The #1 Brand Health Metric That Social Media Must Own to Win

Many organizations struggle to choose the research approach that best understands and tracks their brand’s health and market position. Last year, the technology market research division at Market Strategies shared its thoughts on NPS and multi-measure approaches as a broader alternative. We fielded questions about social media brands that resulted in a US-based Brand Health Index (BHI), which drew from measures of satisfaction, positive brand sentiment and a brand’s strength at connecting consumers to others.

Fast forward one year to our 2017 Brand Health Study: Do we continue to see value in our BHI when measuring and evaluating brands in the social media space? And can we determine what’s driving a particular brand’s health and momentum (or lack thereof)? Let’s take a look to see how the brands stack up.

Social Media BHI: The Basics

As with our baseline consumer omnibus study in 2016, we indexed three brand health measures that drive regular social media engagement: Overall Satisfaction, Keeps Me Connected and Positive View of Brand. We explored Facebook, Flickr, Google, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Reddit, Snapchat, Tumblr, Twitter and YouTube and used these data to drive brand health and stickiness analyses, ultimately re-scoring the brands on the BHI—as well as comparing NPS scores—to look at year-over-year changes in brand health.

What we discovered is which of the three measures brands must focus on to beat the competition.

Highlights from Our 2017 Brand Health Study

We invite you to download the results of this year’s study, but here’s a peek at some of the highlights:

  • While Facebook and YouTube continue to lead in terms of brand familiarity, that doesn’t hold true for overall brand health. Facebook remains the healthiest brand, but YouTube has been unseated as #2, falling all the way to 6th place.
  • Snapchat and Instagram have improved notably YOY, and now sit with Facebook in the top tier at #2 and #3, respectively.
  • YouTube suffers on the “keeps me connected” front—its users are highly satisfied and hold it in high regard, but it is not seen as a platform that keeps people connected. Among key brands we’re following, only Pinterest scores lower on this attribute.

A Reminder: Alternative Brand Health Measures + NPS

We cannot escape Net Promoter® Score (NPS®) as a measure of brand health and loyalty, as it’s perhaps the most widely-used brand score in research today. That said, we see NPS as a useful measure when asked and analyzed along with other measures of brand health that look beyond customer brand promotion (which may or may not be the best marker of health in a given sector). When determining which brand attributes to measure and track, a company needs an understanding of the broader market context, and what characterizes a strong, healthy brand within the brand’s space. From there the brand research team should plan to include questions that measure distinct brand strengths, which is likely to include other engagement measures beyond promotion.

As one example, Market Strategies’ Brand Vigor approach includes four questions to gauge brand health and provide a game plan across your brand’s lifecycle:

  • Clarity: I am very familiar with this brand
  • Affinity: This brand offers products and services that are a good fit for my needs
  • Regard: I hold this brand in high regard
  • Engagement: For me, this is the one best provider or one of only a few good providers

Results can establish a competitive baseline and provide a snapshot of brand performance that can be tracked over time. This set of questions is designed for greater breadth of brand understanding to enable diagnostic assessment of how a brand is performing—from clarity to engagement—and where action needs to happen. And results can be used to assess how well a brand’s marketing—from positioning through messaging, advertising and promotional spend—is performing as it relates to the brand itself.

Whether using Brand Vigor questions or some other set of questions, initial baseline health measures provide much insight regarding the brand’s health at that point in time. Over time, the value intensifies as additional measures are taken, and the brand’s health trajectory—where and how it’s getting stronger, what may be causing it to weaken, what Achilles’ heel might be putting the brand at future risk—is clearly understood. This allows for effective and nimble brand management.

Assessment of Our Social Media BHI

After diving into year two BHI results, we are confident that our approach in the social media branding space—with its focus on Overall Satisfaction, Keeps Me Connected and Positive View of the Brand—works. Through this lens, we can see relative brand health of the platforms, how it has changed over time and what combination of attributes drives a higher or lower health score.

If you are interested in developing a BHI for your brand and sector, we encourage you to download “Brand Health in the 2017 Social Media Space” and then reach out or continue to follow us here at Market Strategies as we weigh in on how brand health is understood and measured via market research.

Download the Report

Special thanks to Praveen Chalise for his significant contributions to this study.

This entry was posted in Brand and Messaging, Technology, Telecommunications by Erin Leedy. Bookmark the permalink.
Erin Leedy

About Erin Leedy

Erin Leedy is a senior vice president of research and consulting in the Technology Research division of Market Strategies. She has been conducting technology research since 1996, focusing on the development of new hardware, software and services for the consumer and business markets. On the qualitative side, Erin is a skilled focus group moderator who specializes in observational and contextual site visits, modified ethnographic approaches, out-of-box and beta testing and product placements in consumer and business environments. Her quantitative expertise includes customer profiling, market exploration, segmentation and choice modeling. She graduated cum laude from The Ohio State University with a bachelor's degree in industrial design. When not at work, she’s working hard to live up to her Twitter bio, which currently reads: researcher…designer…mommy…foodie…modernist…mixtapeologist…blogger.

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