When leading a dive deep on the consumer, start by figuring out where you are playing, defining who you are serving and who you aren’t serving. Define segments, look at buying habits, growth trends, key insights for each segment. Gain knowledge by mapping out the buying system analysis, leaky bucket, consumer perceptions through tracking data and research. We recommend that you either use some type of panel/scan data if it is available or compile your own data through tracking research. This helps determine what’s going on with consumer behavior beneath the surface. Our preference is the brand funnel tracking tools as it maps out how well your brand is doing at each stage of the consumer buying system.
How to use consumer tracking data
From the tracking or household panel data (Nielsen or IRI), you have to understand how your brand is doing on both penetration and the buying rate, in order to fill in the simple equation of “Sales = (Total Population x Penetration rate) x Buying Rate”.
- Penetration Percentage: The percent of households who purchased a product, shopped in a certain channel or retailer at least once during a measured period.
- Buying rate or sales per buyer: Total amount of product purchased by the average buying household over an entire analysis period, expressed in dollars, units or equivalent volume.
- Purchase frequency or trips per buyer: Number of times the average buying household purchases your product over a time period (usually a year). Purchase Frequency remains the same regardless of which sales measure is used (dollars, units or Equivalent volume)
- Purchase size or sales per trip: Average amount of product purchased on a single shopping trip by your average buyer. Like the buying rate, purchase size can be calculated in terms of dollars, units or Equivalent volume.
How to analyze your brand using Brand Funnels
Every brand should understand the details of their Brand Funnel, knowing what’s causing any strength, weakness, changes versus last year or gaps versus competitors. A classic brand funnel should measure awareness, familiar, consider, purchase, repeat and loyal. At the very least, you should be measuring awareness, purchase and loyalty. It’s not just about driving particular numbers on the funnel, but about moving them from one stage to the next.
The first thing to do (see chart above) is look at the Absolute brand funnel scores (A), comparing them to last year, to competitors or versus category norms. Then look at the brand funnel ratios (B), finding the percent conversion from one stage to the next. To create the ratios, divide the absolute number by the number above it on the funnel. For instance in the example below, take the familiar score of 87% and divide it by the awareness score of 93% to determine the ratio conversion of 91%. That means 91% of those who are aware become familiar.
The data becomes even more powerful when you start looking at the ratios of your brand in comparison (C) to the ratios of your nearest competitor. In this second part of the analysis, the ratio becomes the focus. Compare the ratios, finding the gap (D) between the two brands at each of the stages. You will start to see where your ratio will either be stronger or weaker than the comparison brand. Analyzing the difference (E) between the 2 brands finds the biggest gaps and tells a strategic story that explains the gap. Looking at the example, we see “Your Brand” and “Brand X” are relatively similar at the top part of the funnel, but your brand starts to show real weakness as it moves to repeat and loyalty. This creates a gap you need to fix through the Brand Plan.
The brand funnel data helps tell where your brand sits on the Brand Love Curve. Indifferent brands have skinny funnels throughout. Consumers treat these brands like commodities. Your Brand Plan need to fuel awareness and consideration to kick-start the funnel. The next stage we call Like It brands, which have funnels that narrow at purchase. These brands need a plan to close leaks by getting their brand message closer to the purchase moment. The Love It type brands have a more robust funnel, but may have a smaller leak at loyal. The plan should continue to feed the love and build strength among loyalists. The most beloved brands have ideal funnels, but you should track and build a plan that will attack any weakness before it is seen or exploited by others.
Market Research Studies
Market Research studies can really help uncover issues on your brand. Some brands keep looking back at a study from 5 years ago, and miss out on the major changes that have happened in the marketplace since. Market Research should provide a view of the who, what, when, where and how behind the overall consumer dynamics of your category or market. They can help you understand how consumer behavior and usage changes by brand, helping explain why consumers buy specific brands and what it is that makes those brands distinctive, outlining the rational and emotional benefits. They help identify any perceived gaps in the consumers mind between the brand promise, consumer expectation and the overall brand performance. And, a good market research study can provide an overall vantage of various consumer segments, looking at lifestyle and demographic dimensions, how they consume media, overall attitudes on key drivers or brand benefits.
Consumer Buying System
When we do our brand planning and marketing execution, we manage the executional tactics using a consumer buying system that starts with the consumer and then maps out how they shop, closely resembling the brand funnel. This tool can really helps focus your activities to where your brand needs the most help, either to continue fueling or closing a gap.
Here are 10 probing questions to kick-start your consumer review
- Who are your possible target market consumer segments? Are they growing? How are you measuring them?
- Who are the most motivated consumers by what you have to offer?
- Who is your current target? How have you determined demographics, behavioral or psychographic, geographic and usage occasion? Generational trends?
- How is your brand performing against the target segment? Share, sales, panel data, funnel data, tracking scores? By channel or geography?
- What drives consumer choice? What are the main need states? How so these needs line up to your brand assets?
- Map out the buying system and assess your brand’s performance in moving through each stage. Are consumers changing at stages? Are you failing at stages?
- What are the emerging consumer trends? How does your brand match up, to potentially exploit? Where would your competitors win?
- What is the ideal brand experience and unmet needs we can attach the brand to?
- What are the emotional and functional benefits? How is the brand performing against them? How are you doing in tracking studies to meet these benefits?
- What are consumers’ perceptions of your brand and your competitors?
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Beloved Brands: Who are we?
At Beloved Brands, we promise that we will make your brand stronger and your brand leaders smarter. We can help you come up with your brand’s Brand Positioning, Big Idea and Brand Concept. We also can help create Brand Plans that everyone in your organization can follow and helps to focus your Marketing Execution. We provide a new way to look at Brand Management, that uses a provocative approach to align your brand to the sound fundamentals of brand management.
We will make your team of Brand Leaders smarter so they can produce exceptional work that drives stronger brand results. We offer brand training on every subject in marketing, related to strategic thinking, analytics, brand planning, positioning, creative briefs, customer marketing and marketing execution.
To contact us, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 416-885-3911. You can also find us on Twitter @belovedbrands.