Transitioning Brand Trackers: Consistency Meets Innovation

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Greg Rice is the Chief Research Officer at Hypothesis. Contact him at

Moving your brand tracking study from one research partner to another can cause anxiety. One of the first questions researchers ask is “How can I move this tracker and keep all of my historical data trends?”

The quick answer is “easily.”  Maintaining trends is straightforward, if you keep your research fundamentals aligned with your original tracker.  Most good research companies (including, of course, Hypothesis) can help you align the below to keep your trends nice and stable:

  • Sample source (SSI, Toluna, Research Now, or a specific mix of smaller panels)

  • Programming platform (Decipher, Confirmit, Qualtrics, etc.)

  • Screening criteria

  • Question layout (scales in the same order, rows and columns in the same place)

  • Visual look & feel (fonts, colors, white space)

While trendability is great, you shouldn’t sacrifice innovation for it.  When you move a tracker, it’s a perfect opportunity to think critically about it and make it work harder. Here are just some of the levers that we consider at Hypothesis to make the most of our trackers:

  • Adjusting survey coverage to your business calendar. We suggest more coverage in key business and planning seasons, less coverage the rest of the year.

  • Reducing survey length. Leverage analytics to reduce redundant metrics, cut or rotate in ‘nice-to-know’ topics.

  • Making your survey mobile-optimized to capture a more representative sample, especially among Millennials and Hispanics.

  • Adding more strict security protocols and data cleaning to protect against fraud and inattentive respondents.

  • Aligning questions to other research or business intelligence to gain deeper insights through cross-research analyses.

  • Adding in webcam video for critical open-ends. You get more detailed insights and video makes your reports more engaging.

  • Adding interactive activation workshops to make the most of your insights. Our own Jessica Tornek has a great post about how we do tracking workshops here.

Making the above changes doesn’t mean you lose trendability. While moving your tracker, we suggest starting with a longer pilot benchmark study that lets you test your new approaches (as an A/B test). Then you can see the impact on trends before you commit to changes.

By merging innovation with trendability, you can make your tracker more actionable and relevant. If you want to learn more, let us know how we can help. I’m at