ORLANDO, FL: Marketers must find a more refined balance between building their brands and meeting short-term objectives, according to Eric Reynolds, the CMO of Clorox.

Reynolds discussed some of the challenges facing the industry during a session at the Association of National Advertisers’ (ANA) 2017 Masters of Marketing Conference.

“In a time when we have all this data and technology … why is our brand effectiveness falling? We would argue it's because we forgot about brands,” he said. (For more, read WARC’s report: How Clorox embraced Binet/Field’s lessons about long-term brand relevance.)

“People are no less interested in brands and loyalty. We're just not great marketers. And we need to be better.”

Elaborating on this theme, he noted that there has been “in the last few years a dramatic change in the effect from long- to short-term brand activation.”

In supporting that claim, he cited studies from Les Binet (Head of Effectiveness, ADAM&Eve DDB) and Peter Field (Peter Field Consulting) on marketing effectiveness and efficiencies.

They found that long-term brand building not long ago accounted for 69% of brand relevancy, but that impact has fallen to 47%, even as short-term activation had risen from 31% to a majority share of 53%.

That would be fine, the Clorox CMO asserted, if effectiveness had improved. But, in fact, global self-reported effectiveness has declined. “This should be a remarkable wake-up call to us all,” he said.

At Clorox, “We realised we were getting very short-term focused in two ways. We were targeting the kinds of people who already loved us … and kept pushing our investments down to them,” he said.

“Guess what? We sold stuff. The ROI went up. We felt great about that. But guess what? We forgot the golden rule of brand building: Brands are built through penetration. There's only so many bottles of Clorox our biggest fans will buy.

“And guess what? It got very rational; it got very functional; and we had a lot of price-promotion offers.” At which point, “We realised we had to have a very honest discussion about brand engagement.”

Sourced from WARC