ARF Re:think 2009 - Do marketers have a "misshapen view of brand meaning"?

Geoffrey Precourt
WARC Online

Joel Rubinson, chief research officer of the Advertising Research Foundation (ARF) posed the following question on the eve of his organization's large annual assembly, the Re:think 2009: The ARF Annual Convention + Expo that convenes on March 30 and runs through April 1 in New York City: "Do marketers have a misshapen view of brand meaning?"

"We need to start understanding what brands mean to people in the full context of their daily lives," Rubinson explained. "People are not engaged with most of the brands they buy and will become 'digital Johnny Appleseeds' for only a few brands."

The ARF CRO continued, "Particularly in value-conscious times, exclusively searching for 'walk-on-hot-coals love between a customer and a brand may well stand in the way of moving products off the shelf." In fact, citing OgilvyAction figures that 40 percent of brand decisions are made in-store and 30 percent of category purchases are unplanned, Rubinson remarked, "the game begins in the consumer mind but is won or lost at the point of purchase; the best chess opening can prepare you for success, but doesn't win the chess match alone."