Analytics, B2B, Customer Experience, Engagement, Offer Optimisation, Brand Strategy, Creative Efficacy, Media

What’s Wrong With Your Brand Tracker

By Posted 19 Feb 2024

A common lament amongst marketers is that the brand tracker tells them one thing and actual in-market performance says something completely different. The more volatile the market, the worse the distortion is. If your brand tracker does not predict in-market performance, then it is not measuring brand1.

The tracker might be telling marketers that their brand is doing relatively well on brand preference, but when it comes to consumer choice and actual sales, they discover the brand is languishing behind competitors. Why does a brand tracker not accurately depict the in-market performance of the brand?

There are two common reasons why brand trackers do not reflect in-market performance:

  1. When it comes to buyer choice, your superior top of the funnel, brand preference is being deflected by a competitor’s superior bottom of the funnel tactics.
  2. Your brand tracker is not measuring brand but rather made-up measures like brand equity whose only correlation is with the researcher’s vivid imagination.

Either way, the lack of alignment between predicted and actual brand performance is reflected in what is being measured by the brand tracker.

Sales today and sales tomorrow

Talking about the long and the short of it2 and rules of thumb for allocating media to stimulate sales today and sales tomorrow, can end up being a rather theoretical discussion. There remains a gaping omission in the conversation centered around two questions. What is the brand building story that drives top of the funnel preference, and what are the optimum, bottom of the funnel tactics to pull the brand preference through to the cash register?

The mismatch between the brand tracking results and the in-market performance causes such frustration that some CMO’s are left wondering, is the brand tracker worth continuing? The lack of reliability is not just one way. Lifts and contractions in market performance are equally, not reflected in tracking results.

Brand measurement should measure brand preference and brand choice

The solution required to solve the gulf between predicted and actual brand performance is relatively straight forward. Deploy a brand tracker that measures both the top of the funnel brand preference and the bottom of the funnel applied tactics. The combination of the two will provide a more accurate link between brand preference and brand choice. It’s a simple solution but my guess is, you are not doing it.

The funnel category drivers of preference are relatively fixed, they are often tracked continuously and independently of the bottom of the funnel choice drivers. Every few years, they are modeled and remodeled to identify the changing relative importance of the drivers.

By comparison, the bottom of the funnel, tactical choice drivers for both you and your competitors, are likely to be in a state of constant change, yet still need to be imputed into the brand tracker. To achieve this, discrete choice modeling is first used to test the veracity of each proposed tactic. As a result, it is possible to estimate which tactics are most valuable and sufficiently effective to deflect choice to and from your brand.

Advances in partial sampling and discrete choice modeling mean that a playbook of tactics can be updated as fast as the market moves. It can be easily embedded into your brand tracker and will take only one or two minutes of your survey time.


  1. Brand equals goodwill in the form of future purchase intention.
  2. The Long and the Short of it: Balancing Short and Long-Term Marketing Strategies, 2013, Binet, L., Field P.