LONDON: Measuring share of brand experience (SOE) is a better metric than share of voice (SOV) for assessing customer contact with brands, two industry figures have argued.

Writing in the current issue of Admap, Fiona Blades and Ralph McDevitt of MESH, an experience-focused research agency, point out that SOV, while important, only measures what marketers push out and aids understanding of brand promotion in relation to competitors.

"It doesn't measure what people actually pick up," they say. "And it only includes paid media, such as TV advertising and outdoor. It doesn't cover earned, owned and environmental media."

They suggest that share of experience – the percentage of total brand experiences that a brand has in relation to the total market – is a more powerful metric, especially since technology now enables real-time reporting of brands engagements by consumers.

The authors highlight the fact that paid advertising represents only a part of the total brand experience – "as little as 26% in some cases … [meaning] up to 74% of people's experience of brands is lost when focusing only on paid media".

The proportion will differ by category, but "it is rare for paid experiences to represent over 60% of people's experiences with brands".

Accordingly, Blades and McDevitt posit a stronger correlation between SOE and market share/sales than SOV and market share/sales.

Further, they suggest that "to grow your brand, you should ensure that you generate an SOE that is in excess of your market share".

And since SOE can be broken down by different channels, including owned, earned and environmental, marketers are better equipped to know which channels to invest in to maximise investment.

For example, MESH's research has shown that, on some occasions, retailer advertising of a manufacturer's brand through a TV ad has been more positive and persuasive than the manufacturer's own TV ad. "But which marketers consider how to leverage their retail partners in brand building?" they ask.

"If, as marketers, we can draw a pie chart of where we are spending our investment but we can't draw one of how people are picking up our brand experiences, we need to change our perspective," they conclude.

Data sourced from Admap