Brandish Insights: Using Brand Analytics to Understand and Grow Your Business

guest: Josh Braaten, CEO & Co-Founder

Today on fjorgecast, Tim is joined by Josh Braaten of Brandish Insights, a trailblazing agency that created the world’s first brand analytics platform. Brandish Insights gives agencies new tools to deal with the changing marketing landscape – they can call upon new, unique, brand-related KPIs to drive business decisions. Moreover, Josh and Tim discuss the P&G marketing ultimatum and brand measurement.

Episode Transcript

Tim: Thanks for joining us on fjorgecast. I’m Tim Barsness of web and mobile development team fjorge and today on our show, we’re talking with Josh Braaten about his brand analytics platform, Brandish Insights. Welcome to the show, Josh.


Josh: Thanks for having me, Tim.


Tim:  Yes. We’re happy to have you. Can you tell us a little bit about Brandish Insights?


Josh: Yes, absolutely. We are the world’s first brand analytics platform and we ask real consumers about what they think about your brand and roll them up into very convenient and easy to understand dashboards. We are like Google Analytics for your brand.


Tim: You’re a co-founder of the group, right?


Josh: That’s right. Yes, I’ve got the technical co-founder, and I’m basically run the sales marketing and product ads.


Tim: Okay, cool. How did you come to found Brandish Insights?


Josh: I’ve been a long time lover of both analytics and the brand sides of marketing and so, I got to see that there were a lot of different ways to measure many different things about marketing, but nothing on the brand side. As consumer platform, survey platforms, and other market research platforms have made it easier to do that sort of thing at scale, we saw there was a unique opportunity to be the world’s first brand analytics platform.


Tim: Your platform, is it a dashboard for your brand? Is that the idea?


Josh: Yes, absolutely. Were introducing new metrics like awareness, frequency, familiarity, demand, purchase intent, things that you might have done at an ad by ad level back in the day, but we’re doing that across the whole board and a brand level in this new modern age.


Tim: Very cool. Before we get too much into the platform, I wanted to first talk a little bit about Josh. I’m curious, what about your background qualified you to build a brand analytics platform?


Josh: Yes, absolutely. I have a hodgepodge background that I like to think comes together pretty nicely after a while. I started off as revenue cycle consultant. The Accenture type agencies that would go in and look at how processes were done at hospitals and make sure that they could get paid by insurance companies and keep their doors open, things like that. Really process oriented, finance-oriented, that type of thing. Left [inaudible 00:02:32] for a couple of years, enjoyed it, then I got into IT and got an understanding for how things were built and how processes flowed and things like that.

Then finally landed in marketing and I’ve just gone deep there over the last 10 years, really enjoyed it. Across that journey, saw that some of the things that we try to affect in our businesses are harder than others because we can’t measure them as easily as other things. I think brand is a huge, huge, huge asset that a lot of folks can’t measure effectively, and when they can, or if they can, then it can help them move much more quickly as a company and create much more value for their customers and grow all those good things.


Tim: What is it about brand analytics that makes you get out of bed every morning?


Josh: I think one of the biggest things is that marketing has slowly become responsible for more and more within the organization. About 10 years ago, there was the whole CIO, CMO wars. Many say that the CMOs won that. About five years ago, CX customers experience was this term that came about to allow marketing to be more responsible of customer experience and operations and product and now, it’s like– there’s finance has the per strings. There’s a bunch of folks that we serve in the organization but ultimately people are coming to marketing and saying, “Please help us transform digitally, please help us do this.” And marketers needed help. That’s where, I think, is worth getting out of bed and help them with new tools.


Tim: What is it about marketing that has made them a central or key part of the organization? What has caused that shift?


Josh: It’s this de-marketization of information. It’s the social wave that has made consumers more empowered and makes the difference between market leaders and old trends overnight. Whereas those trends used to take years and years and years to unfold and once you had a market cornered, it was very unlikely that you would lose that share to a competitor.


