LONDON: Major brand owners are reappraising their approach to digital, no longer regarding it as a separate discipline and instead focusing their attention on longer-term brand-building programmes, according to a newly published Warc report.

The Toolkit 2014 report, produced in association with Deloitte, highlights five key areas that will concern marketers in the coming year, combining the latest thinking and research with real-life examples that suggest ways to respond.

Among these is the idea that digital has become so central to all media and marketing that it can no longer be treated as a separate discipline or corporate function. Campaigns must now run seamlessly between channels, both online and off, and marketers have to set up their teams to be able to deliver that - a trend the report describes as 'post-digital marketing'.

One consequence of this is that leading advertisers such as Procter & Gamble, Unilever and Nestlé are placing renewed emphasis on insights and ideas, and fresh models of brand-building are emerging.

As Rob Master, Unilever's VP Media for Americas and Europe, observed: "A bad idea based on a bad insight on a great platform sucks. But a great idea rooted in a powerful insight will find every platform and exploit consumer engagement." (Warc subscribers can read a full report on Unilever's new marketing framework.)

Several high-profile industry figures, including Pete Blackshaw, Global Head of Digital and Social Media at Nestlé, have warned that marketers rushing to new platforms are in danger of losing sight of the fundamentals of their trade. These concerns have been borne out by recent research which demonstrated that a focus on the ability of digital channels to deliver instant results will not deliver long-term success unless complemented by longer-term activity to strengthen the brand.

William Grobel, manager at Deloitte's Marketing & Insight Practice, described digital as "an enabler for channel convergence".

The challenge for marketing, he said, was to ensure the right structure was in place to facilitate the integration of digital into all brand-building activity – both internally and within a brand's agency partners.

Other issues covered by the Toolkit include the central role of shopper marketing, smart content strategies, how programmatic and data are changing the relationship between brands, agencies and tech providers, and developing an effective multichannel approach.

Data sourced from Warc