In the second of Kantar’s category-specific touchpoint investigations for WARC, Sahaj Chawla takes a look at media effectiveness for tech and telco brands.

Read the first instalment on media strategies for food and drink brands.

Innovation is the heart of the tech and telco industries, and brands in this category continue to blaze trails by embracing new digital touchpoints. The Kantar Connect database shows that paid media delivers 29% of touchpoint impact for the technology & telecommunication brands, which is above average compared to other categories. Within the paid media mix, TV advertising still has the single biggest impact, and is twice as impactful as in other categories. This goes to show that a blend of traditional and digital media integration drives highly effective advertising, showing other sectors the way.

TV is more cost effective thanks to very strong synergies with other media. Tech and telco brands mainly achieve this by spending more on digital media to enable tighter integration between TV and digital media. Facebook and online video are especially cost effective for building associations and driving purchase intent.

Given the proven impact of Facebook, tech brands who have joined the Facebook advertising boycott should expect an immediate negative impact on their overall media effectiveness. According to research conducted by the Oxford University Saïd Business School (based on Kantar data), tech brands should expect a drop in Saliency (-2%), Unaided Awareness (-4%), and Motivation to Purchase (-5%).

Online video also works really well.  For example, one of the world’s leading telco brands (in the UK) wanted to shed light on digital video’s role in complementing TV. They worked with a provider who was able to target online video at light TV viewers. Using Kantar’s CrossMedia solution, they measured the campaign’s reach and frequency, along with the individual impact of modelled channels. Online video added 5.1% incremental reach to the TV heavy campaign, and it did so cost effectively (the same additional reach on TV would have cost £200,000 more).

In addition to digital media, some of the key touchpoints for tech and telco brands are their own branded shops, and their presence in the shops of partners.  Collaboration is key, for example via co-promotions featuring telco and mobile brands. Brand presence at retail partners (whether online or offline) can have strong brand impact and should be considered a priority.

As 5G gets more real in 2020 and beyond, it stands to provide far greater capabilities to reach and engage with consumers. The nature of future opportunities that come with 5G remains nebulous, but tech and telco brands have a responsibility to be early adopters of new approaches which will be fuelled by higher quality on the go media delivery.

However, while technology has proliferated over the past few years, data breaches and other questionable practices have undermined consumer trust in some in tech brands. With trust as the new battleground, it remains to be seen which channels and media platforms emerge victorious in the coming years. Tech brands reliant on media revenues will embrace trust as a brand KPI and focus more on communicating their own unique advantages.  Brands will therefore need to lead by example with their own campaigns, such as demonstrating how to create personalised ads without using personal data. The danger is that brand safety fears may result in a lack of brand bravery. This could have negative effects since constant innovation is the life blood of successful tech sector marketing.

Another observation in the tech industry is that physical contact with the product and recommendation by friends or family members are some of the most impactful touchpoints. Owned & earned media create 71% of brand impact, and recommendation by friends or family members is the 2nd most impactful touchpoint creating 9% of brand experience. Product test reports and consumer reviews are among the other top drivers of the category.

Case in point: a foreign electronics brand looking to enter the US was perceived as cheap and low quality, a key barrier to success. Using Kantar’s Connect solution they measured the full category landscape and identified the most impactful category touchpoints. An independent product test report revealed that the brand’s product quality was comparable with market leading brands, and this was shown to have high impact on attitudes. The test result was therefore integrated as a key message in brand communication through various touchpoints. Linkages were actively built and managed between the independent website and the brand’s owned touchpoints.

One thing is for sure – tech and telco brands must continue to be early adopters of new digital touchpoints while retaining a human touch. The unique circumstances of 2020 have accelerated this further since many consumers are buying services and electronics products online for the first time ever, as evidenced by Kantar’s COVID-19 barometer. As torchbearers for other categories, getting the media mix right and leading in the digital space is critical to ensure success for tech and telco brands.

What do you think about emerging touchpoints for these categories? Which tech or telco media campaigns have most impressed you recently?

To download further free insights from the Kantar tech and telecom analysis, please visit this page and compete the download form.