Activating Brand Trackers
A brand tracker is like a check of your company’s vitals. It’s often the first thing a new consumer insights director either establishes, dismantles, re-invents, or pulls from an existing vendor. It’s almost always the single most expensive research initiative. It's considered critical and high-profile, yet its value is often questioned.
Having been on the brand marketing side for years, trackers always had a special place in my office: a folder on my computer that I promised myself I'd look at later. (No really, I will one day, I promise.) The reality is that well-intentioned marketers and business owners rarely have time to translate a tracker’s insight into action. That's why I recommend an insights activation workshop as a critical component of an effective brand tracking program.
These sessions are typically either a half or full day, ideally held “off campus” and almost always include a wide variety of cross-departmental stakeholders (20-30). They can be held once a year and/or aligned with read-outs. A moderator facilitates sessions that include exercises and small group activities designed to generate creative action steps grounded in research insight.
Workshops are a relatively small-budget component of a tracker, but arguably the most important for several key reasons:
1. Workshops allow findings to be more effectively socialized. Emailing tracking highlights along with a bulleted cover note is unsurprisingly ineffective. A workshop provides a dynamic environment with a captive, cross-functional audience to ask questions and engage in a dialogue. Workshops can include large infographics, video, and other artifacts to bring results to life.
2. Workshops generate action steps (the “what now?”). Most often, tracking data provides the 30,000 ft. view, but the implications and the next steps are not obvious. A workshop effectively translates these insights into marketing and product tactics derived from the consumer voice. Participants walk away with solid ideas instead of data points.
3. Workshops create a sense of ownership among stakeholders. Because stakeholders are part of the process, they feel a strong sense of ownership of the results specifically, and of the program in general.
4. Workshops keep the tracking program top-of-mind. Importantly, these workshops show stakeholders how to use tracking findings in their day-to-day decision making, keeping the tracking program more visible and salient. This is especially helpful when it comes to evolve the tracking program.
If you’d like to discuss an activation workshop, please reach out. I'd also love to hear about your experiences with brand trackers, good, bad or ugly and ways you’ve successfully activated findings.