The survey of over 125 leading clients and agencies in London, home to some of the top global agencies, revealed their attitudes towards branding and activation. The research identifies a ‘Brand Gap’ - the gap between what brands know about brand building and how they behave.
‘The Brand Gap’ shows that the balance of 60:40 for brand and activation as outlined in Binet and Field’s research, is proving difficult for brands and agencies to achieve, as short-term needs take precedence.
Probing the culture of short-term versus long-term thinking and posing the question of what the rise of the ‘digital media owner’ means for brands, The Brand Gap will spark ideas and conversations this year.
- The Brand Gap research identifies the top four media perceived as being ‘On the up’ as, DOOH (74%), Online Video (52%), VOD (46%), Social Media (43%), (figure 8 in the report).
- The Brand Gap asks, “How well-developed for your needs are the digital offers of the following media?” - OOH is top (80%) followed by TV (74%), Newsbrands (71%), Radio (50%), Cinema (49%) and Magazines (39%), (figure 7 in the report).
- Work Research finds that marketing theory is well known and understood, specifically the work of Bryon Sharp and Binet and Field. Despite this wish to achieve a balance of brand and response, activation channels continue to take more and more of the investment.
- Clients and agencies speak candidly about the problems of over-investing in response media at the expense of brand “I can’t think of a single brand that has grown via paid-for Online display.” and “We went too far too fast.” (advertisers).
- The Brand Gap asks why practitioners are not doing what they say they want to do. It finds the culture of short-termism is strong and pulls money out of brand and into response. “We know the rules, but it’s just not like that day to day.” and “60/40 is an ideal but the culture of short-termism is too strong.” (advertisers)
- The Brand Gap suggests that behavioural economics can partly explain this apparently, irrational behaviour. A heuristics effect creates a mental shortcut between sales response and Online channels. A ‘herding’ instinct makes certain channels more accepted as the norm. Confirmation bias leads people to ignore facts that don’t suit their existing views.
- The Brand Gap finds that the recent issues relating to brand safety and transparency have made only a small difference to spend (figure 6). Only 19% of those polled said their Online spend had been permanently affected, while 67% said their spend had already returned to normal levels and the remaining 14% said spend would return. Advertisers said: “the issues are being addressed” while agencies said: “The brand safety thing has cleansed the digital ecosystem.”