If I tell you that communications make a significant contribution to brand equity and therefore to business success, that should sound like common sense. Yet, despite the well understood impact, there are still times when companies choose to make cuts to their advertising budgets, either because of internal or external financial pressure.
Unfortunately, evidence suggests that going dark for a significant period damages brand health, weakens the bond with consumers, and reduces market share. And once a decline sets in, it can prove hard to reverse. Research has shown that it’s better to treat advertising as an investment instead of a cost and that it’s better to maintain communications rather than try to rebuild your metrics after a period of dormancy.
So how does communication impact brand growth?
Our analysis shows that brand exposure is the greatest lever of brand growth. In other words, the capacity of a brand to build positive associations increases the number of people predisposed to buy — and in turn influences future sales. Great communications create memories in the minds of consumers that build and maintain the brand’s Meaningful Difference.
Our research also shows that quality of creative is the single greatest driver for brand exposure. This poses some important questions: are you investing enough time and budget to ensure that you have the most compelling content? Are you carefully considering the foundations of successful creative? For excellent communications, brands have a clear path forward:
- Start with a creative idea. The first step involves identifying the right organizing idea, the creative expression of brand positioning that can inspire your communications and be used consistently across executions and touchpoints for years.
- Use content to create lasting impressions in the long term. The key to doing this is to focus on delivering compelling creativity that leaves behind a strong impression about the brand, rather than agonising over a specific message to trigger an immediate sale. This means creating work that people notice and remember, often because of distinct or emotional content. And remember, great creative content doesn’t just drive sales in the long term, it works in the short term as well.
- Ensure that the content is linked to the brand. Your brand has to be present if your efforts are going to have a positive effect. This may sound like common sense, but it is so often missed that it must be mentioned. Even award-winning content often ignores the basics that make it work in the service of the brand.
Of course, even if you have the perfect creativity, the job isn’t done. You still need to realise its potential through the right media, optimising reach, frequency, and synergy.
That’s because the second most important driver for increasing brand exposure is reach. Reach is about making sure your creativity connects with as many potential customers as possible. We know that multimedia campaigns deliver higher ROI, so consider choosing the channels that will get you the most optimal exposure. Above all, you should select channels that truly reflect the habits of your target audience. Not because they are cool, or the latest thing that others have done, but because it helps maximise your opportunities to deliver your message.
Remember: 20% of touchpoints deliver 80% of the impact. Do you know which 20% of touchpoints have the biggest impact on your brand?
According to Media Reactions 2021, advertisers are less confident than ever that they are getting the mix of their online and offline media investments right. Fifty-one per cent of marketers say they are not confident they have the right media mix (up from 44% in 2019). And over half of advertisers (57%) are not confident they have optimised frequency.
So, how are we ensuring that we are putting the right share of spend to drive the right frequency, especially when all channels are seeing diminishing returns, including digital? Optimising frequency is a great way to distribute your spend more evenly across channels.
Strong content synergy across touchpoints significantly increases the effectiveness of campaigns, but to achieve that, formats need to be adapted to the media context. Are we consistently investing in building the same content experience across channels? Are we choosing touchpoints that work well together?
These are just some of the questions you need to consider to get the most out of your media investment and unlock growth. But the most important task is to stay focused and in the game even when times are tough.
Do you want to know more? Discover more Kantar BrandZ webpage.