Warc Blog

Modern brand-building still needs ads

29 May 2014
NEW YORK: New models of brand-building are beginning to emerge, but more traditional forms of advertising are likely to remain important for most marketers going forward, according to a paper from Warc.

The paper, entitled "What We Know About Building Brands", draws on research from leading practitioners and academics, as well as numerous case studies and the views of senior client-side executives.

It argues that brand-building was transformed by players like Amazon, Facebook and Google, which disrupted a model based around creating a product, identifying the right price and using ads to drive awareness and loyalty.

"Tech companies didn't just challenge the history of brand-building. They reinvented it. In the digital era, truly innovative products can have marketing baked into them: the product can act as the message," the report says.

It is clear, however, that "traditional" advertising will continue to be an effective – and often necessary – investment for marketers as they attempt to establish and nurture brands.

Several pieces of analysis into the long-term effects achieved by communications offer helpful guidance in reaching this goal – for example by showing that it is usually preferable to pursue penetration over loyalty.

Emotion-led advertising has also been found to deliver the most enduring impact, even if the impression it makes is less obvious in the short term.

Price elasticity is among the most valuable business indicators for prolonged success, too, yet its importance can be undermined by focusing solely on the next quarter.

Another theme covered by Warc's report is finding the balance between differentiation and distinctiveness, with the latter approach often proving more powerful in categories with high levels of product parity.

One technique that a rising number of marketers are employing to enhance the standout attained by their products is by embodying a definitive "purpose".

The "Campaign for Real Beauty" from Dove, Unilever's beauty brand, is perhaps the most famous example of this strategy, which has also been pioneered by Procter & Gamble and General Mills.

Data sourced from Warc

 
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