Thought Leadership

Using The Right Benchmarks To Measure Brand Success

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In 2010, one dead atlantic salmon forever changed the way we saw data.

At the University of Houston, a group of students were testing the MRI machine in preparation for their upcoming research. To ensure the MRI machine was calibrated correctly they measured something whose results could not be questioned, they measured the brain activity of something dead, a dead Atlantic salmon.

To their surprise after reviewing the images, the salmon's brain showcased neural activity. It was safe to assume that the salmon had indeed been deceased for a while and therefore there was no possibility of its brain still functioning. They had not come across a spiritual salmon, they had a problem elsewhere.

Their innocent trial disproved numerous MRI studies conducted previously. Calculations used for drawing research conclusions in the past were all based on the wrong calculations and wrong machine set up. Starting with the wrong set up and the wrong benchmark your idea of success could be very wrong, dangerously wrong!

In a world full of data, how do we choose numbers that will guide us as to what is considered good, what can we call under or over-performing pieces of content and how can we avoid vanity metrics.

This is how Little Dot Studios do it. 

As a starting point we follow 4 standardised benchmarks:

1. Against brand historical performance

2. Against brand competitors

3. Against industry standard

4. Against LDS benchmark

How to Measure What Makes a Brand Successful


The LDS benchmark

As a company with a rich tradition in digital especially YouTube, over the years we have managed to collect and store data for over 700+ channels and 9.6B hours of monthly views. This has given us a pretty good idea of how to measure brand success.

This is the widest perspective we take as it provides us with a platform level benchmark. Comparing the Waitrose brand with the Gordon Ramsay channel might seem radical, however, it does help us to see not only the reality that other benchmarks provide us with but the level of ambition we could potentially achieve when we combine brands with creative ambition from the entertainment industry.


The industry benchmark

Industry benchmarking is a valuable tool for measuring a brand's performance against its commercial competitors, and seeing what it takes to make successful brands. It provides a comprehensive view of the industry landscape, including metrics that help companies stay competitive.

By understanding the overall state of the industry and the challenges it faces, we can make informed decisions about the type of content that is likely to be well-received and create a thumb-stopping moment. Industry benchmarking is essential for developing a wider perspective and a deeper understanding of the market, making it a critical component of any successful social media strategy.


The bespoke brand competitor benchmark

Creative competitors don’t necessarily align with industry competitors and it’s vital to recognise this difference when conducting brand competitor analysis. We tend to create a comprehensive ranking of a brand's social media performance relative to its competitors.

We divide the metrics into three categories- performance, engagement and growth, each of which provide insight into areas where the brand outperformed or underperforms in comparison. We repeat the process regularly (bi-yearly) to ensure the proper creative response to the changes observed in the data. 


The brand historical performance benchmark

Assessing past performance to set standards is crucial for effective goal setting in the future. Examining metrics such as engagement rates, reach, comments, average watch time, completion rate and conversions provides a snapshot of where a company stands, balancing reality with ambition.

This type of benchmarking serves several purposes: it establishes a starting point, sets a baseline target, and highlights areas for improvement. By using historical data as a guide, companies can make informed decisions and focus their efforts on the most impactful issues and build their brand story. It also allows us to see where quick impactful changes can be made to see content performance improve quickly.

You may think that your performance is improving but against a different calibration you might be as dead as an Atlantic salmon. 

Want to find out more about the Little Dot Studios Consumer Brand team? Check out their page here. Or why not check out another article below?