Section4 Perceptions on Brand Vision

Each year we close our survey with a more open ended question to understand a subject that is difficult to quantify or ask directly. In 2020, we asked about the drone industry’s promise for future growth.

For 2021, we decided to focus more specifically on thought leadership in the space. This was a critical question to add, as we’ve seen DJI continue to dominate the market, but fade away into the background while newer firms like Skydio and Auterion gain a larger voice. This is particularly timely when considering the recent departure of Brendan Schulman and silent cancellation of their AirWorks annual drone conference.

Put together, there is a large gap in the market for new voices, and we were excited to ask survey respondents about whose vision was the most attractive. We asked specifically, “which company, brand or other industry leader do you feel has the best vision for the drone industry’s future?” and let respondents write in one or several names.

To show this unstructured data, instead of using a bar chart or another visualization, we chose to represent answers as an interactive word cloud. Hovering over a specific word will tell you how many times that word was entered. This question was asked to every survey respondent, but was not required and could be skipped. Despite this, 1,785 (96%) of our respondents decided to answer this question. Keep this number in mind when trying to understand the proportion of respondents that entered any individual name.

From this data, you can see that DJI was written in by 55% of all survey respondents. It is remarkable that this almost exactly matches the proportion of drone buyers that purchased a DJI drone (see Figure 3.1). Beyond DJI, Skydio has an outsized share of brand perception, ranking above Autel despite having a lower market share. Sony just raises above the noise, despite having a product that has yet to hit the market.