Brand marketing is a data-driven field. Without a way to measure your data, your strategies and messaging are futile. First, let's define the terms.
What is a brand?
David Ogilvy, the "Father of Advertising," defined a brand as "the intangible sum of a product's attributes."
The Dictionary of Brand defines a brand as "a person's perception of a product, service, experience, or organization."
And, finally, Wikipedia. "A brand is a name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller's good or service as distinct from those of other sellers."
What is a KPI?
Everyone loves a good acronym (especially in aerospace). KPI is an acronym for Key Performance Indicators - they are ways to evaluate an organization's given activity. The idea of a "brand" may often feel abstract - we just listed out three astonishingly different definitions for goodness sake - but with KPIs, it helps narrow the focus on your aerospace and defense industry brand, measure the effectiveness of your messaging, and create pathways to understanding and using the consumer's perception of your brand in future marketing strategies.
Sidebar: If you are looking for KPI examples of other non-branding related marketing strategies, read more here.
Ways to Measure Your Brand KPIs
Brand Perception Studies: Aerospace Marketing Lab Vice President, Lisa Sifuentes, encourages clients looking for brand growth to complete brand perception studies over time. "We typically recommend doing one initially - either before you modify or update the brand, or just after you launch the new one to get a baseline. Then, about a year later, because it takes time to stick, do another one to measure how you have moved the needle."
Brand Perception Studies can be done easily with customer interviews through phone calls, Google forms, or other online platforms such as SurveyMonkey. It goes without saying that as you interview different people on different parts of the customer journey, you will extract different answers.
So who should you interview?
- Long-Term Customers offer insight into who they are, why they are your customers, and why they are loyal.
- New Customers give you an understanding of how they found you and why they finally decided that you were the best option.
- Recently Lost Customers may be the most important people to contact so you can better understand why they no longer use your product or service.
- Not-Yet Customers. These people are more abstract, however think through your target audience demographics on who they are and where you can find them.
Net Promoter Score (NPS): While you are reaching out to customers, we would be remiss not to mention NPS. NPS is a popular form of measurement for your brand and customer service; it can tell you how eager a customer is to refer or promote your brand to other people. The Forbes Customer Experience Index showed that 49% of customers are willing to share their positive brand experiences on social media. With NPS, you can gauge overall brand health. By surveying how likely current customers are to recommend your brand, you can measure your NPS. Respondents who answer 9-10 are called promoters, 7-8 passives, and 0-6 detractors. Subtract the percentage of your detractors from the percentage of promoters, and you have your NPS.
Website Analytics: Your website is a literal gold mine of information that can help you build your brand, understand your audience, and measure your KPIs. Here are a handful of important things you can learn from your website:
- Overall Website Performance. The number of times that people have typed in your exact name or brand via search engines and clicked through to your website. When your brand reputation is growing and generating word-of-mouth, you may see an effect on your brand's number of online searches. You can measure search volume and brand keyword CTR through Google Search Console. An additional complementary metric that measures the brand effect would be direct traffic in Google Analytics.
- Audience Information. This intelligence tells you where your website visitors are located and what pages on your site were of most interest. The information you gain by understanding and leveraging these reports can help guide where you should be spending your marketing dollars to receive the best return on investment. For example, if you have an outside source that is driving traffic to your website and produces high engagement metrics, that source may be worth exploring further to see how you can leverage it for more website traffic. Or, if you are investing quite a bit of time and effort in a branding campaign and it isn't yielding website traffic or conversions, then it's clear that corrective actions are needed.
- Website SEO and Authority. Here you learn what organic keywords your website is ranking for and which ones generate the most traffic to your site. This information can help you determine the value of your website for your audience. Aled Nelmes of Diploma MSc says. "The one KPI for me that provides the most accurate insight into the overall health, power, and success of our brand is Bounce Rate. It's not one I imagine every marketer would first think of, but for me, it encapsulates the initial psychological and emotional response to a brand… are they going to spend their time here or not." Particularly, if website traffic numbers are high but you have a meager pages-per-session average, a low average visit duration and a high bounce rate, then you can assume that users are initially interested in your brand, but the content ultimately did not fulfill their needs. Therefore it may be time to re-evaluate the alignment between your current website content and your brand.
- Website Performance & Marketing Correlation. Urchin Tracking Module, or UTM, codes are an easy and straightforward way to gauge your marketing campaigns. According to Bruce Hogan of SoftwarePundit, "The one KPI that provides the most accurate insight into a company's brand is branded search volume - when users are searching specifically for you.
Share of Voice. According to Sprout Social, SOV refers to "your visibility, and how much your brand dominates the conversation." It's a great metric for measuring brand perception and awareness, giving marketers a sense of how your brand compares with competitors. Here are three important ways to measure SOV:
- Search positions across a representative batch of keywords (plus their search volumes) to understand reach in SEO and discover their brand's likelihood against their competitors. For more information, please review Section #1 under Website Analytics above.
- Engagement is as much about tone as it is about data. Is your target audience engaging with your brand online? Are they sharing, commenting, retweeting, liking? Are they talking about your brand on other platforms? Who is engaging and why are they engaging is a treasure trove of information about your audience.
- Views and visits from paid media on digital channels (AdWords, social media ads, video ads, etc.).
Keep in mind that no engagement is also very telling.
As marketers in the aviation, aerospace, and defense industry already know — time and money are hard to come by (especially this year). We need to use what we have as efficiently as possible. This fact is why we wrote this blog: By not measuring your brand or "a person's perception of [your] product, service, experience, or organization," marketers miss out on the essential knowledge of their brand reputation and precisely what it is that makes consumers choose one aerospace and defense brand over others. And further, they miss out on leveraging the KPI data into profit-making branding strategy. Don't miss out.
About Aerospace Marketing Lab
Aerospace Marketing Lab brings more than 20 years of complex aerospace marketing, sales, branding, and strategy development experience and insight to every customer. We understand aerospace’s complex marketing and sales models. We use this insider knowledge to break boundaries and raise aerospace and defense clients to the next level.