The growth of fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) brands has been intrinsically linked to mass reach media, but brands now face difficult choices when it comes to TV in particular, which may require a serious reappraisal of the wider media market, an industry figure suggests.

In the first of two-part paper, Chris Worrell, head of strategy at Wavemaker, explains that FMCG brands can use TV to either reach fewer people with the same budget (risking campaigns that underperform) or increase investment to maintain reach (by default reducing ROI from the channel).

Or, he argues in Future fit communications planning: Exploring new strategies for growth for FMCG brands, they can reassess the role of other channels, which currently comprise only a small proportion of total media investment.

The decline in TV reach (and simultaneous growth in ad blocking) is reframing channels like radio and OOH as must-have mass reach channels, he maintains.

But the channel requiring most significant reappraisal is that of digital, which is primarily an extension of the TV planning approach, he says, but “the future looks very different”.

He envisages “Precision at scale. Multiple messages served to multiple audiences so that overall reach isn’t compromised but different audience segments receive different messages.”

And if brands are to carry this out effectively they will need the right data, the right technology and the right content.

“TV will increasingly be the preserve of the master brand, building fame and maintaining brand salience and distinction,” Worrell says, “while shorter, more rational product messages will be distributed and optimised in precision-based channels to efficiently deliver short-term sales.”

It’s important to avoid conflating audience delivery with effectiveness, he stresses – “We don’t believe that a 10” is worth the same as a 60” or a quarter page is worth the same as a DPS” – nor does reach mean attention.

And a tendency to measure what we can, not what we should, he adds, has “had fairly devastating results, for brands and for people”.

His advice? “Instill a long-term culture within your business. Reward and prioritize long-term success as well as short term gains, and evidence and celebrate the impact of long-term initiatives on business success.”

Sourced from WARC