasing. And customer behavior ultimately impacts performance metrics like revenue, market share, and the bottom line. Let’s take a closer look.

Perception Metrics

Perception metrics are a measure of customer awareness and sentiment. They monitor the effectiveness of your branding efforts with comparative stats on how your target audience feels about your brand and the extent to which they are familiar with it. By measuring the following, you can measure how customers perceive your brand:

  • Brand Associations
  • Brand Relevance
  • Brand Preference
  • Customer Satisfaction
  • Purchase Intent

Behavior Metrics

Behavior metrics are a measure of the consumer behaviors influenced by brand perception. When potential customers have positive perceptions of your brand, they are more likely to engage with your brand, become customers, and leave positive reviews. Behavior metrics cover the entire customer journey, with indicators as to how your brand is performing at each stage:

  • Website Traffic
  • Lead Generation
  • Customer Acquisition
  • Social Engagement
  • Product Reviews

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Performance Metrics

Finally, performance metrics measure the impact that consumer behavior has on your business’s financial performance. Brand performance metrics are the ultimate measure of branding’s ROI, offering before and after snapshots on a branding or rebranding initiative’s impact:

  • Revenue
  • Profit Margin
  • Market Share
  • Customer Lifetime Value
  • Brand Equity

How To Use Brand Metrics to Measure Branding ROI

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Now that we’ve established the many ways brand performance can be measured, let’s take a look at how to apply those metrics to your own brand. And how to use them to measure the return on the (wise) investment you’ve made into that brand.

Because branding is, by definition, a longer-term initiative than marketing, it isn’t as easy to measure the ROI of branding than it is to measure the financial impact of a digital marketing campaign, for example. But establishing and tracking brand metrics can give you actionable insights as to the relative value of your branding initiatives.

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 metrics are actionable brand metrics. Keep your list reasonable to ensure that the data gleaned is rich and relevant. Pick the top 5 metrics to start. Some questions to ask when selecting your metrics include:

  • What are the most important metrics to track the performance of your business?
  • Which metrics will have the biggest impact on the performance of your business?
  • Which metrics will have the biggest impact on how your brand is perceived?
  • Which metrics will have the biggest impact on how customers experience your brand?

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 with which to compare metrics after a major branding initiative.

Measure Brand Impact

After implementing your branding or rebranding initiative, complete another pass at measurement, collecting 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. Positive impacts on financial metrics less your investment into the branding initiative will give you your branding ROI.

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

The Takeaway

Brand metrics are key to measuring brand performance and understanding branding’s ROI. They enable you to better understand the effectiveness of your brand positioning and its impact on your business.

Continually tracking your metrics gives you the power to better align your brand with business objectives, stay ahead of potential threats, and capitalize on emerging opportunities.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in September 2015 and has been updated with additional insights.

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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.