Tim: Sure. The transformation marketwide, has lead to the necessity of increased marketing effort. Is that what you’re saying?


Josh: Yes, I think so. If you’re not sitting there with your ear to the ground everyday on how the winds might be changing, then you’ll get behind very quickly and get out of touch with your consumers and they are going to move on because they have a infinitesimally or a very, very small attention span these days.


Tim: Totally. What size brand is a good fit for a brand analytics platform?


Josh: It all starts with awareness. I think if you’re not even on the radar in a particular market as a consumer brand, then you’re probably, I don’t know, you probably have to be somewhere between 50 and 100% company or a really big presence within a market to start moving that needle. I’d say between five and 10% awareness is usually when brand start to benefit from other things like knowing what purchase intent and preference are, and things like that.


Tim: Got it, very cool. If I log in to my brand analytics platform, what does it look like?


Josh: It looks like your life is a lot easier. That’s the first thing that you’ll notice because you’ll have new key performance indicators. You’ll, first, have something that looks a little bit like Google analytics. It’s reminiscent of that, but it’s very polished, it’s very easy to understand, and intuitive. Our goal is to make it that this new metrics are, number one, easy to understand so that if we tell you that awareness is really high, you understand what to do with that.

The other thing is that we want it to be very easy to understand so that if you’re sitting there in a room with a CEO, and you’re sitting there in a room with somebody in customer support, that you can point very innocently at, “Hey, awareness is really high, but favorability of our product is very, very low. Maybe we shouldn’t be putting more money into advertising, maybe we should be putting more money into customer support or helping our product.” And then the CEO can make much easier decisions about how to move the money around internally and win the game. So to speak.


Tim: If I log into, you mentioned Google Analytics, if I log in to Google Analytics, I can get a day-to-day view of how my digital property is performing.


Josh: Yes


Tim: On the brand analytics side, what is the timeline where information becomes relevant?


Josh: Yes, websites move very very quickly. Brands move oftentimes much much more slowly and so, unless there’s some big public media event where somebody puts their foot in their mouth, brands typically change closer to a month-by-month or a quarter-by-quarter basis. That’s typically where we recommend taking our snapshots. It’s at that level.


Tim: Got it. So month-to-month, maybe quarter-to-quarter even.


Josh: Yes, and the goal is not necessarily to pull up your dashboards just to see what happened overnight. It’s more to understand where you’re at, put a plan together to affect that so, not just at a campaign level but if you’re entire customer service area is in need of help, you’re going to need a month or a quarter to fix that and then once those things are in place, then come back and take another snapshot. Oftentimes it’s a month, sometimes a quarter, and yes. A little bit longer than your day-to-day or real time which is where the trend is going in a lot of cases with analytics.


Tim: I’m always curious when I think about how to apply something. I like to know how it works. What are some key data points in brand analytics?


Josh: Yes. We think that ultimately, it’s about spanning the gap between the consumer’s emotions and their pocketbook. That’s why we’ve created this six metric line that spans the gap between those two points. With awareness, frequency, familiarity, favorability, preference, and demand, we can dig into each one of those and show you how you’re progressing across that journey. Right? At first, nobody knows about you, so you need awareness and frequency, then once your name starts getting out there, you need to have a clear message, that familiarity increases and favorability increases.

Finally, when it comes time to purchase, you want to have people prefer your brand and then actually demand your brand by taking their wallets out and purchasing from your brand. Looking at those three main phases of just understanding who you are or knowing who you are, understanding who you are and then deciding to purchase from you, that’s some the main value that people get from looking at things with brand measurement in mind.


Tim: You then take each of those three, knowing, understanding, and purchasing, and break them down into more fundamental things which can be tracked?


Josh: Yes, absolutely. Beyond that, we have some other helper reports. For example, we show folks how awareness is trending, not only for their brand, but for the competitors too. We were just dealing with a really well-known restaurant delivery service and we determined that their brand was the number one brand in a market in terms of awareness. They were also, by far, the number one brand in terms of preference and so we said, “Hey, for the next quarter, why don’t you push the message? You’re the market leader, you can push the category message of restaurant delivery.”

