I was asked a very good question today – “How do we quantify digital branding activities, and what metrics do we use to measure them?” This has sparked an explanation about the difference between sales, marketing & branding. To measure, we must understand some basics.
Theoretically, here’s how I’d explain the three:
- Sales – The activity of selling. Very straight forward.
- Marketing – The activity of influencing. To buy a product or service.
- Branding – The activity of influencing perception. Towards a product or service.
They are all “ancillary” or “support” activities that will agitate the purchase of goods and/or services. That’s the key goal in any business.
If we think about branding as an activity where it influences perception, the idea of quantifying digital branding activities shouldn’t vary much from how you measure offline ones. In fact, “branding” shouldn’t have a variation at all when it comes to communicating it online or offline. The only difference here is the platform. But that’s not our case for now.
Let’s take an example. What comes into your mind immediately when you think warehouse computer equipment sales?
PC Fair. Pikom PC fair. Other random PC fairs. Still, a PC fair. What other notable things you can think of in Malaysia? (Heh, pun intended)
To get an accurate measure of why I, and possibly another million or two other people in Malaysia think this way, you’d probably have to run a survey. Or a contest that asks you simple questions about a brand. If 8 out of 10 people answered correctly, then you know your communications campaign(s) worked.
You may be thinking “Reach” rather than “Branding”
If you’re running a campaign, Googled and reach this page, you’ll definitely be disappointed. If you’re thinking plainly about # of followers or # of Facebook comments then you’re completely thinking in a different zone. And you’ve reached the wrong post. Sorry!
You can now click on the back button and return to your Google search.
Oh, you’re still here. OK.
Measuring Effectiveness of Branding Campaigns
Because there is no set rule or defined standard answer to the “quantifying” digital branding activities metrics, you should first think what you’re trying to measure and try to match that metric with your business case. For example:
- Goal: Increase alcohol sales in Langkawi
- Current branding: Known for its nature’s charm, rich historical cultures & eco-tourism
- Objective: Get those young crazy dudes to know Langkawi is the next big thing for drinking tourism and not eco-tourism because alcohol is cheap and the place is an awesome dance party location
- Target market: Youngsters who want to party hard and willing to get drunk through alcohol consumption
- Strategy: Promote drinking tourism to youngsters through parties, events & other legal outdoor gatherings
- You’re campaigning to promote Langkawi as a drink drank drunk zone for youngsters. Your tracking will include:
- Google Alerts with your standard comms message
- To track those who write about Langkawi in blogs & social networks that matches any keyword related to “alcohol”
- To track mainstream and alternative media about “drink drank drunk” on your campaign name / keywords
- And a billion other things
- And those metrics will translate into confirming that you’ve satisfied your business’s need(s) through your campaign:
- Langkawi’s alcohol sales has increased
- Langkawi records more young visitors coming in
- The two above are tracked using your other mechanisms which I won’t bother explaining (because you got it already)
Phew. Glad you got the picture. Not sure what you’ve just read? Well, start from #1 again. Read through #7 and repeat if necessary.
Whatever you’re tracking, be sure that you’re aligned with the business’s goals & intended achievements. In that way, data reported will start to make sense. If not, scrap and start over from “Now… what am I doing again?”