Alignment is a key concept in brand building. Marketers invest considerable time, energy and budget to develop a consistent experience across brand touchpoints. The idea is simple. It’s about ensuring every encounter with a brand works toward a common brand positioning goal. But many brands may not be factoring this into their paid media decision-making.
The most powerful alignment is around emotion – the tonality expressed by a brand in a touchpoint. For example, if we take the successful global brand Red Bull, the dynamic, stimulating vibe inherent in the brand is evident in every brand touchpoint – from the symbols and colors in its logo, its packaging, and the product itself, through to its famous campaign ‘Red Bull gives you wings’.
Such alignment makes sense. Every marketing dollar invested in a touchpoint builds on the others, building greater equity overall. This concept extends beyond brand touchpoints into partnerships too. Shared values build powerful brand partnerships, each lending equity to the other. Red Bull has turned such sponsorships into a fine art. The brand is well known for sponsoring extreme sports.
Sponsorships like these offer brands different ways to reach and engage their target audiences. But they are also justified due to the equity ‘rub-off’ they give to the brand. Through these associations, the brand makes a statement. By sponsoring high octane events, Red Bull is saying that it knows all about the joy of an energy hit – a useful symbolic association for an energy drink brand to make. This is a perfect alignment on emotion.
Finding the right media partners
Media is another sphere where we encounter brands, through advertising. And media brands have their own personalities. Kantar’s latest Media Reactions study uses the validated NeedScope brand personality archetypes to profile the personalities of over 290 media brands amongst consumers around the world.
For example, Snapchat has fun, playful personality values, akin to the Joker archetype. Contrast this with Instagram, which has more of a desirable, sophisticated personality capturing the Enchanter archetype. Yet advertisers mainly look to audience profiles and engagement data when thinking about where to place their ads. Few think about the personality of the media brand itself.
Media brand personalities
This is a lost matchmaking opportunity. Of course, the primary job of media is to help brands reach and engage their audiences. But why not, as part of their media strategy, look for like-minded media properties and seek alignment opportunities to build brands too? In this way media brands can deliver additional value to advertisers, seeking partnerships to help build brands.
In China, the Red Bull brand is classified as a Rebel and Hero according to the latest Kantar BrandZ brand personality data powered by NeedScope, meaning it is extrovert and somewhat individualistic. Media Reactions data shows the QQ media platform has the most strongly defined Rebel personality of all Chinese media brands. QQ users find the media brand daring and bold, and they also find the ads on the platform fun and entertaining. This means it should be a good match for Red Bull, and an opportunity to further amplify their positioning. But of course, the brand would also need to consider other factors such as target audience alignment and cost effectiveness to finalize their media strategy.
A good fit in brand personality archetypes
Not all brands are as rebellious or radical as Red Bull. As a marketer, the key to media matchmaking is first to understand your own brand personality archetype. You can then decide how progressive you want to be in your adoption of more innovative new channels and platform partners. The NeedScope brand personality framework in Media Reactions helps to untangle this.
Advertiser brands that are more extroverted should align with more innovative media brands, which tend to be classified as Rebel, Hero, Free Spirit or Joker. More cautious, introverted brands will place greater importance on trustworthy advertising environments, and may prefer to be associated with media brands that have Expert, Sage, Innocent or Caregiver archetypes.
What is the right fit?
There is no one ‘correct’ personality type – the best fit comes down to your brand positioning and your campaign objectives. Being a Joker, for example, means being fun and playful like we see for TikTok. It is equally legitimate to connect with consumers using a wise and knowledgeable Sage brand like Google, or a competent Expert like Amazon.
The stronger the archetype, the more this personality will be reflected in the media halo effect. This means that if the advertiser brand doesn’t want its image to be shaped by the advertising environment, they can use ad platforms with less strongly defined personalities, such as Twitter and YouTube.
Extending the alignment concept from brand building to media matchmaking allows advertisers and their agencies to generate more positive media reactions, enhance competitive advantage and create more powerful advertising opportunities.
Please get in touch if you’d like to understand your brand’s personality or conduct a media matchmaking exercise for your brand.