Brand purpose as KPI

Businesses can’t get enough of KPIs, there’s hundreds of them. It is easy to get the impression that in business if you can’t measure it then it’s worthless. This way of thinking is understandable – but as much of brand is not measurable in a quantitative way as it is inherently qualitative this can be a very limited way of thinking.

A KPI is an indicator of performance, so do all indicators need to be quantitative? No they don’t*, an indicator is something which provides specific information on the state of something. So can we consider brand purpose as KPI?

Brand has become a word with many definitions, but we live in an era when identification and differentiation are simply not enough for a brand. Shaping meaning, creating value, explaining benefits, encouraging feelings, sharing a purpose – these are all roles which the brand often takes on. So if your brand is purpose-led, if you have spent time and money defining the raison d’être of your brand and business, then surely it is important to check whether people have understood and importantly remember it.

It is all too easy for businesses to say that they are purpose-led, that they have a ‘mission’ or ‘vision’, but if people don’t remember them or associate your business with your purpose, then what is their point?

If your business is purpose-led then a vitally important KPI is whether people actually know your purpose.

Tracking or monitoring the sentiment of your audience, in respect of the brand meaning, is essential to ensure that your message is being received, understood, and remembered. If you brand has a purpose in which you hope people will share, then if people don’t know this purpose it is worthless. Not all indicators of performance need to relate to numbers of users, clicks, profit, margins, etc.

Of course, having KPIs which give trackable data sets is very useful to a business. It is helpful to know your NPS, customer retention rate, conversion rate, market share, ROI, staff advocacy score, etc, etc, etc. However, marrying these data sets with qualitative analysis can give a much more rounded view of a brand and a business.

*(Now, for changes in the awareness of the brand purpose to be tracked over time, and for it to work as a KPI, we would actually need to measure this quantitatively. We know this. But the qualitative analysis of this KPI is the real value of doing this, rather than solely the numbers it generates).

Image © Sean MacEntee



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