It is often said that standing still is the same as moving backwards, and without knowing where you are currently, it is hard to move forward.
For a business, this means capturing measurable and trackable customer feedback e.g. KPIs such as NPS and satisfaction.
This helps keep a “finger on the pulse” as customer demands inevitably evolve and brands fight for differentiation.
Through our global databank of brand metrics, we have evidence of how performance varies when comparing the likes of industry sector, geographic market, product category, etc. it is important to benchmark performance as “good”, “better” and “best” are all relative to the competing brand and product choices available to the target audience.
With this in mind, here are some tips on benchmarking:
Embed benchmarking within the business culture
Measuring performance of KPIs should be conducted in regular intervals, and should be used to set and then support the business to meet specific annual targets for improvement.
Relative to performance against b2b industry norms and against competing brands, targets should be ambitious, but realistic with regard to what can be achieved.
Resources need to be allocated to support meeting these targets, with tracking research used to provide feedback on the effectiveness of investment and strategic planning.
Benchmarking without context lacks purpose
Deeper insights and therefore more grounded strategy come from comparing brands in multiple ways. Set the bar high by making comparisons to best-in-class brands as well as other direct competitors. However, caution should be taken when making comparisons of brand performance across different countries given the cultural nuances at play. For example, Northern Europeans are usually less enthusiastic about the brands they use than Latin Americans.
Widen the focus beyond one metric
Over time, what makes a “great” brand within an industry is likely to change as market perceptions shift. Without a multi-faceted approach to measuring performance it is hard for businesses to know if their focus areas are still important and relevant, and whether there is an emerging industry-wide problem in the market (providing an opportunity to differentiate).