I Know You’re In Sales, But…
Here are 3 reasons why you need to care about visually monitoring your brand
I’ve worked in sales for global companies that enjoyed major brand recognition. Those companies leant heavily on their brands to leverage sales, but somehow, in each organization, brand recognition, sentiment and safety was something that the ‘marketing folks’ looked at and occasionally shared some stats or news (when there was something positive to share or when a crisis occurred). It wasn’t until I started working in a company whose core technology offering was helping brands gain insights and intelligence about how the world perceived their brand, that the penny dropped for me, as a sales person.
Sales leaders need to be requesting, nay demanding, all the intelligence about a brand’s performance and perceptions as possible. I don’t just mean the occasional highlights, but monthly, and even weekly, detailed reports on the health of the brand. The closer your brand is to the consumer, or the more you rely on brand recognition and loyalty, the more vital this is.
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The stats speak for themselves
86 percent of consumers say that authenticity is a key factor when deciding what brands they like and support (Stackla, 2019).
81 percent of consumers said that they need to be able to trust the brand in order to buy from them (Edelman, 2019).
66 percent of consumers think transparency is one of the most attractive qualities in a brand (Accenture Strategy, 2018).
64 percent of consumers said that they would buy from a brand or boycott it solely because of its position on a social or political issue (Edelman, 2019)
73 percent of consumers cite customer experience as an important factor in their purchasing decisions (PWC, 2018).
And finally, this is the crucial one…
79 percent of people say that user generated content highly impacts their purchasing decisions (Stackla, 2019).
The bottom line is that consumers (and buyers in B2B transactions):
- Want to buy from authentic, caring and transparent brands
- They also want to buy from socially responsible and ethical brands – especially those that hold the same values as they do
- They want to know that the brand will be there for them if they have an issue (whether directly or indirectly)
- They are very happy, and able, to share their experiences with brands among their friends and the world at large
Now let’s consider that never in the history of mankind have we had such capabilities to share our activities, thoughts, beliefs and views. We live in a time of information abundance where consumers have the power to impact sales and to inform on the direction a brand should take. User-generated content is at the heart of this information abundance. If a brand is doing well, everyone from general consumers to the most loved celebrity will associate with the brand. But get it wrong and they will turn and create so much noise as to influence others to boycott your products or services.
Brand Monitoring is critical
Brand organizations have been using brand monitoring for decades. Even before the social media era agencies offered monitoring services, although back then they only really had to worry about sharp-tongued journalists. Typically this function is carried out by the marketing team who will use an agency or platform to get this data. But there is a secret in the brand monitoring industry that many wouldn’t want you to know.
Two ways to monitor your brand
Many brand and social media monitoring platforms would have you believe that there’s just one way to monitor a brand. They call it tracking ‘mentions’ of your brand, and by that they mean text mentions. This includes @Your-Brand, #Your-Brand, or just including Your-Brand in the text of the post. They have really sophisticated technology to pick up those mentions and analyse the sentiment of the post and the reactions and comments to it by others.
But the problem with relying on this approach, that the brand monitoring industry doesn’t like to talk about, is that by relying on text mentions alone, you only see a fraction of all the mentions of your brand online.
We recently ran some research that determined that 88% of all brand mentions are visual-only. That means that your brand is included in the image of the post, but there is no corresponding text-based mention. This shows that there is a second and vital approach for monitoring brand mentions – it’s known by proponents in the brand monitoring sector as ‘Visual Listening’ and involves using advanced AI (known as Visual-AI) to detect logos and key brand marks in images online.
So if you don’t track visual-mentions you are missing out on 88% of valuable data on your brand! But if you combine the tracking of visual brand mentions with text mentions, not only do you get 100% of the data, you also get more meaningful data that can tell you things that text-based listening just can’t.
So here are 3 reasons why this is so important
Visually monitoring your brand allows you to leverage positive sentiment and prepare for negativity
A successful sales leader knows that when times are good, you push hard. In other words, you make hay when the sun shines! If your brand monitoring data is showing that consumers love your brand, maybe a few celebrities post images or videos of them with it, that’s something you can leverage with your channel buyers. That could mean the difference between a new product being ranged or not and we all know, the first one is the hardest to get!
Similarly, being able to pre-empt issues is vital. It’s every sales person’s nightmare; you’re in a meeting thinking you’re closing a deal or a major reorder when the buyer slips in some troubling news they’ve heard about, or some feedback about your brand that is gaining traction in social-land. Why are you always the last to find out?
Consumer sentiment isn’t always right, but even if it is, knowing that information before going to the meeting avoids you being blind-sided and to prepare an action plan for how you’re dealing with it. Something that will reassure your buyers and possibly make the difference in closing that deal.
Visual brand monitoring allows you to monitor key competitors very easily!
Remember the stats above and especially the importance of what consumers say about brands in their own generated content? Well that applies for all your competitors too. If you see some positive content about a competitor, that’s something you might be able to leverage. But if you see some negativity building about a competitor, you can obviously look to avoid that pothole yourself. Remember also that their issues may create opportunities for you.
Visual brand monitoring uncovers partner and collaboration opportunities
One of the most powerful aspects of visual brand monitoring is the additional layers of data that it can uncover. Let’s take just one example. Imagine you work for a drinks brand like Budweiser. You track all visual mentions of your brand and discover that in a high percentage of instances where the logo appears in a home setting, a specific food snack is also present in the image. Let’s say it’s nachos, because people are posting about a sports match they’re watching. This data can be used to open conversations with a complimentary brand, such as Doritos, about a brand partnership that could encompass anything from cross-promotion to discounts on joint purchases. In the simplest form, you can share this with your buyers, allowing them to place your product next to this complimentary product – increasing the sales of both and gaining you some love!
We know that marketers have a single defining and overriding goal – make every dollar count!
For sales people this becomes ‘make every conversation count’, and to do that you need to be armed with the information that will help you maximise opportunities and avoid, or side-step, negativity.
I challenge you to ensure that your sales teams are armed with timely brand intelligence. To do that you need to ensure that your marketing team engages with a platform that understands and delivers visual brand intelligence and not just text mentions.
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