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The First Step in Designing a Tracking Study

September 18th, 2023 No comments

The first step in designing a tracking study is to identify what your goal is and what you want to do with it.

Do you need a Brand Equity, Brand Health or Advertising Tracker?  Or some combination?

So let’s first define each…

Some researchers lump Brand Equity and Brand Health into the same bucket but they’re actually different.  Here’s how…

Brand Equity:

Brand Equity is a measure of the value of a brand.  That value is built on everything the brand goes to market with; name, logo, image, advertising, packaging, service, quality, price, performance, availability, etc.  In very practical terms, it is why a consumer will choose one brand over another, and why in some instances, even pay a price premium for that brand.

MSW’s CC Brand Preference™ measure is a proven, independently validated measure of brand value.

Brand Health:

Brand Health is how the brand got here and where can it go in the future.  Brand Health can be made up of many measures depending on the objectives; awareness, consideration, perceptions, our Brand Franchise Analysis (a segmentation technique that looks at Loyalty, Repertoire usage, Lapsed, Rejectors, Attracted, Indifferent, and Hostile), our RDE Analysis (which looks at Relevance, Differentiation and Emotion), etc.  Examining trends is also an important part of Brand Health.  All of this is what informs and creates the actionability of a well designed tracker.

And there’s also Advertising Tracking to consider:

Advertising Tracking measures the performance of a brand’s communications.  How well is it working to move consumers to consider, use, or use more of your brand.  And how to optimize messaging, media, and weight.

With these definitions in mind, the first step is to align this with your goals.

We can help.  At MSW we provide insights derived from proven, brand growth oriented KPI’s; innovative tracking analytics that empower you to grow your brand by demonstrating how to:

  • Retain current customers,
  • Acquire new customers, and
  • Improve the return on your marketing investment.

Contact us to learn more.

We Don’t Make the Models You Use… We Make the Models You Use Better

May 31st, 2023 Comments off

In the world of brand data analytics, models are expected to provide consistent predictive, decision-support to grow the business.

Traditional models often fall short of delivering the full potential they promise. They lack the ability to ask the right questions, suffer from incomplete and inaccurate data, and fail to provide insights that drive the full potential of business opportunities. However, there is a solution that bridges this gap and enhances the performance of these models. Welcome to the world of MSW Enhanced Models, where the focus is on improving accuracy, understanding consumer behavior, and addressing the shortcomings of current behavioral modeling with consistently repeatable business results.

Traditional Models: Limitations and Challenges

Traditional models have their limitations, and these limitations can hinder their effectiveness in providing actionable insights. One of the major drawbacks is their failure to ask the right questions. They often focus on narrow or overly broad questions that fail to capture the nuances necessary for driving business growth. Without asking the right questions, these models miss out on valuable opportunities, leading to misguided strategies and missed opportunities.

Another challenge lies in the quality of data used in traditional models. They often rely on incomplete and transactional data without considering the behavioral root cause. This limits their perspective to top and perhaps bottom sales funnel prediction.  But even that limited, short-term, perspective may be flawed as a predictive tool.  For instance, if a model only looks at purchase data without considering the underlying motivations and preferences of consumers, it may fail to provide accurate and meaningful insights. Inaccurate or incomplete data can lead to flawed inferences and incorrect conclusions, hampering the decision-making process for businesses.

According to a study conducted by Truth{set}, a leading data quality measurement company, “big” data can be wrong up to 60% of the time. This highlights the significant challenge of relying solely on data without proper validation and verification. Such inaccuracies can have profound consequences for businesses relying on these models for decision-making, leading to misguided strategies and missed opportunities.

MSW Enhanced Models: Unlocking the Full Potential

MSW Enhanced Models offer a transformative approach to brand data analytics. These models prioritize asking the questions that truly impact business decisions. For example, instead of focusing on the number of units sold, an MSW Enhanced Model might explore questions like “What hidden factors influenced the purchasing decisions of our target audience?” or “Which specific brand attributes drive consumer preference for my brand?” By delving into the depth of consumer behavior, these models uncover the who, what, when, where, why, and with whom behind each transaction. This level of granularity enables businesses to gain a comprehensive understanding of their customers and make informed decisions.

Consistent accuracy is a fundamental pillar of MSW Enhanced Models. By integrating MSW Preference™, these models can improve the prediction of actual volume with 100% accuracy. For example, a company that implemented MSW Enhanced Models with MSW Preference™ experienced a significant boost in their predictive accuracy, allowing them to allocate resources more effectively and optimize their marketing efforts. This improved accuracy instills confidence in businesses, enabling them to rely on the insights provided by these models to drive their strategies and achieve optimal results.

Furthermore, MSW Enhanced Models address the ever-changing consumer mindset. They recognize that brand perceptions and relationships drive consumer choices. By capturing and analyzing these factors, businesses can adapt their strategies to meet evolving consumer preferences and stay ahead of the competition.  For instance, an MSW Enhanced Model can help identify shifts in consumer perceptions of a brand and provide actionable insights to realign marketing campaigns accordingly, thereby increasing brand loyalty and driving revenue growth.

