Brand Experience (BX)

What is Brand Monitoring and How Can it Help My Business Grow?

05.30.2024 7 Minutes

Having a strong and positive brand experience is crucial in today’s competitive business landscape. Brand monitoring is essential for managing your reputation across digital platforms.

Brand monitoring is the art of tracking how the public discusses your brand across popular media channels, from social media to the daily news cycle.

By tracking how customers, employees, and stakeholders perceive your brand, you can gain insights into market sentiment and make informed decisions to enhance your brand’s standing.

By doing so, you stay aware of public opinions, identify potential crises, and can more effectively engage with your audience across multiple touchpoints.

In this article, we’ll cover the basics of brand monitoring, its benefits, and the key channels to monitor. We will also discuss essential elements to watch and how to use insights from brand monitoring to drive organizational success.

Brand monitoring basics

Put simply, if branding is the practice of using different business qualities and forms of expression (logo, culture, aesthetic, messaging, etc.) to differentiate yourself in the broader market. Brand monitoring is the act of keeping an eye on whether these activities and messages resonate with your target audience.

Brand monitoring is the process of tracking your brand’s reputation across various platforms and venues. This includes checking everything from social media and online publications to reviewing research to gain insight into your firm’s net promoter score among employees and clients.

At a very high level, the goal of brand monitoring is to better understand how your organization fits into the broader business landscape by analyzing how others (customers, employees, business partners, etc.) speak about your brand.

This allows you to better react to shifts in market sentiment, positioning your firm for better publicity and a stronger brand presence.

Several noteworthy benefits of brand monitoring and reputation management that can help B2B firms win more projects, attract stronger recruits, and ultimately win out in the competitive landscape include:

  • Monitoring Marketplace Sentiment — By tracking conversations and mentions of your brand across different platforms, you can gauge the overall sentiment of your brand in the broader marketplace and better position your company for the road ahead. Positive sentiment can indicate customer satisfaction and loyalty, while negative sentiment can highlight areas needing improvement. This understanding helps you tailor your communication and marketing strategies and improve customer relations.
  • Reputation and Crisis Management — Effective brand monitoring can help you identify and respond to potential crises before they escalate. By addressing potential issues promptly, you can mitigate negative impacts on your brand’s reputation and get ahead of any stories that may paint you in a negative light.
  • Ability to Solicit Feedback — Monitoring your brand online provides direct access to customer feedback, such as online reviews, social media comments, and brand mentions. Additionally, you can choose to conduct brand monitoring surveys among clients and other stakeholders to understand at a deeper level how you show up in the broader marketplace. Analyzing feedback through these different formats helps in understanding customer needs and preferences, which can be used to improve products, services, and overall customer experience.
  • Activate Stronger Engagement — Active brand monitoring on social media platforms can enable you to engage with your audience faster and more effectively while your brand remains top-of-mind. By responding to mentions, comments, and direct messages, you can build stronger relationships with your customers. This engagement not only enhances customer loyalty but also boosts your brand’s visibility and reach.

Primary channels to monitor

It can be tempting for marketers to monitor every possible mention of their brand across the broader internet. However, it’s important to be strategic in which channels you monitor and for what reason.

For example, if you’re a large engineering firm and you’re curious about what people are saying about you in professional spaces online, you’ll want to closely monitor a short list of sites where your clients tend to spend their time, such as LinkedIn or industry message boards.

In practice, this may involve devoting more resources to monitoring LinkedIn than a different channel like Instagram.

When choosing what platforms to monitor, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Online news media — News media is important to track because of its impact on public perceptions of your brand. Promoting and amplifying positive sentiment and properly addressing negative sentiment in the news is important to maintaining your brand’s positive image, so leveraging news listening tools is an important strategy for staying ahead.
  • All social media platforms (not just the ones you use) — It’s important to monitor all major social media platforms where conversations about your brand could occur, even those you don’t actively participate in. This helps capture a complete picture of your brand’s online presence and gives you the ability to gauge public sentiment in locations your brand doesn’t normally participate.
  • User-generated forums (Reddit, Quora, etc.) — These platforms can provide candid insights and unfiltered opinions from users discussing your brand. Monitoring these can reveal emerging issues or areas of opportunity.
  • Online review sites (BBB, Yelp, Glassdoor) — Public reviews can significantly impact your brand’s reputation. Monitoring these sites helps you respond to feedback, address complaints, and highlight positive reviews among both clients and employees.
  • Surveys and direct communications — Collecting direct feedback from customers and stakeholders through surveys and other communication methods can provide you with valuable insight into how your brand is perceived among key stakeholders that might not be captured through passive monitoring alone. Both qualitative and quantitative research can be helpful.

Important things to monitor

Similar to deciding what channels and platforms to monitor, your marketing team should also determine the exact terms or names to listen for across the internet.

Brand monitoring and social listening tools generally work by crawling websites, news articles, and social posts to look for specific “keywords” that you can select as relevant to your business.

Having a shortlist of 20 – 100 keywords relevant to your brand is crucial to getting the most out of brand monitoring tools.

As your team begins to build out this list, you’ll want to make sure you include keywords that represent a few key areas of your brand:

  • Primary brand name and common variations (for example, the A/E/C firm HDR may want to monitor both their acronym and their full name, “Henningson, Durham and Richardson”)
  • Names of any business-specific services or projects (such as major projects that frequently show up in news articles and major publications or unique service offerings and trademarked offerings)
  • Leadership team members and public figures (including all C-suite level executives and any major public figures, such as those who frequent conferences and conventions)
  • Buzzwords, keywords, and trends (to address whether your competitors are showing up in places you aren’t, or if a service line you’re promoting is getting news interest across the broader web)

Remember that your brand monitoring keyword list should be fluid and constantly changing as your business grows and evolves.

Some months, you may want to focus more on a specific service line, while during conference season, you may get a better ROI out of monitoring mentions of your key speakers and industry leaders.

The key is to take a strategic, keyword-focused approach to brand monitoring to help drown out the noise and mine valuable insights into public perceptions of your brand.

Leverage brand monitoring for organizational success

Like any marketing campaign, brand monitoring is only one step in the process of translating consumer sentiment into actionable business insights.

As you collect data, it’s important to consider how you intend to leverage it into tactical recommendations for positioning your business in the broader market.

For example, listening on social media channels for brand mentions could then be leveraged into a plan for commenting on posts that mention your firm or projects you’re working on. It could even lead to a larger social media promotional campaign.

Similarly, monitoring the responses to a client pulse survey could help you identify changes in the customer experience you’re providing.

As you build out your brand monitoring plan, make sure to account for the different practical uses your brand may have for the data you’re collecting.

By having a clear goal in mind, you can more accurately target the specific data points that are relevant, improving efficiency and allowing you to make smarter, more targeted recommendations to business leadership.

Stay on top of your brand's digital presence

Brand monitoring and social listening are key parts of any marketing strategy, providing insights into consumer sentiment and enabling you to be more agile in responding to your customers and the broader marketplace.

When building out your plan, you’ll want to account for a few key action items that can make or break your brand monitoring campaign:

  1. What benefits do we hope to gain from our brand monitoring campaign (i.e., what does success look like)?
  2. What channels do we plan to track, and what technology will we use to monitor them?
  3. What keywords are relevant? Are we focusing on our brand, our leaders, our services, etc.?
  4. What will we do with the data once we have it?

By being clear in each of these four areas, you can more readily use the data you collect to provide useful recommendations and tactics to firm leadership about where your brand is situated now and where you expect it to go in the future.

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