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Marketing needs salience AND affinity

News, 21 February 2017

LONDON: In the argument about whether salience is more important than loyalty, people can easily lose sight of the fact that both are vital to marketing success, a leading industry figure has said.

Writing in Admap, Josh Samuel, head of global innovations at Kantar Millward Brown, says it is an "inconvenient truth" that marketers cannot just pick one side or the other in a debate that sharply divides opinions.

In one corner are those who maintain that if you can get people to truly love your brand, they'll buy it more often, and that increased purchase frequency will deliver market share growth.

In the other are the enthusiasts for the view that brand availability in buying situations is paramount.

But, argues Samuel, "there doesn't need to be a conflict between these two ideas".

Sophisticated marketers can, he says, bring together ideas on building salience with their own process for defining brand positioning.

"Essentially, this means defining brand positioning to act as a foundation for distinctive and engaging advertising that builds salience."

But, he cautions, it would be a mistake to view brand positioning as purely a means to grow salience, while failing to recognise that driving affinity is a desirable goal in and of itself.

"Marketers should aspire to find a positioning that consumers feel positive about and think is different to their competitors," he advises. "Only then will they also differentiate the brand and build affinity to help optimise the revenue return they get from growing salience."

In evidence, he cites some of the most distinctive advertising of recent years, from the Reassuringly Expensive campaign of beer brand Stella Artois to the Mini Adventure series from the eponymous car marque .

"These great campaigns undoubtedly did make the brands more salient, but they also accelerated growth by shifting perceptions of the brands to be more meaningful to consumers," he says.

"Building salience and creating a brand positioning that drives affinity are both key to maximising marketing effectiveness."

Data sourced from Admap