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How to track the impact of advertising on your brand equity

Learn if your ad campaign makes or breaks your brand power

When you spend money on advertising, you are seeking to accomplish two main things: Increase sales and influence people’s opinions about your brand.

To tell if the advertising is effective and worth the cost, you’ll need to take measurements. Sales numbers can be tracked through quantitative data, but how do you measure people’s impression of your brand?

It turns out, you can measure people’s subjective feelings and impressions of your brand by measuring your brand equity.

Using brand equity surveys before and after campaigns serves multiple purposes: It allows you to understand people’s impressions of your brand before you advertise–which may influence the messages you create for your campaign–and it illuminates whether the advertising shifted people’s perceptions of your brand following the advertising.

How much value does your brand have? Is it memorable and impressionable? Brand equity seeks to measure how impactful your brand is. When you assess brand equity, you’ll be accounting for metrics that include:

  • Brand awareness (whether or not people are thinking of your brand)
  • Brand relevance (if people think the brand is relevant to them)
  • Differentiation (how different people think your brand is from competitors’ brands)
  • Knowledge (what customers think they already know about your brand)

Developing creative strategy for a campaign can be a time-consuming, expensive process, and you may not even be sure if your efforts are improving your brand equity. To illustrate what we mean, say you have a pasta sauce brand called “Nonna’s.” You want to create a campaign that will increase brand awareness and advertise your brand attributes.

One attribute may be that your brand is “unique” (based on the ingredients you use and the product sourcing). How do people currently see Nonna’s? Do they view it as more unique, than say, Prego sauce? How much equity does your brand currently have?

You decide to send out a brand equity survey prior to launching the campaign. You want to understand people’s current impressions of your brand, and use some of this feedback to shape your messaging strategy. Following the campaign, you’ll again send out a brand equity survey, which will measure if people’s impressions of your pasta sauce have changed after seeing the messaging. In other words, does your brand have more equity following the campaign?

When measuring brand equity through surveys, you’ll ask questions that directly measure whether people’s impressions of your brand change before and advertising, and you’ll use some of the questions to influence how you shape your campaign.

To measure overall brand equity, you’d ask a question like:

On a scale of 1 to 7, how familiar are you with each brand?

You’ll then list both competitor’s brands and your brand. In our pasta sauce example, you’d list some of the popular pasta sauces, such as Prego and Ragu, plus your sauce brand.

These types of questions will set external benchmarks before a campaign starts. If you find that people aren’t very familiar with your pasta sauce brand before the campaign, but following the campaign, people are more familiar with your brand, you’ll have evidence that your brand equity has lifted as a result of the advertising.

The types of questions that will help shape your campaign strategy more directly ask for people’s associations with brands. For example:

What types of characteristics describe the following brands? Match the words that you would associate with the following brands:

You would then list brand-association adjectives such as “distinctive,” “unique,” and “best in category,” to see if people make any of these character associations with your pasta sauce brand.

The second brand equity survey that you send out following the campaign will help you understand if the advertising changed people’s impressions of your brand’s character–such as its “uniqueness.” And, from the survey results, you’ll also have a measurement that will tell you how much brand equity your pasta sauce has.

The combination of the pre- and post-campaign brand equity surveys will give you measurable data that you can use to determine how much equity your brand has, if your messaging strategy is working, and if your advertising is worth the budget you’ve invested.

At SurveyMonkey, we have articles, surveys, and plenty of tips to help you study people’s impressions of your brand. In addition to brand equity surveys, we’ve created surveys to measure brand awareness and brand loyalty. And visit our branding resources page to get a head start on discovering, identifying, and strengthening your brand identity.

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