By Chuck Miller (DM2), with Courtney Williams (Lucid) contributing
The pace of change today is faster than ever. New technologies lead to exponential advancement, new products arise seemingly overnight, and marketplaces change in the blink of an eye. Given all of this, it’s increasingly important for businesses to keep a pulse on markets in which they compete and monitor their position versus competitors. Brand tracking is an excellent way to obtain a holistic view of the marketplace and position of a brand. Insights gained help companies adapt to change.
When launching a new brand tracker, a clear set of objectives helps drive creation of the best solution. Some considerations include:
- How broad should we focus – our brand, the competitive set, or even adjacent industries?
- What brand or product dimensions should be measured – awareness/usage, channels and path to purchase, purchase drivers, market share, impact of advertising/media content, marketing messaging?
- Who is the target – customers/non-customers, users of a specific competitive set, the marketplace as a whole?
Once the framework for the tracker has been established, great care should be taken in planning how the project will be executed. The Lucid team has significant experience transitioning brand trackers, as well as helping companies set them up from scratch. Lucid will connect you with tracking experts that can assess your tracking objectives and ensure your sampling is representative of the market under study and replicable over time.
Sampling and Surveying – the Lifeblood of Insight
A brand tracker is only as good as the inputs it receives – the sample. It’s important to understand the characteristics of the sample, as unseen latent characteristics can lead to faulty research outcomes and insight. For example, a tracker for a technology product that is overly populated with tech early adopters (relative to the population) could lead a brand to believe they are in a better position than they actually are. With data obtained through the Lucid Supplier Quality Program, we can reduce risk of bias by creating sample blends that balance potentially biasing characteristics according to population norms.
Through ongoing measurement in the Supplier Quality Program, Lucid is able to classify suppliers based on different dimensions (latent characteristics) that can influence research outcomes – items such as Brand Affinity, Value Seeking Behavior, Technology Adoption, Media Usage, and Gaming Proclivity. The levels of these characteristics vary by provider, which are driven by differences in recruitment strategies and sourcing. Having collected 500,000+ interviews over 15 quarters, in five countries, Lucid is uniquely positioned to establish baselines for these characteristics and assess if a project’s sample deviates from typical standards. This analysis is extremely beneficial in managing to sample stability over time.
Management of tracker sources leverages the Lucid Sample Blending Calculator that uses the most recent quality program data. The calculator can be used to create a sample design that is “compositionally neutral” on the latent characteristics which then minimizes potential bias that would lead to a faulty research outcome. The combination of quality program data and the intelligence of the blending tool uniquely positions Lucid to deliver the most representative sample – going way beyond simple demographic balancing.
Ongoing management of a sample blend for a project ensures consistency can be delivered over the long-term – creating sample replicability and sustainability from the vast resources of the Lucid Marketplace. The depth and breadth of the marketplace allows delivery of the same blend over time, providing capacity benefits unseen by any single provider (or small group of providers). And by leveraging the deep network of providers to populate a blend, there is no concern that a small group of providers might have composition shifts, or become a dwindling resource impacting results in the future.
Lucid’s investment in quality and blending tools produce sample consistency that benefits all types of research. Coupled with capacity, Lucid can deliver unmatched sample sustainability – ensuring the best possible research and tracker outcomes.