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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

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What is Brand Tracking

Branding is an area where associations sometimes struggle; with so much competition in the marketplace, differentiation can be difficult.

Some common questions among association executives are the following:

  • How is the association perceived by our membership and other stakeholder groups?
  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of our brand?
  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of our marketing and communication efforts?

One way to answer these questions is to identify and track the associationís brand among members and other stakeholder groups.

To develop a brand tracking study, the most essential question that must be asked is "What should be tracked?Ē

Each association brand faces different issues; Association Laboratory recommends a tracking program that considers some of the following potential research goals:


It is important for association leaders to identify whether or not marketing efforts are successfully communicating the brand to the membership and stakeholder markets. Important potential measures of this are recall and recognition.

Recall is to remember something by recalling it in your mind from memory while recognition is remembering something and recognizing it because you have seen it before (example: logo).

Both are indicators of strong brand awareness. They are different indicators of the strength of the competition among brands in the minds of members.


Usage can be measured through recency (how recently did someone interact with the brand), frequency of usage, total spending in the overall brand (example: anything related to the association), and total spending in the product category of the association (example: conferences).

Associations generally have this data internally and it can be collected and measured using data mining.

Brand Attitudes and Perceptions

This area represents questions regarding brand image that members develop as they experience the brand and are exposed to its positioning message through communication programs.

Brand associations are often beliefs about member-related attributes and benefits (example: save money). However, they can also include non-product-related and symbolic benefits (example: professional accomplishment).

Measuring these attitudes and perceptions requires that the association first identify these attitudes. Association Laboratory uses a variety of qualitative research methods, such as online bulletin boards and executive interviews, to collect these insights. The next step is to quantify these measures with survey research.

Membership or Purchase Intent

These questions are designed to measure the influence of the brand on the likelihood of future membership or, in more detail, product purchase intent (example: attend annual meeting).

Association Laboratory uses choice modeling research to identify and simulate purchase intentions. Optimally, the association tracks intended vs. actual purchase intent by linking the discrete choice model to actual transactions.

By tracking these areas, association executive management can understand how communication efforts and the successful delivery on the brand promise are impacting the brand perception, relative to other organizations in the association's market.

Outcome of Brand Tracking

By identifying and tracking your associationís brand index, volunteer leaders and staff have a measure of the strength of their brand among different audiences and can identify weak aspects of the brand or in communication of the brand.

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