DANA POINT, CA: The entire marketing eco-system is in danger of losing sight of its raison d'etre – building brands – and being sidetracked in discussions about the latest technology, according to Bob Liodice, president of the Association of National Advertisers.

Addressing the 2015 Brand Masters Conference, organised by the ANA, he told publishers, researchers, agencies, consultants and marketers that they needed to focus to make better brand-building decisions.

"When do we have the conversations to truly understand the economic power of brands and the economic value of the great brand-building decisions?" he asked. "We don't. Or we don't have those discussions enough.

"We get caught up in all the new-media blitz, all the bells and whistles – yes, places where we should pay attention. But, in the end, it's about building brands." (For more, read Warc's exclusive report: ANA chief offers seven habits of healthy brand managers.)

Liodice put forward a series of attributes that drive brand success, using recent Super Bowl ads to illustrate his points.

"Brands are about a lot more than products and services," he said. Purpose can help drive value creation and he suggested that during the Super Bowl, the National Football League, itself, demonstrated the power of the dimension of purpose to its brand.

Meeting, and exceeding, consumer expectations is vital to building a brand and Snickers, he said, had achieved just that with the twist in its Brady Bunch Super Bowl ad.

Linked to that is the notion of the constant need to innovate and to "ensure that we refresh our brands to meet the higher level of changing consumer expectations".

McDonald's, according to Liodice, is an example of "an iconic brand that is trying something new, building on its 'I'm Loving It' campaign", by inviting random customers to "Pay with Lovin'".

Technology developments mean that marketers have never had so much data at their fingertips but without a strategy to exploit it, it remains just data. The Coca-Cola Co., Liodice said, are "data-analytics hounds" and that skill set was evident in their most recent work.

His final piece of advice was to avoid the "arrogance" of thinking that because something had worked in the past it would work in the future. Procter & Gamble's "Like a Girl" campaign for its Always brand had captured the right combination of focus and humility, he said.

Data sourced from Warc