Digital ad spending is forecasted at $129B this year and will make up 54 percent of U.S. ad spending, according to the eMarketer Feb 2019 Digital Ad Spend Report. But while most companies are spending more than half of their advertising dollars in the digital space, they are still paying for traditional research to track their reputation.
In order to match this 54/46 mix of ad spend, you should be quantifying the traditional elements of reputation – awareness, familiarity, favorability, and advocacy – based on digital media metrics, since stakeholders engaged on digital channels is where you should expect changes to your reputation.
For example, traditional methods like surveys and questions could be augmented with digital KPIs that are able to be measured easily, instantly and accurately, such as:
- Search volume – the quantity of searches that occur for a particular keyword or term
- Search Engine Results Pages – the pages displayed by Google in response to a search query
- Social conversations – the discussions people are having on social media channels and feeds
Each of these metrics should be tied back to your organization’s levels of awareness, familiarity and favorability, which based on traditional research, directly correlate to trust and advocacy levels of consumers and stakeholders. Take a deeper look at how these metrics correlate to brand reputation.
1. Measuring Brand Awareness
With 30,000 new consumer products launched annually, it can be incredibly difficult to make your brand’s name, not just known, but positively regarded. In today’s saturated marketplace where the buyer holds the power, smart brands are moving beyond traditional advertising, to more creative outlets to generate awareness and buzz.
Content, influencer marketing and strategic partnerships are just a few examples. These tactics let brands connect with consumers on a human level to build trust, before hitting them with hard sell.
What’s even better is that these tactics can be measured through the KPIs mentioned above, with special attention paid to the keywords and phrases that are being searched for and mentioned.
To measure brand awareness on these digital channels, you’ll want to look at:
- The search volume of your brand’s name or primary offering
- The Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) generated for your content
- Social conversations that mention you brand
2. Measuring Brand Familiarity
Moving beyond the standard tracking metrics of awareness, familiarity now becomes important to determine whether people are “aware” of, and associating your brand with, the right things.
You want your consumers and stakeholders to be familiar with what your product or service is, as well as with the value propositions that make your offering different and better than competing ones. Depending on your industry and the characteristics of your target market, factors like sustainability, core values, political stance, safety, regulations and financial stability, among others, may be the differentiators that you want associated with your brand.
To assess brand familiarity, you can use the same KPIs, yet measure them based on:
- The search volume of your brand accompanied by a differentiating factor
- The SERPs generated for your content about a specific feature or attribute
- Social conversations that mention something specific about your brand
Take the dichotomy of Target and Walmart, for example. Both have successfully amassed awareness for offering consumer goods yet have different familiarity factors. People associate Target with a friendly, trendy and pleasing shopping experience, while Walmart is known primarily for low prices. Other critical questions to ask yourself might be how familiar consumers are with your corporate social responsibility work or your products and offerings versus those of a competitor.
3. Measuring Brand Favorability
If you’ve achieved familiarity, then your consumers are successfully associating your brand with certain products, services and or value propositions. The next step is to have your consumers not just associate your brand with these factors, but regard your brand as the authority on them. Each industry has specific “drivers” or factors that comprise what their niche is all about.
In the Travel & Tourism industry for example, there are 11 driver categories (e.g., Shopping & Retail; Accommodations & Hotels; Culture Arts & Heritage; and Food & Drink), which would be analyzed as part of a traditional brand research project. Understanding your company-specific or overall industry’s drivers is invaluable to strategic and long-term planning about your organization’s direction, and to marketing and sales.
The goal is for your organization to be the authority with the highest volume of content across the top industry drivers. To take it even one step further though, in addition to having the highest volume of content, you also want to measure the quality of the content and interactions people are having around your brand to gain an understanding of the sentiment that follows your brand.
The way to assess your brand’s favorability (and subsequent authority) per driver is by using the KPIs to measure:
- If the SERPs around a driver are dominated by your brand’s content
- If your brand dominates social conversations around a specific driver
- If social conversations are written with a positive emotional tone
Turning Your Measurements into Advocacy and Action
The combination of brand awareness, familiarity and favorability results in trust, which in turn, creates advocates of your brand. Brand advocates are people who pass positive word-of-mouth messages about a brand or product to others. By doing so, these advocates actually generate even more awareness, familiarity and favorability about a brand, thereby, building its trust factor. It’s a circular pattern that can launch any brand to the top – but can also, plummet any brand to the bottom.
According to Nielsen, 92% of people trust recommendations from friends and family over any other type of advertising, demonstrating why it’s so important to create and maintain brand advocates by focusing on growing your awareness, familiarity and favorability measurements.
Look out for our next blog where we’ll dive deeper into the drivers of specific industries, giving you a framework for where to focus your organization’s consumer experience efforts and marketing dollars. You can also check out our TRAVELVIEW report, which provides an example of how you can use digital to track these measures. To learn more, follow us and view our Insights page to learn more.