Key brand communication principles have not changed

Les Binet and Peter Field’s latest report Media in Focus: Marketing Effectiveness in the Digital Era follows up on their previous release "The Long and the Short of it" and explores whether the rules for marketing effectiveness are consistent with previous findings, amid suggestions that in today’s digital era they are out-of-date. The new data contains a greater number of digital and social media integrated campaigns however, the driving principles of Binet and Field’s previous findings still hold true. The foremost of these principles is the optimum balance required between brand building and sales activation brand communications.
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Shift to activation has led to slower growth

Brand building communications prime consumers emotionally, creating mental brand equity over the long-term with the aim of influencing future sales. Conversely, sales activation communications exploit this mental brand equity with tightly targeted, persuasive messages aimed at delivering an immediate sales uplift. Brand building and activation work in synergy however, in the long run, it is brand building that drives continued profit growth. The optimal balance between the two remains at 60:40, in favour of brand building.
In recent years, there has been a surge in campaigns weighted towards activation. The series of interrelated factors that have contributed to reduced *campaign effectiveness:
  • Rational messaging taking precedence over emotional messaging
  • Increase in short-termism
  • A focus on ROMI (Return on Marketing Investment) as an efficiency metric

These trends all reinforce one another and lead to inefficient and underfunded communications strategies, bringing slower growth and smaller profits.

Mass marketing is pre-requisite for long term growth

Although media and ad consumption has changed in the digital era, the predicted steep decline of TV and other mass media has not happened. TV and OOH still offer the broadest reach -  a crucial factor for campaign effectiveness.
In the long term, campaigns which aim at acquisition are proven to be more effective for profit and brand growth than those which target existing customers. For acquisition, share of voice is critical and the larger the reach, the more effective a medium is at driving profit and growth.
In addition, evidence points to a natural synergy between traditional and digital media, with digital amplifying the effects of traditional.
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OOH significantly boosts business effects

The updated data reaffirms OOH’s key role within the media mix. By using OOH, the increase in the average number of *very large business effects went up from 14% in the 1998-2012 sample to 27% in the 2014-2016 sample. The effects of adding Digital Out-of-Home (DOOH) were even more pronounced, moving from a 15% increase to 37%.
Overall, OOH helps build long-term brand equity by driving top-of-mind brand awareness. But it can also boost short-term sales through activation, especially when combined with proximity placement.

In this digital era when consumers are relentlessly bombarded with information, brands play an influential role. Although the media landscape has shifted, the mass marketing model with OOH’s and TV’s broad reach, is still crucial.
OOH long-term communication strategies drive top-of-mind status and develop long-term emotional relationships between brands and consumers. Incorporating the medium as part of a 60:40 brand building/activation model and maintaining a healthy marketing budget with a long-term focus will help brands to maximise campaign effectiveness and in turn profits.