Introduce myself and Carly We’re here to talk about brand measurement. Start with a confession. After accepting the invitation to come and talk today I had a bit of a panic. That was for two reasons: The first reason is that quite honestly we haven’t cracked brand measurement at Macmillan. It’s very much a work in progress so all I can do today is share with you the journey we’ve been on and what we’ve learnt so far. And the second reason is I’m very far from a measurement geek. I suspect like many of us, I’m a brand person with a comms and marketing background who’s taken on responsibility for measuring our brand. And the world of brand measurement is full of confusing jargon. So I’m going to try and talk quite simply about this:
Measuring how people think and feel about Macmillan. And what we do with that information. Like all of you I’m sure, we at Macmillan get insight from loads of different sources about how people think and feel about the Macmillan brand. We get it through conversations with our customers, positive feedback, complaints, social media conversations, qualitative research. All of that informs our thinking. But I’m going to focus on the nuts and bolts of actually measuring how people feel about our brand.
Our brand journey really started in April 2006 when we rebranded The rebrand was in response to significant shifts in cancer care, and the need for us to make ourselves far more relevant to people affected by cancer. So the changes we made were really fundamental: to our services, our fundraising and our culture as well as our brand identity. A big investment was made in the brand, but beyond our membership of the nfpSynergy Charity Awareness Monitors, I’m embarrassed to say we didn’t actually invest any additional money in measuring the impact of the new brand. Luckily for us the impact was so dramatic that we were able to explain the difference the new brand was making very quickly. But it wasn’t very scientific.
So this is the first thing we’ve learnt from our rather shaky start. If you invest in your brand you should invest in measuring it. Build it in to your business case from the get go.
This is why I think we should all try to measure our brands: To understand how our customers think and feel about us so we can improve what we do. The world in which we operate changes constantly and so our brands should evolve. Ongoing measurement of our brands enables us to do that. To prove that strong brands drive engagement and growth To justify the investment in our brands We may all believe in the power of a strong brand but do our colleagues in Finance or in Fundraising? It’s our job to prove their worth. And to do that in a robust way that stands up to scrutiny 7 years on we’re still trying to prove the exact financial impact of our brand on Macmillan’s growth, so as I said, we don’t have all the answers.
So we started to get serious about measuring how people think and feel about our brand when we started investing in brand advertising. Our first brand awareness campaign ran in Autumn 2007, targeting people with a cancer diagnosis and their families and friends, and we’ve launched a new campaign pretty much every year since. TV advertising has played an important role for us. It’s obviously a huge investment so we need to be able to prove it’s worth it. So at that point we commissioned our own bespoke brand tracking research with the audiences we were targeting with our advertising.
So this is the second lesson we learnt. Who you go out and talk to when you’re measuring your brand is really important. Early on in our brand journey our Senior Management Team were very hung up on spontaneous awareness with the general public. We all want to be famous! But we realised quite quickly that we needed to focus on the audiences that matter to us most and understand how they feel about us.
This is the sample we currently use for our brand tracking research. This has changed over time as our priorities have changed. Very important that our core diagnosed audience is a representative sample and that we keep to the quotas we’ve set. You can see that the sample size for the affected audience is currently much bigger. This group are our existing and potential supporters, volunteers and campaigners, as well as people who might need our support for themselves as a carer or for a loved one. We’re working really hard right now to engage more of this audience which is why the sample size is so large. It means we can analyse results for specific groups within it. And we do this in line with how the rest of Macmillan are segmenting this audience so we’re comparing like for like. We run the branding tracking about three times a year depending on our activity so we’re building a long term picture of our brand health.
Our charities don’t exist in a vacuum. You need to understand your competitors too if you’re going to play to your strengths and differentiate yourself in a crowded market place.
So our brand tracker includes Cancer Research UK, Marie Curie and British Heart Foundation. They are obviously not our only competitors but they are the most significant. Three great dynamic charities – if we don’t keep a close eye on what they’re up to then we wouldn’t be doing our job properly. And for us that doesn’t just mean looking at our tracking research results, it means following their campaigns, understanding their messages, looking at new fundraising products and services they launch.
We’re constantly looking at supplementing our main brand tracker with other robust measuring tools. This is from nfpSynergy’s Brand Attributes Monitor. A useful tool to tell you the attributes the public associate with you and a wide group of other charities. This is the top 10 attributes the public associate with the ideal cancer charity. (Need to bear in mind it’s the general public this time.) Here I’ve just overlayed our results with Cancer Research UK so we can see the areas where we’re strong and where they are.
Start with your strategy and work out how you measure your planned activity, rather than retrofitting your measures to your strategy.
We’re constantly looking at how to improve it and it’s become more sophisticated over time but this is an overview of the things we track Awareness – not just spontaneous but within the cancer and cancer care sectors Advertising recall – across a wide range of channels Advertising response – is it powerful, is it memorable, is it relevant to you, is it upsetting, what do you think the message is, open q on how it makes you feel Relationship with the brand – whether you feel we’re a brand on the up or going down Likelihood to recommend for advice and support, to donate to, to get involved with. Do people say they go on to act or is there a gap between intentions and actions? What do people know about us and how accurate is it (are we chipping away at misperceptions)? What values do they associate with us? Positive and negative The measures we’ve chosen to track are completely aligned with our strategy and we set targets in line with our activity. I’ll give you a specific example of what I mean:
This is the pharmacy counter at the Boots branch in Salford. You can see a large poster in the background and signposting for cancer support from Macmillan and Boots. It’s part of our fantastic partnership with Boots. People are diagnosed with cancer every day and we suddenly become relevant to them. So as part of our brand strategy we have an year-round programme of advertising activity in healthcare environments – so in hospitals and GPs surgeries, but also Boots and independent pharmacies.
