Market Strategies is often asked to recommend research approaches that guide decisions about marketing and product/brand management. A topic that’s been of keen interest lately is brand health. NPS has been the “go-to” measure for some time, but we were curious to compare it to other brand health measures so we used our quarterly consumer omnibus study as a research sandbox.
Specifically, we fielded various questions and used the results to test the efficacy of brand health approaches that would serve clients across industry sectors well. We surveyed more than 1,100 US consumers regarding brands in the social media space: Facebook, Flickr, Google, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Reddit, Snapchat, Tumblr, Twitter, Vine and YouTube. We then used these data to run multiple brand health analyses, ultimately comparing NPS and several brand health measures and indices at how well they predict our dependent variables: frequent use of the brand and intention to increase use of the brand in the near future.
If your company uses NPS and nothing but NPS, you’ll want to download this free topline research report to see the results of our experiment. Here’s additional background for context, if you’re so inclined.
A brief look at NPS as a measure
We cannot escape Net Promoter® Score (NPS®) as a brand health measure, as it’s perhaps the most widely-used brand score in research today. NPS is a management tool used to gauge a brand’s customer loyalty or brand health, having grown out of dissatisfaction with customer satisfaction research and a desire to focus on a metric that better measures loyalty.
Once NPS was developed and introduced in 2003, it swiftly gained prominence as it presented a radically simple solution and moved away from long questionnaires and complex satisfaction models. However, it has also been criticized regarding its efficacy and its lack of clarity.
Historically, customer-related initiatives focused on continuous improvement (i.e., maximizing high scores) or minimizing defects (i.e., eliminating low scores).
NPS seems to be a combination of the two but, in practice, it can blur the issues.
- As shown here, vastly different scenarios can result in the same NPS and require different actions from the brand.
- Because using a net of two measures can obscure findings, questions often follow: “What are the promoter and detractor percentages?” “NPS went up last wave, so what changed?” “Do we have more promoters or fewer detractors?”
All that said, NPS can be a valuable tool when there’s a desire for simplicity—a single question to be posed and tracked, which can be attractive to senior management—as well as a desire to use a metric that’s known and well-established. But it is not without its drawbacks.
Alternative measures in place of—or in concert with—NPS
We see NPS as a useful measure when asked and analyzed along with other measures of brand health that look beyond customer brand promotion. Multiple measures may be used, whether independently or indexed, to get a broader understanding of a brand’s health as compared to the competition. When making decisions about which brand attributes to measure and track, a company should take a good look at its brand given the broader market context, as well as what characterizes a healthy brand within that space. When designing a brand health study, the research team should include questions that measure distinct brand strengths, which may include other engagement measures beyond promotion.
- Clarity:Do I know this brand and what it stands for? Does the brand stand for something unique in the market?
- Relevance:Does the brand fit my needs? Do I choose to use the brand?
- Congruency:Does the brand consistently deliver on its promise?
- Engagement:Am I engaged—do I advocate for the brand? Do I engage with this brand over others?
Results from our brand health measurement experiment
We presented the results of our experiment at the Northwest MRA Spring Educational Conference and are happy to share them with you now. This presentation provides an opportunity for you to dig deeper into different approaches for measuring and tracking brand heath longitudinally, and it shares a framework for:
- Considering NPS—pros, cons and how to optimize it using other approaches and measures.
- Engaging with clients, internal customers and stakeholders to determine the best approach for measuring brand health given the marketplace, brand position and goals.
- Evaluating brand health approaches that employ multiple measures (e.g., NPS, other research results, customer transactional/behavioral data, data from social media, etc.).
Download “Beyond NPS: Multi-Measurement Approaches for Brand Health” and then continue to follow us here at Market Strategies as we explore and weigh in on how brand health is understood and measured via market research.
Special thanks to Praveen Chalise for his significant contributions to this study.