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Successful brand marketing starts with your audience; this is nothing new. From focus groups to consumer surveys, PR and marketing professionals have long relied on audience feedback to develop campaigns that resonate with their customers.

However, today’s brands are faced with countless channels from which to gather this feedback. And many of these channels – such as review sites and your customers’ blogs and social media feeds – aren’t managed or ‘owned’ by your company.

Keeping up with all of these channels poses a significant challenge for the executives and staff tasked with protecting a company’s brand.

There are many costs associated with effective monitoring. It takes time to sort through and analyze data, as well as expertise to understand how it can be used to refine your business goals. And if you’re going to invest in a robust monitoring service, there are financial considerations as well.

However, the breadth and depth of actionable business intelligence available to today’s brands is worth the price because of the opportunities that monitoring offers.

Here are four ways brand monitoring can help your company market itself more efficiently.

1. Uncover areas of improvement.

Monitoring your brand enables you to listen to the conversations people are having about you and gather honest opinions and experiences about your company.

Regardless of whether the sentiment is positive or negative, this feedback can help identify ways to improve the public’s perception of you — from their opinions of your product offerings and customer service to assessments of your brand’s leaders.

Brand monitoring also opens up opportunities to engage in direct conversations with your consumers and work together to enhance current products or brainstorm ideas for new ones.

2. Learn what your competitors are doing.

The conversations your competitors had with their customers used to be private; however, thanks to social media and other online forums, it’s easier to observe these interactions in real time. Tracking what your competition does and how people respond gives you an opportunity to learn from their successes and missteps and adapt your online presence accordingly.

3. Discover new revenue opportunities.

Listening to conversations around your brand and competitors can also drive revenue for your company. Perhaps you notice people discussing a problem you didn’t realize your products solved or an issue with your competitor you were unaware of. Monitoring for these comments can help you identify potential customers and new markets, and understand how to successfully engage with them.

4. Identify and reward brand champions.

Testimonials, case studies and user reviews are typically more effective at building brand trust than traditional marketing. It’s because peer-to-peer messages are genuine, transparent and relatable.

Monitoring for third-party mentions of your brand can aid you in finding the organizations that use your services and are advocating for you in the marketplace. Once you’ve identified these brand champions, recognize them for what they’ve been doing all along – sharing their love for your brand.

Investing time and resources into a brand monitoring program can reap many benefits for your company, but you need to do it right