There are many things that make a successful brand, but none is as frail and hard to measure as a social value. And yet it’s precisely social value, i.e. perceived and not actual worth, that is often the magic ingredient behind lavish purchase decisions and enviable customer loyalty.

In an attempt to define social value, marketers came up with the brand equity metric — a brand’s extra value in customers’ eyes. Inspired by Apple’s (and Orange’s) of the global market, companies are striving to grow their social value and win the loyalty of customers willing to pay top penny for every new product and service.

In this post, we’ll take a look at what brand equity is made of and how to measure it with the most precision.

What makes up brand equity?

The value customers assign to a brand is not completely unfathomable and is in fact determined by three key groups of metrics:

  1. financial — market share, price, branding investment, etc.
  2. strength — accessibility, customer loyalty, retention, etc.
  3. consumer — sentiment, emotional connection, brand perception, etc.

While financial metrics are the easiest to put into numbers, strength, and consumer metrics are the least quantifiable. Luckily, there are tools built to analyze real customer conversations around brands on social media and the web. These fall into the social listening category and provide an assessment of consumer behaviors online.

Regardless of what social media analytics tools you choose to use, there are metrics you can rely on in measuring brand equity. Below is an overview and a how-to.

1.Brand awareness

Brand awareness is the extent to which customers are familiar with a brand. It reflects offline and online visibility, as people are eager to use social media to share both online and offline experiences. What is more, social listening covers social media and the web (news, blogs, etc.), which means you can get a fair assessment of the overall brand awareness.

To measure brand awareness, all you need to do is start monitoring mentions of your brand using a social listening tool. Give it some time and get a full picture of your brand’s online visibility and recognition:

  • how much your brand is talked about online (number of mentions)
  • how many impressions brand mentions generate (reach)
  • how much coverage your brand gets on social media vs traditional media
  • which influencers talk about your brand

Depending on the tool you’re using, the insights will be more or less detailed. You can also experiment and set up mentions monitoring for different versions of your brand name, products, campaigns, etc. You can even use Boolean search to create complex, targeted search queries and fetch data for particular platforms and regions.

2. Share of voice

While brand awareness reflects a brand’s total online visibility, it doesn’t offer the perspective required for understanding the brand’s performance in the context of the entire niche. This is where competition research comes in, as in order to benchmark brand visibility against other brands’, we need solid competition intel.

The good news is, all you need to do is start monitoring competitor brands the same way you’d monitor yours — and you’ll get the exact same brand awareness and visibility insights you want for your company. Looking at brand awareness in perspective, you’ll get to see each brand’s share of voice, which corresponds to market share and reflects the overall amount of online buzz around a company.

Basically, when you have a breakdown of an industry’s shares of voice, you get a solid picture of not only market shares but also market potential each of the industry brands holds. The bigger consumers’ exposure to a brand is, the more difficult it is for competitor brands to even be considered by potential customers.

3. Reputation

However big the market share, no company is immune to a reputation crisis. Even when an issue doesn’t escalate to a crisis situation, brand reputation still influences consumer behaviors and needs continuous monitoring and management. In addition to reporting on the number of brand mentions and their total reach, social listening tools deliver brand health metrics:

  • sentiment — the tone of brand mentions
  • key topics — trends and running themes featured in social media conversations
  • audience insights — demographic, geographic, platform analytics

The first thing to know about brand health and reputation is that they need looking after. Once 24/7 social media and web monitoring is underway, you can set up a workflow that doesn’t require your constant involvement but guarantees prompt notifications of any spikes in mentions’ number and tone.

4. Net promoter score

Getting a net promoter score (NPS) is a big part of measuring brand equity. After all, no celebrity or influencer engagement compares to honest customer feedback and personal recommendations happy customers are happy to share on social media.

In simple terms, NPS defines the likelihood of a customer recommending a company’s product or service to other people. To determine a net promoter score, we need to find out how many customers are so happy with a company they’d refer friends and family to it. Is there a better and safer place to find this kind of data than social media? Not when the year is 2020.

Because most social media monitoring and analytics tools can tell positive, negative, and neutral mentions apart (some can even detect irony and sarcasm), all we need to do is look at the number of explicitly positive mentions. As the tools process publicly available social media data, we can safely consider explicitly positive mentions as recommendations users share with their followers and friends.

5. Customer engagement

Customer online engagement is a multifaceted metric that represents all kinds of interactions social media users may have with a company on social media. In addition to social signals such as comments or shares, brands can measure the efficiency of everything from customer support to product development by tapping into social media data.

Behind every metric obtained in the course of social media listening are real-user conversations and social interactions available for searching, filtering, and engaging with. When you dive into brand mentions per se, you get to meet the people behind your brand mentions, uncover their concerns, and fetch feedback on every part of their customer journeys.

Social listening is also the cheapest way to generate engagement organically: by simply responding to all brand mentions — tagged and untagged alike — brands can grow customer engagement and become part of the conversations happening at any point. Companies that care and respond always win customer points and boost brand equity.

Final thoughts

Brand equity is the secret ingredient behind many purchase decisions. By learning to measure and grow social value, brands gain decades of customer loyalty and new clients excited about products and services, oftentimes regardless of the price tag. I hope you can use this post as a checklist for assessing and improving your brand equity. There are many perks to discover along the way, so make sure you give it a try.