So we track advertising recall in those environments too. You can see here a recent uplift in recall in pharmacies, which was the result of the targeted activity in Boots. So everything we’re measuring is there for a reason and is important to our strategy.
Whether you’re lucky enough to be able to commission bespoke tracking research or you’re part of a syndicate such as the nfpSynergy CAM monitors or YouGov Charity Index, you should get your hands on the data and properly explore it. It’s yours so ask for it. Cut it up in different ways. By gender, by age, by socio-economic group, by any segmentation models you use. What does it tell you? Ask questions of it. We’ve found we need to put the time in to this, but it it’s really useful.
For example, we recently wanted to get a better understanding of how an experience of Macmillan services and our advertising works separately and together to drive engagement. We were already asking the individual questions, but we hadn’t looked at the data in this way before. We already knew that an experience of Macmillan services drives engagement and responses, but it shows that if you see our TV advertising as well, positive response rates jump significantly amongst our affected audience. Just one example of us exploring the data.
Now for the really hard bit. Trying to join the dots between everything you find out about how your audiences think and feel about you and what they’re actually going on to do.
At the same time as measuring responses to your brand you’re likely to be measuring a whole host of other things. This is probably just the tip of the iceberg for most organisations. So how do you make a link between all of these things and what you know about your brand?
In some cases, you can map the specific outcome you were looking for For example for us: Recall of advertising in GPs surgeries leading to calls to the Macmillan Support Line where the caller mentions they saw us at their GPs. But the problem is that in most organisations there are a whole host of other activities that might be responsible for any changes you’re seeing. And the bigger the organisation the more variables there are. And this remains our challenge at Macmillan.
But you can look for trends to build a picture of what is happening. This is our income for the last 8 years. You can see the impact of our rebrand in 2006. There is consensus at Macmillan that the growing strength of the brand was a key contributory factor to this growth. The brand is the most significant thing that changed in that time. You can see then see the impact of the financial crash in 2008. But our growth since 2010 isn’t simply driven by our brand. We have a new fundraising strategy that is getting results, lots of new fundraising products and we’re pushing for more and more integration which means unpicking what is driving what is really hard. We’re still working at finding solutions.
There is no point measuring anything unless you’re going to act on what you find. Make sure you communicate the findings really honestly and tell people how you’re responding to them.
As an example, after we launched our Not Alone campaign in February this year we found that whilst the TV advertising was very well received, our new message about urgently needing people to give support wasn’t getting through. Our audiences were so used to seeing ads from Macmillan about the support we offer (and a proportion of the campaign was continuing to promote this message) that our ask was being missed. So we went back and revised our TV advert creative so the voiceover and calls to action had much greater urgency to them. In the next wave of tracking we saw a significant shift and that’s mirrored in actual donations.
I expect some of you are thinking, well it’s alright for Macmillan, you’ve got decent budgets to play with. Well you’re right, but I do believe there are things that you can do on much smaller budgets. These are the kinds of things I’d look at if we had our budget cut tomorrow.
If you’re a local charity can you use volunteers to do some face to face market research? Do any of your corporate partners have customer panels you could conduct research with? (Something we’ve done with Boots) Do corporate partners have a telesales force or customer service team who could conduct research on your behalf? Do you use door to door fundraisers? Can they add a couple of questions to their pitch? Can you join forces with other charities in your sector and conduct research together? Can you make good use of the various nfpSynergy monitors? Check outthe YouGov Charity Index. It’s a daily tracker looking at a range of core brand measures – its currently tracking about 30 charities.
So here in a nutshell is what we’ve learnt.
Ali Sanders and Carly Wilson
Macmillan brand team
Measuring how people
think and feel about
1. If you invest in your
brand you should invest
in measuring it
Why measure your brand?
• To understand how our customers think and feel
about us so we can improve
• To constantly evolve our brands
• To prove that strong brands drive engagement
• To justify the investment in our brands
Our brand tracker
20 minute online survey (27 minutes diagnosed)
Respondents recruited from online access panels (Research Now, SSi)
300 Not Affected
800 Affected (immediate family, or a close friend, has been diagnosed)
With quotas on age, gender and region for consistency wave on wave
Plus quota on ‘when diagnosed’ for diagnosed
Waves of brand tracking in line with bursts of advertising
Using other tools
Source: Brand Attributes, nfpSynergy
Base: 1,211 respondents who are aware of Cancer Research UK, 18+, Britain, May 2013
4. What you measure
needs to reflect your
What we track
• Advertising recall
• Advertising response
• Brand momentum
• Likelihood to recommend
• Reported actions
• Knowledge of our brand
• Values they associate with us
Health and social care advertising recall:
Q17d Can you recall seeing or hearing anything about Macmillan Cancer Support in any of the following places?
Base: Diagnosed (300 per wave)
How services and advertising drive
Q11 Please can you tell us how likely you would be to donate money to the following charities?
Q11b Do you currently donate money to any of the following charities?
Base: Affected (222, 361, 61,113)
Brand perceptions V actual responses
Number of new
Value of gifts
Link your measures to specific outcomes
• Recall of advertising in GPs surgeries calls to the
Macmillan Support Line (mentioning where seen)
• Likelihood to get involved reporting getting involved
increase in volunteer numbers
• Likelihood to donate actual donations?
People take out ‘get support’ rather than
‘give support’ from our TV advert
What was the main message in the ad, what did it want people to do?
Q40b What was the main message in the ad, what did it want people to do?
Base: Recognise the ad Affected (426)
What we’ve learnt: in a nutshell
1. If you invest in your brand you should invest in
2. Focus on audiences that matter to you
3. Track your competitors as well
4. What you measure needs to reflect your strategy
5. Explore your data
6. Join up the dots
7. Act on what you find