The struggle to actually prove the long-term effects of brand investment on the business bottom line means terms like “brand equity” often sound like a fudge by marketers to explain the lack of a short-term sales boost.

But Nic Pietersma, Business Director for Advanced Analytics with independent marketing and media consultancy Ebiquity, says the fact it’s hard to measure the effect of investing in brands doesn’t mean the effect doesn’t exist.

At the Lessons from the WARC Rankings 2019 event (London, May 2019), he showed how retailer Lidl and insurance business Direct Line Group had both, in different ways, generated compelling evidence that investment in brand building had an effect on new customer recruitment and, in the case of insurance, willingness to pay a premium in a highly price-sensitive market.

But he cautioned against expecting investment in brand to work like a sausage machine, with output directly proportional to input or, in the case of brand building, spending.