Bridging the Gap with Innovative Products

MSW offers a range of innovative products that complement and enhance traditional brand data analytics models. Let’s explore some of these products:

  1. Decoder™: This product acts as a guide in identifying and prioritizing the most relevant questions for a model. By measuring the who, what, when, where, why, and with whom of consumer behavior, Decoder™ ensures that businesses focus on the aspects that truly matter. For example, it can help businesses understand not only the purchase behavior but also the underlying motivations, preferences, and influencers that drive consumer decisions. By incorporating these insights, businesses can develop more targeted and effective marketing strategies.

Client Testimonial From Real Life in Use Example:

“after using Decoder to identify the KPI’s we needed to focus on and building those into our existing model, our product has achieved a wholesale rate of what I would consider directly in line with the numbers expected.  These are preliminary based on orders, but sales figures appear to be trending toward 102% of forecast.”

  1. TouchPoint™: Brand activation is a crucial aspect of any marketing strategy. TouchPoint™ ensures that brand activation aligns with strategic objectives by evaluating its impact on attention, branding, brand perceptions, relationships, and preferences. For instance, by analyzing the impact of different touchpoints on brand perceptions, businesses can optimize their marketing investments to create stronger brand associations and positive customer experiences. This helps build brand loyalty and increases the likelihood of repeat purchases.

Client Testimonial From Real Life in Use Example:

“For our three main L’Oréal brands it was found that a 1-point increase in MSW Brand Preference resulted in a 0.6% sales gain at retail.  Furthermore, the MSW advertising quality measurement ranked as the 2nd leading potential driver of incremental brand volume.”

  1. Brand Strength Monitor™: Tracking performance is essential for success. Brand Strength Monitor™ provides foresight and prescriptive analytics that help identify and quantify opportunities for growth. It measures awareness, consideration, cross-consideration, reasons for behavior, and the size of each brand relationship. For example, by tracking awareness levels and reasons for behavior, businesses can identify gaps in their brand messaging and make necessary adjustments to improve customer engagement and conversion rates.

Client Testimonial From Real Life in Use Example:

“Brand Relationship Analysis™ administered within the MSW tracking solution identified leverage points directing resource allocation and ongoing ROI measurement.  Insights enabled the Benefiber brand to move from third choice in market to #1.  Brand trial and market share doubled.”

These solutions include the same unique, evidence-based, brand-building metrics that provide connective tissue across a consistently predictive, go-to-market process:

Traditional brand data analytics models often fall short of delivering actionable insights. They lack the ability to ask the right questions, rely on incomplete data, and suffer from inaccuracies. However, MSW Enhanced Models bridge this gap by focusing on impactful questions, improving accuracy, and addressing consumer behavior. With innovative products like Decoder™, TouchPoint™, and Brand Strength Monitor™, businesses can unlock the full potential of their data analytics models and make informed decisions that drive growth. The future of brand data analytics lies in enhancing existing models to deliver the results businesses need to thrive in a dynamic market.  With MSW Enhanced Models, businesses can truly optimize their strategies and stay ahead in an ever-evolving business landscape.


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The “5 CMO Objectives” According to the AMA / Deloitte and How MSW Addresses Each

March 14th, 2022 Comments off

The 26th edition of the annual CMO survey conducted in February 2021 for the American Marketing Association by Deloitte, identified that the importance of Marketing had increased during the pandemic.  CMOs said that they were focused on brand building and reported 5 specific “Objectives”.

MSW Research directly addresses each of these “5 CMO Objectives” with unique measurements that enhance your insights process; measurements all founded upon the evidence based, MSW Predictive Brand Growth Marketing Model™

The “5 CMO Objectives” and how MSW addresses each with, a Philosophical Framework, specific Applications/Products/Services, and the Evidenced Based Proof that supports this:

“CMO Objective” Number 1:  Building Brand Value That Connects with Customers

Two elements of the MSW Marketing Model that address this CMO ”Objective”:

1:  Brand Relationships; existing brand relationships drive Brand Preference.  MSW uses a segmentation model that places every individual into one of eight groups for each brand in the category.  We utilize a relationship decision tree to identify the strength of the brand relationship with customers.

2:  Brand Perceptions; all successful brands have a set of distinctive brand assets (sensory cues: color, logo, design, character, jingle, etc.) that aid memory encoding and act as signals to enhance availability.  Additionally, all brands also have a differentiated positioning (a reason to be).

Framework and Research Objectives:

  • Category whitespace and market need priorities-Decoder™
  • Brand lift opportunities in competitive context-BrandScape™
  • Preference shift linked to short term sales and long-term brand equity-The Brand Strength Monitor™
  • Ongoing campaign and individual message/medium brand lift in competitive context-Advertising Performance Monitor™
  • Pre and post campaign message and media effectiveness-Touchpoint™


  • A&U – Decoder™
  • Brand Purpose – BrandScape™
  • Brand Equity Tracking – The Brand Strength Monitor™
  • Early-Stage Message Screening – Sifter™

Evidence Based Proof that Supports this:

  • Of the points that support this objective, one that stands out in particular because of its validation as a predictive indicator of brand health and sales is our RDE Analytic Framework™, which measures Relevance, Differentiation and Emotion.  RDE™ has been proven to grow brands based on 17 years of experience, with 3,500,000+ individual brand evaluations, across 400+ categories, for 2,000+ brands, in 44 countries.

