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How to Evaluate Branding Strategy Success Without ROI Metrics

Wanting to know and demonstrate how your branding strategy is on the right track is most likely top of mind.  After all, it’s natural to want to see whether your efforts are paying off or you need to course correct. 

It’s also tempting to want to rely on a definitive metric such as ROI to see a clear picture of brand strategy success. And that’s absolutely fair, except most often ROI calculations are used to measure marketing efforts and not branding strategy. So, essentially, you can calculate the profitability of a specific marketing campaign but you can’t really measure branding strategy in the same way.  

It is possible and more appropriate, however, to evaluate your branding efforts using a different set of metrics. Branding is the support staff to a marketing campaign - it is important to understand the difference between the two - check out this STARSTIX blog to learn more about those differences.

Brand Strategy Metrics

When we think about brand strategy, we’re thinking about a long-term compounding effect rather than a more specific and instant return on investment.  It’s important to note branding efforts do not directly drive conversions.  Rather, they assist in making marketing efforts successful.

Marketing refers to tools and tactics used to increase products or to service sales.  Branding, on the other hand, is your company’s overall identity.  How customers perceive you.  What your company stands for and how much it’s known, liked, and trusted.  Branding is the differentiator. It’s what sets you apart from the competition. 

Therefore, getting familiar with solid ways to measure brand strategy success is important to gauge marketing efforts.  Establishing clear metrics from the onset to evaluate your branding efforts without including ROI metrics is critical.  

Here are 3 metrics you can track when measuring brand awareness.

Website visits - at the most basic level, a good indicator that your marketing efforts are paying off is an increase in website visits.  You can then analyze those visits in a much more granular way to get insights into not only where your visitors come from but how aware they are of your brand.  

For example, looking at unique visitors versus repeat visitors can tell you how effective a new ad or channel is.  Looking at direct site visits, meaning someone types your URL directly on their browser, helps you measure brand recall. 

Social engagement - while it’s very tempting to look at what’s known as vanity metrics, they don’t give you insight into the performance of your marketing efforts. 

For example, you may have 10,000 followers on your social media channel and that can be impressive at first glance, but only 1,000 of those followers may be interacting with your content. 

It’s important to note that while a “like” is considered engagement, it’s still not as robust a metric as an answer to a poll or a comment on a post, where you can get actual data and insights into your audience’s needs.  

Lead conversions - there are many ways to measure leads conversions. One of the more common ways is to have a lead capture within your website where visitors can register to receive some kind of communication such as a newsletter. If your brand awareness campaign drives the number of leads that register for your newsletter, that’s a good indication your campaign is effective.  

Another example for specific marketing campaigns is to offer a valuable asset for download in exchange for your lead’s email address.  This is typically called a “freemium” and it’s a good way to gain insight into what your audience finds valuable.  

In addition to your branding strategy efforts, you may then add in marketing campaigns and want to calculate those specific marketing efforts. 

 Calculating Marketing ROI

Here is a simple formula for calculating marketing ROI

(Sales Growth - Marketing Cost) / Marketing Cost = ROI

If you launch a marketing campaign and spend $8,000 and the sales growth that month is $10,000 then the ROI is .25 or 25%.  By this calculation, it’s natural to think the marketing efforts were successful.

However, this calculation implies that sales growth is directly and completely attributable to marketing efforts, which we know is not accurate. 

Instead, look at month over month sales for the months prior to the marketing campaign and compare it to the month that the campaign ran. 

Here is what that calculation looks like:

(Sales Growth - Average Organic Sales Growth - Marketing Cost) / Marketing Cost = ROI

This calculation takes away sales that happen organically, without any marketing efforts, in order to better represent marketing effectiveness. 

Calculating marketing ROI can be helpful, but still doesn’t represent overall brand strategy success.