Why don’t you say, “We are the number one preferred restaurant delivery service in this market”? That can be your tagline because you can push a preference message and then push at a category level. Just really tactical and strategic things coming together with these metrics at supporting them.


Tim: Sure. Let’s get into Brandish Insights platform. What is it about your platform that sets you apart?


Josh: Nothing like this exists yet. There’s a lot of proxies, there’s sentiment analysis in social media, there’s new tools that can show brand awareness and purchase intent lift on an ad by ad basis, like Google came out with something like that about six months ago, Facebook announced something like this about two weeks ago. As far as, at a brand level, your entire brand, I’m really not sure of any option other than spending a bunch of money with Nielsen or one of those big brand market research companies that will cost you tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars, there nothing for medium-sized brands. There’s nothing for larger small businesses. There’s nothing that exists for them to get that same benefit right now.


Tim: Got it. I heard you say that nothing like this exists yet, how does it feel as an entrepreneur to be creating or pioneering a category, especially from the tech side?


Josh: It is both exciting and terrifying because I hear half the people I tell, say, “This is brand new, this is so exciting.” And another half of people say, “This is brand new, [inaudible 00:12:22].” There, I just have to run the feedback I’m getting, this feeling in my gut, reading things on Adweek and other advertising and branding trade pubs that validate that we’re onto the right thing.


Tim: Yes, you have to make sure that there’s a need. I’m sure you’re always sensitive to, is there a feedback from one of the buyer?


Josh: Yes, absolutely. Earlier this year, I don’t know that I would have been so confident or been on a podcast but we had a really successful alpha phase. About a month ago, I actually left my full-time job to really pursue Brandish Insights because of the feedback that we’ve been getting about what we’ve done with the product so far and how the tool has helped our alpha customers just completely change the way that marketing is seen and what they can do within companies. It’s been very encouraging.


Tim: Could you say there are companies launching competitive products?


Josh: I don’t know of very many. There’s a couple of companies that are in the same vein, but I think there’s still quite a bit different. For example, there was a company that Nielsen purchased about, I don’t know, 10 years ago now, called Vizu. I think they’re now, Digital Brand Effect. They did something similar, they have a similar methodology for what we do but it’s different enough and they’re also [chuckles] a fair bit of amount more expensive than what we are. Because they’re Nielsen, right? They could totally charge that.


Tim: Totally. Yes. You mentioned that brands tend to move very slowly, I think that might be the nature of what a brand is, but I’m wondering, what things can you do to increase the [crosstalk] perceive a brand?


Josh: Yes, that’s where I think there’s two paths, right? There’s the good path and the bad path. First of all, let’s talk about and acknowledge the bad path. This is where brands overreach, maybe their ad show up in highly contentious or what they would call, “brand unsafe”, advertising scenarios. Maybe they try to take advantage of an event in the mainstream consciousness that is maybe a tragedy and they do it in a way that– actually, these days consumers are pretty wary of anybody latching onto any tragedy, whether it’s even to say condolences or not. That’s the bad path.

Then the good path is really understanding, number one, what your brand is, who it’s for, and looking for ways to amplify that connection with your consumers in authentic ways.


Tim: Got it. The first approach, it almost sounds like you’re saying, you’re willing to take on brand risk with the hope of stepping on the gas, and the second one you’re saying, if you’re true to who your core is, who your target is, focus your energy that way that it will happen.


Josh: Yes, I think so. That’s a good way of saying it. Yes, because this comes from the same thing, right? Whether you’re trying to take advantage of something that’s happening in the moment or whether you’re just trying to prove that same thing about yourself over time to your consumers, it stems from the same values, I think, hopefully.


Tim: Totally. Can I use your platform? [crosstalk].


