It feels like you just can’t win with brand health tracker surveys.

If you keep the design constant from one period to the next, not much changes so the users get bored and see no value in the study. It’s a bit like watching the fuel gauge in your car – the changes are very small and really slow and it’s not especially interesting or informative.

If you do make design changes from one period to the next in a bid to keep the attention and interest of the users, then the damn thing doesn’t track any more. You can never know for sure whether the shifts that you are seeing are a consequence of your design changes or a reflection of actual shifts occurring in the market place.

Sooner or later most brand health trackers bite the dust for the reasons cited. Over 3 decades we have noticed that the average life span of the annual brand health tracker is 8 years. Is it just coincidence that the average duration of marriages that end in divorce is 8 years? You decide.

Tracker surveys are just your annual physical health check-up. Most times everything is fine and you wonder why you bother, but the year you get a nasty shock but with the chance of getting treatment before it’s too late, is the year you commit yourself to an annual health check-up until the day you die.

You need to apply the same logic to the health of your brand and learn to regard the annual brand health tracker as a vital tool for identifying brand problems before they become too destructive. Tracking requires patience – a cool head and a steady hand. You must resist the urge to meddle in the design to appoint where “trackability” is lost.