Many marketers are still making the error of focusing their digital attention on short-term activation and thus neglect the importance of brand building, according to Les Binet, head of effectiveness at agency adam&eveDDB.

“Brand building is more important in a digital world than it is in the old economy,” Binet told delegates at the Advertising Research Foundation’s (ARF) 2019 AUDIENCExSCIENCE conference.

In a keynote address to delegates, Binet asserted: “Of course, most marketers have learned completely the wrong lesson. They’ve seen the efficiency of short-term activation and they put all their money in there.

“But, in fact, what they actually should be doing is making digital activation work efficiently by supporting it with broad-reach, emotional brand building.” (For more, read WARC's report: Les Binet examines how digital affects brand building/activation model.)

Referencing the “60/40 Rule” that underpins much of the body of work he has produced with Peter Field, Binet reminded his audience: “Share of voice matters, but [what also matters is] how you allocate share of voice between brand building and activation.”

He said “there tends to be an optimum effectiveness” of 60% for brand building and 40% for activation in communications budgets.

The ratio, he allowed, is not an absolute, and may vary by category. “If brand building is easy in a category, you can dial down your brand spend. And if activation is easy in a category, you can dial down the activation spend,” Binet said.

“In more specific terms, for categories where there is a high degree of product innovation – or, for brands, where there is a high degree of product activation – activation is easy.

“If you have really great new products, they’re actually quite easy to sell,” Binet continued. “So, you can dial down the activation and tilt towards brand, with a split that’s more like 70/30.

“In categories where there’s a great deal of online research – like, for example, holidays, where people will do research on Google, and on TripAdvisor, and on – activation is easy, so you can dial it down and tilt towards brand, more like 75/25.”

On balance, Binet continued: “There are areas where it goes the other way ... In a digital economy, there are efficiency gains to be made. There are areas you can cut the budget. But it’s actually the activation part of the budget you can dial down.”

Sourced from WARC