Josh: Yes, absolutely. That’s one of our first use cases because most brands, when we measure them for the first time, it’s just awareness. There’s been such a push, especially in the digital advertising space, that if it’s not converting at three to one, in terms of lifetime value to cost of acquisition, then it’s worthless advertising and so you have so many brands that are looking to put $50,000 into a Content Initiative. They saw what Red Bull did by dropping Amana out of space and want to do something like that but the gap between an experiment and a spaceship is– [laughs] that’s a lot of budget, right?

Yes, needing to justify budget for some of these bigger moonshot brand awareness ideas, we’re desperate for that right now because we live in a direct response world and everybody’s desperately trying to figure out a different measurement model to give us the permission to really just honor our customers and give them amazing experiences that cost a lot of money. I’d rather have that on building an asset for my company than dumping it into advertise month after month.


Tim: Yes. Are there any other metrics that brand measurement [crosstalk] aware of?


Josh: Yes, I’ve mentioned the KPIs throughout the podcast a little bit here but it’s awareness, frequency, familiarity, favorability, preference, and demand. Those are the KPIs that will become commonplace five years from now. Back in the early 2000s, everybody was looking at a website and saying, “How many hits do you get?” Then folks like [inaudible 00:17:36] came along and said, “It’s not a hit, let’s measure it a different way and call it a session, and then if you have so many visits per session you know the conversion rate.”

That was how Google Analytics was born, and the whole digital marketing revolution was born with the ability to summarize things and tie disparate things into a metric and then watch that trend. I think those six that I mentioned, they’re probably going to become five that we all embrace.


Tim: You see a lot of analytics, advanced analytics, in sports these days. Can you compare what you guys are doing to what’s going on in the sports world or if you have a favorite sport?


Josh: I do have a favorite sport. It is football. I like the Vikings until they start losing every year, and then I tuned out. I think we might be at that point, [laughs] sad. What I see in the whole sports marketing world, is this idea of machine learning. It’s started with the Moneyball movie a couple years ago, about looking at all the stats and then letting machines crunch and stat, math people crunch all of that and then investing in what the models tell you to invest in. I think we’re looking at some of the same things.

The different brand metrics, they have unique permutations. A brand with high awareness and low favorability, they’re a player brand where it’s like people know who you are and they don’t like you. So you just shouldn’t spend any money in advertising until you figure out what’s going on.


Tim: We don’t need to name any player names there but I think that we might know [crosstalk]. [laughs]


Josh: No, we won’t. Yes, and there are plenty out there, too bad. It’s not marketing’s fault, it’s just not. If they would just put money, like big chunks of money that they’re already dumping into advertising already, if they put that someplace else, they would be the market leader overnight almost or over a quarters period if they really cleaned up their act. The best brands already know this. They’re going to use our tools and be like, “This is cool, this put words to what we’ve always known really.”


Tim: Definitely. Do you see any trends among mid-size brands as to where – which of their KPIs they have [crosstalk]?


Josh: Yes, it’s absolutely in the awareness and the familiarity areas. Most startups and new companies, they, number one, are afraid to spend money on awareness because it doesn’t pay off right away, and I think that’s fair. You do need to have a good converting funnel so to speak. If you sent people to your website, it should be worth it over time. People should buy from you so focus on that but then think quickly go out into that awareness space. The other is familiarity. This is an area where if people had money, they would invest in working with a Madison Avenue Creative Agency right away.

They would get one tagline, they would get one value prop and they would use that everywhere and you would be the next Coca-Cola. Right? Because everybody knows what Coca-Cola is because they’re very consistent with what they do. Most startups don’t have that. You put a landing page together, you put a website together, most small brands or medium brands have that too, where you’ve got a million things in market and familiarity can get really low because people don’t really know what you do over time.


Tim: Very true. Let’s get into some real-world examples. We have a couple of new stories today. Our first, I guess, both are from your blog, but the first is titled, “Branding royalty fires more shots at Facebook and Google.” Josh, what is your take on the Procter and Gamble ultimate of the [crosstalk]?


