The ways businesses measure the health of their brand has changed significantly over the last few years. Social media has stripped away the ability for companies to control the narrative around their brand through owned channels.

Now, two-thirds of Americans get at least some of their news on social media and each and every one of them has the power to influence the global perception of a brand. With that in mind, organizations must use modern measurement techniques.

Here are a few of the new forces at play in the wake of digital transformation.

Rule 1: There Are No Rules When It Comes To Media Channels

Paid, earned, shared and owned media channels all used to be completely separate. Paid was used for traditional advertising, earned was orchestrated by PR agencies who would get placements in publications with a large audience and owned was content produced by the company and shared on the website, blog or corporate social media channels. Shared emerged due to social media and consists of content that’s meant to be shared, liked, reposted and posted organically by others.

Now, these channels are converging. A piece of earned media could be promoted through an advertisement that appears on a webpage or app you visit. The content may resonate with the individual and it’s then shared organically on one or more social media channels. That piece then ticks the boxes of paid, earned and shared. The individual channel no longer matters — research from USC Annenberg predicts that in five years 64 percent of people won’t be able to make a distinction between channels.

The convergence of media channels enables organizations to seek out new ways to measure brand performance, communications programs across stakeholder segments, detect and mitigate risk, and uncover new market opportunities. But, more importantly, it’s forcing companies to align their communications metrics with key business objectives.

Rule 2: You Have to Listen to Global Stakeholders

The internet, global commerce, the EU and international trade pacts like NAFTA have led to a spread of corporate stakeholders. Additionally, there are non-governmental organizations such as environmental groups, human rights campaigners and student activists — think about all the students protesting recently for gun control — and there’s suddenly an exponential amount of powerful and vocal stakeholders, and indeed, influencers, added to many corporate sectors. Modern organizations already fully leverage their media analytics platform by tracking political issues and shareholder activists, as well as their supporters and detractors.

Rule 3: You Now Have To Deal With More Messages, Channels and Issues

The amount of data that exists has exponentially increased. This explosion has created more messages, more issues and more channels for enterprises to manage. Today, organizations often are judged on:

  • the sustainability of their products and supply chains
  • their investments and business relationships
  • the role their products play in the health and well-being of their users
  • their promotion of gender and racial equality
  • philanthropic commitments .. the list goes on.

If executed the right way, these issues not only present an opportunity to connect with stakeholders in a meaningful and positive way but also a way to impact sales. But these issues also require strategic management and a coherent message to build the brand. Left uncontrolled, these varying messages can overwhelm an organization and undermine the integrity and value of the brand in the minds of stakeholders.

Rule 4: You Have To Measure Everything

Technological innovation is creating an ever-changing menu of communication channels. Facebook and Twitter are the most obvious ways corporate communications has developed and the number of channels available for communicators will continue to evolve and become less concentrated with channels like Reddit and Instagram growing ever more popular. Traditional media outlets are now just spokes in a wheel made up of different communication channels connecting producers, consumers and intermediaries.

The new digital economy has drastically changed how companies measure the health of their brand, yet at the same time, new opportunities have emerged. Social media acts as a real-time (and free) focus group for brands, with many new channels to test messaging and reach new audiences. Make sure that you’re making measurement a part of your company’s DNA and you get an aggregate from all these different channels.

If you would like to learn more about how the new digital economy has changed brand reputation measurement, watch a recording of our webinar: “Building and Protecting the Health of Today’s Purpose-Driven Brands.”