“CMO Objective” Number 2:  Increasing Awareness

Every piece of brand communication needs to build awareness. At MSW, we have proven methods to effectively measure awareness and determine the contribution to the memory structure that drives saliency and brand association.

Framework and Research Objectives:

  • Ongoing campaign and individual message/medium awareness and preference lift in competitive context-Advertising Performance Monitor
  • Pre and post campaign message and media effectiveness-Touchpoint


  • Development / Copy Testing – TouchPoint™
  • Advertising Performance Tracking – APM™

Evidence Based Proof that Supports this:

  • Saliency, as measured by Top-of-Mind Awareness, is a stronger predictor of sales than Aided Awareness (average R2 = 0.70 vs. 0.44). Simply improving a brand’s TOM Awareness can often lead to an increase in market share.  We see this in the correlation between TOM Awareness and sales.  TOM Awareness is usually the second most accurate predictor of sales after our CC Brand Preference measure, which is independently proven to correlate at .94.

“CMO Objective” Number 3:  Acquiring New Customers

Evidence shows that the primary driver of brand growth is penetration, all other growth mechanisms are secondary. New customers can be acquired though promotional activity, but these gains tend to be short lived. A more successful longer-term strategy is to invest in brand building, and evidence shows that message quality is the most impactful element when explaining changes in market share.

Framework and Research Objectives:

  • Customer Acquisition Forecast and sales from advertising


  • Development / Copy Testing – TouchPoint™
  • Advertising Performance Tracking – APM™

Evidence Based Proof that Supports this:

  • Research conducted by MSW on its database of advertising has found that 52% of changes in market share can be explained by ad quality.  Media explains 13% of market share changes and a variety of other factors explain 35% of the changes.  The importance of ad quality is undeniable, and our validated, proven and in 2 cases Patented, advertising development tools such as CC Brand Preference™, CC Brand Persuasion™, RDE Analytic Framework™ and Outlook® Media Mix Optimization & Market Share Forecast Model™ deliver high quality advertising.

“CMO Objective” Number 4:  Retaining Customers

This was the primary activity of more CMOs than any other in the 2021 CMO survey.  The pandemic was a shock to the system, but brand loyalty has been declining for years along with trust in brands.  MSW’s brand tracking studies show that approximately half the consumers in any given category are not loyal to any one brand.

An entire industry has been built to measure Customer Satisfaction, and to help companies improve their Satisfaction scores, yet customer loyalty continues to decline.  This has led people to question the value of customer satisfaction and to recognize that the real goal is Loyalty.

For MSW Research, the key to addressing this objective is the ability to accurately measure human emotional response to brands and their messaging, combined with measurement of various brand relationship segments.

Framework and Research Objectives:

  • Loyalty shifts among various brand relationship segments-The Brand Strength Monitor
  • Preference Shift linked to traffic, sales, etc.-The Brand Strength Monitor


  • Brand Equity Tracking – The Brand Strength Monitor™
  • Brand Franchise Analysis™
  • Persuadables Segmentation Analysis℠

Evidence Based Proof that Supports this:

  • Our data shows that Brand Loyalty is affected by how each brand interaction makes consumers feel.  The MSW brand relationship model captures attitudinal loyalty and allows us to understand the drivers of loyalty. A battery of emotional response measurement tools drills down to provide exact direction to activate these drivers.

“CMO Objective” Number 5:  Improving Marketing ROI

Most importantly of all, brand and marketing investment must create brand preference over competitive offerings, which propels sustainable and longer-term financial value and growth.

Framework and Research Objectives:

  • Continuous measurement – The Brand Strength Monitor
  • Point-in-time measurement – Touchpoint 360


  • Brand Equity Tracking – The Brand Strength Monitor™
  • Outlook® Media Mix Optimization & Market Share Forecast Model™

Evidence Based Proof that Supports this:

  • MSW Brand Preference explained more of the variation in sales across a study of 120 brands in 12 categories over 18 months than other classic market research metrics.  MSW Brand Preference is a measure of Long-Term Brand Equity and it explains most, but not all, changes in brand sales; but we still have a Market Gap that is explained by other factors.
  • The link between MSW Brand Preference and Sales has been presented to the ARF and AMA, written about in The Economist, The International Finance Review, The Journal of Brand Management and CFO Magazine, and has been discussed with The International Accounting Standards Board and incorporated into the ISO definition of Brand Equity.


The 5 CMO “Objectives” can be summarized by one illustration.

All brands have potential, not all are living up to that potential.  We help brands identify the reasons for the gap between their Performance and their Potential and provide guidance to help close the gap.

In addition to helping brands meet their current potential we uncover opportunities for brands to expand their future potential.

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