Josh: Yes, this one’s on my blog but really I’m just doing a response to an Adweek piece by a woman named Lauren Johnson. She’s been following this fight that Procter and Gamble, Unilever, and other brands have been having with Google and Facebook since back in Q1. Their ads start showing up on Breitbart and other OutRight and websites that they just didn’t want them to be on consumers backlash and so they pulled their money.

The reality is everybody lost. The CPG brands and the retail brands that pulled back, they lost. Google and Facebook lost because they lost advertising revenue and so finally, Q2, it seems like they’re making up a little bit but they’re still some things that these big CMOs are holding over Google and Facebook’s heads to solve. Some of it is a bit unfair. Fairly too because I don’t necessarily think that advertising platforms are going to solve all the problems that Mark Pritchard and Keith Reed and others are describing.


Tim: What do you think we need to do to get platforms and to get advertisers [crosstalk]?


Josh: I think part of it is just acknowledging how much advertising platforms can really do. If you looked at how much time most people invest in advertising, it’s as if those are the– that’s the part of the brand that consumers engage with most. In reality, that’s just not the case. Consumers, in this day and age, have developed so many different ways to get out of advertising, that I think these bigger brands are putting way too much pressure on the ad platforms to measure the efficacy of their entire business practices.

That’s where I think, number one, is just acknowledging ad platforms can’t do everything. Especially in the areas of measurement, I think we need to start looking at ways to measure not just ad by ad or page by page, but all of the collective efforts of our brand in a month or a quarter. How did that do? Do people like us? Do people care about us? Do they want to do business with us? Let’s start answering those questions at a broader level before we have another conversation about multi-click attribution or media mix models because nobody understands. Nobody understands those anyways.


Tim: Definitely. [laughs] Right, exactly. All right, our second article today, also by Josh, titled, “Should marketers be freaking out about these brand measurement trends?” [crosstalk].


Josh: Yes. I think part of it is the idea that we have a lot more of these abilities to measure consumer reactions and insights. Some of the trends that I’m looking at are associated with softwares like or, which stands for Ask Your Target Market. Or even really esoteric usability tools like Optimal Workshop where you can do things like card sorting exercises with real live humans to help you build the perfect website navigation and things like that.

These trends are all in support of marketers who want to develop the perfect consumer journey and until recently, haven’t had any support. All the money is in advertising, [chuckles] or it has been traditionally, and so you get a million different ad tech platforms out there. You get a million different advertising solutions that were born on the backs of ad platforms, like Google Analytics was only turned into Google Analytics because of Google AdWords. right? Now you’ve got all these cool one off and increasingly great tools that help people measure things at a broader level than just advertising.


Tim: Right. Totally. I’m curious, a lot of the tools that you called out are about getting information. Is quality information the marketer’s holy grail? Is that what they need to [crosstalk] customer experience?


Josh: Absolutely. Think about– are you a follower of Mad Men? Have you seen that series? Okay, great. A lot of us have, and even those of us who haven’t.


Tim: Definitely.


Josh: Everybody pictures that classic moment where there’s one advertiser or a marketer just pitching this scene. It’s like Sally goes home every dinner or every day and goes to the fridge and unlocks a Coca-Cola or takes a Coca-Cola and enjoys it and this is Sally’s special moment or whatever. That’s some ad campaign pitch and it’s based on this single insight about how people love a certain brand. I think we’re desperate for those insights because those are the things that great brands are built on. These moments that we have with our consumers and what we mean to them in those moments. That’s what this is all about really.


Tim: Totally. We’re out of time. That’s it for today on fjorgecast.


Josh: Thank you so much for having me Tim. I appreciate it.


Tim: Thanks for joining us on the show today Josh. Absolutely. You can find Brandish Insights at You can also text Brandish to 44222 for 24/7 free brand awareness strategies. Thank you to the listeners for joining us. You can download episodes of the program by going to or subscribing to the show on iTunes or SoundCloud.

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