Brand Still Matters

Companies selling through digital platforms need a strong presence close to the point of sale. But those that have taken a cohesive approach to building and communicating their brands still retain an advantage from search through to purchase decisions.

This advantage is driven by four factors.

Fame

Mental availability

Recognition

Quality & Trust

Takeaway: Marketers should address and refresh all four drivers in their communications plans.

But we need to rethink ‘brand-building’

Marketers are having to increase investment in performance techniques as their sales shift online – this has been called ‘digital rent’. A balance between brand and performance is still required, but new language may be needed to reframe ‘brand’ in a way that appeals outside the marketing department, and makes sense at a time when platforms are becoming ‘full funnel’. One approach may be to think in terms of demand. Performance techniques harvest existing demand in the market. But we can think of ‘brand-building’ as creating future demand, and the conditions for future sales.

Companies that grow initially on the back of performance techniques risk hitting a demand ‘ceiling’ that restricts future growth potential.

Takeaway: Marketers should address and refresh all four drivers in their communications plans.

And we need to rethink channel assumptions

Distinctions between ‘traditional’ and ‘digital’ channels – and the idea that ‘traditional’ builds brand while ‘digital’ drives performance – are increasingly redundant. As sales move online, there are opportunities to reconsider the role of different channels, and look for new ways they can combine – both to harvest existing demand in the market, and create future demand. New metrics like attention hold promise as a way to assess platform opportunities.

One health retailer found that TV was a bigger driver of traffic online than offline.

(Source: Analytic Partners)

Takeaway: Marketers should review their assumptions about ‘traditional’ and ‘digital’, and ensure they are not reliant on attribution models that mask the ways channels combine to drive online traffic and sales.