In a world of big data and analytics, every brand should have a monthly report to track how the brand is doing through the course of the year. While these reports can feel tedious to write, the 3-4 hours it takes to dig in is a good investment in discipline, knowledge as well as maintaining that touch-feel of managing the brand. The report serves as a guide for all those across the company to stay on track with the annual plan everyone is committed to delivering. It gives senior management awareness of the grass-root issues, it enables course correction decisions at the senior levels, it exposes weakness and risk. It should carry action statements within the document that serves as a mini-version of the brand plan. And finally, it gives everyone a sense that the brand team has full control of what’s happening on delivering the plan.
How to write a monthly performance report
Every brand should have a monthly report to track how the business is doing throughout the course of the year. While these reports may feel tedious to write, the 3-4 hours it takes to dig in is a great discipline to help you maintain the touch-feel of managing the business results of the brand.
The monthly report helps steer everyone who works on the brand, to stay on track and deliver the commitments of the annual brand plan. There should be a consumption section and a shipments section.
The monthly report should answer the following CONSUMPTION questions:
- What is your one-line story on what’s happening on your brand? This is your elevator speech to the CEO.
- What’s the dollar, tonnage or unit share, on a 4-week, 12-week and year to date basis? Focus on the market share measures that the company uses—as it can vary. Using these three distinct time breaks helps clearly demonstrate the trend line.
- How is the brand doing versus last year, vs. prior share periods, vs. the category or vs. the goals in your plan? Use both percentage growth and share point changes, and explain data breaks to tell a smarter story.
- What is the competition doing? Look at their trends in the consumption, tracking results, brand funnel or any possible tactical actions you see happening in the marketplace.
- What are the top three drivers of your brand growth? Look at consumption trends (e.g. by product sku, regions, channel, account, flavor, etc.), explanations of brand funnel scores, program results, retail challenges, or competitive moves. Develop a mini plan for how you are going to continue these drivers.
- What are the top three inhibitors of growth? These inhibitors explain the weaknesses or friction you are seeing in your marketing programs, distribution gaps, competitive moves, or changes in consumer behavior. Outline a plan to counter these inhibitors, giving the assurance to senior management or ownership that you are on top of running the business.
The monthly report should answer the following SHIPMENT questions:
- What’s the one-line story that captures what’s happening on the brand? Make sure you are aligned with your VP of sales, because they will have to answer to the CEO.
- What’s the overall sales for the month, the quarter and how will it impact the year-end forecasted sales call? Senior management might adjust their own forecast or change their short-term investment stance based on the brand’s sales performance.
- How are the sales by key account, by product skus or by regions? Track each by month, quarter and on a year-to-date (YTD) basis. This highlights the strength and exposes weakness.
- What are the top three drivers of the brand for the month, quarter or the year? Highlight which accounts, product skus or regions are showing the most growth. Explain why and tell what you are going to do to maintain that growth.
- What are the top three inhibitors of growth? Connect with your sales colleagues, ensuring they buy into the statement you will make in the report. Your answers should focus on both the short and long-term.