You may have a general idea of how your company’s products are perceived by DIYers or Professionals, or more likely, how you hope they are perceived. After all, many businesses in the building materials and home improvement industry spend time developing and refining a brand image. But what do people really think?
Rather than simply defining an ideal brand within the walls of your organization and then hoping for the best, you should quantifiably investigate the health of your brand, starting with brand awareness.
Brand awareness, one aspect of your overall brand health, is a key performance indicator (KPI) for organizations to track. It indicates how familiar customers are with your brand and your competitive position, so you can identify areas for improvement using hard data rather than wishful thinking or anecdotal evidence.
Other elements include brand usage and brand satisfaction. To keep a pulse on your brand share, how your brand is perceived, and how your customers’ preferences align with their perception of your brand, then you need to conduct brand health research annually.
By conducting primary research into your brand health, you will also understand how consumer awareness is translating to brand use for your competition and how you can strategically increase your brand loyalty to counteract external market forces.
How Do You Measure Brand Awareness?
Tracking and measuring brand awareness can be tricky. In some ways, awareness comes across like an abstract and highly subjective concept, even if it is a KPI for sustaining your manufacturing business, developing new products and implementing larger business growth objectives.
There are several quantitative and qualitative metrics to measure brand awareness across a variety of distribution channels, including brand rankings, net promoter scores and market matching. Whether your target audience is big-box stores, building contractors, regional showrooms or homeowners, you can gauge their level of brand awareness through strategic research that goes directly to the source.
Key Brand Health Metrics
When conducting customized market research with the help of a professional agency, the goal is to gauge a few essential brand awareness metrics, including:
- How familiar customers are with your product category options and sub-brands
- How your brand is perceived compared to competitors
- How your products are used and by whom (namely the purchase motivations of the end users)
Another important metric is your net promoter score, or how likely customers are to recommend your brand or product to a close friend or acquaintance. This must be asked on a regular basis so you are able to correlate changes in your Net Promoter Score to those attributes you’re trying to impact. To go a little deeper, you’ll also want to evaluate aided brand awareness versus unaided brand awareness. In other words, does your brand automatically come to mind for customers when they think about a certain product category, such as power tools or roofing materials, or do they only recall information about your brand when your company name is explicitly mentioned or when they see it included on a list with other competitors?
From doing custom market research, you will be able to measure current awareness and answer important brand-health-related questions, such as:
- What brands of materials are being specified and purchased by end users and how frequently?
- What is the perception of your brand compared to other brands as it relates to key metrics, such as quality, style, price, durability, etc.?
- What are the features consumers like about a certain brand over another brand?
Custom brand health research allows you to gain these answers. Once you have this data, the next question is, how do you interpret it? There are different levels of brand awareness and brand perceptions. For example, Makita power tools have developed a strong perception of being fit for professionals and craftsmen because of their durability, while Ryobi power tools often appeal to entry level DIYers and handy homeowners because they’re cost-effective and a lower barrier to entry for the average homeowner.
Taking into account varying degrees of brand awareness, you need to have realistic benchmarks for your company. By setting clear objectives, the data you collect can help you strengthen your brand health by understanding customer perceptions, challenges, purchase priorities and how those variables change over time. Equipped with quantifiable brand health information, you can then reconnect with customers by emphasizing their priorities.
How Often Should You Perform Brand Health Market Research?
While the optimal schedule for brand health analysis varies from company to company, you should conduct in-depth primary market research every 12 to 18 months and at key points in your business’ lifespan. For example, if you’ve recently improved an underperforming product, added new offerings, implemented a new marketing campaign, expanded to a new target audience, or undergone a major transition, that’s a fitting time to perform research into your brand health outside of annual brand health reviews.
It’s important to also keep stock of any changes, internally or externally, and how they influence or factor into brand awareness data.
Assessing Brand Awareness for Your Building Products
The elusive nature of brand health can make it difficult to know how to go about measuring it. Yet, without regular and targeted brand health research, it’s impossible to enhance product development and the marketing and sales strategy for your building products. If you’re struggling to improve brand awareness—or brand health, in general—The Farnsworth Group can help. We can work with you to establish realistic benchmarks for measuring success in brand health improvement efforts and analyze your data against the current building materials landscape to give you strategic recommendations.