Monday, May 12, 2008

BAQ: the new Brand Measurement

The shift towards utilisation of online social media options and user generated content (UGC) for online marketing campaigns is no secret. Most major brands interacting with their consumers have realised that the best way to promote their product is to let the public do it for them. Sure, it would once have been considered crazy to hand over your brand reputation to the public but the potential pitfalls have been realised to be very low, compared to the possible advantages.

It remains true that lifetime value of the customer, and return on investment remain the bottom line metrics for overall online marketing success, but there is no doubt that social media elements of an integrated campaign not only provide a unique contribution but require a unique set of metrics to analyse them.

Nielsen Online just-launched the Digital Strategic Services (DSS) group to monitor social media online. The new division will focus on managing a brands online reputation through a structured and strategic plan. The key focus of these plans will be monitoring the "Brand Advocacy Quotient," or BAQ score. The BAQ score will rely both the quality of the product and the quality of customer service as a function of product experience.

As blogging, social networks, user forums and other forms of UGC have become more prevalent and mainstream, it has become extremely important for brands to consider the ‘reviews’ which users are leaving in the vastness of cyberspace. The multitude of different locations the modern net user has to express their opinion is almost limitless, and if one doesn’t exist that they are happy with, the average user should have no difficulty creating a new space.

According to Nielsen, “UGC is now vitally important to improving customer service, enabling quick response (including alteration of products) to customer feedback/complaints, identifying needs that present new-product opportunities, gathering competitive intelligence, and making C-level decisions on investments and even core business objectives.”

“84% of companies that are best in class at these capabilities and integrating them into decision-making and operations reported year-over-year improvement in customer retention rates”, according to Marketing Vox.

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