Diary of a CMO: What is The Blueprint for Brand Growth?

It’s the newest thinking from Kantar that solves the chicken and egg dilemma of marketing.

Do attitudes drive sales? Or is it that sales drive behaviours that drive more sales?

Let’s fast forward to early September when iPhone 16 will have just launched. I’ll re-enact two versions of the same event:

Version #1: I am happily queuing for iPhone 16, it’s more premium than my current device and I’ve got to have it.

Version #2: I’ve been queuing for two hours, and I finally got iPhone 16 in my hands. It must be better than the one I’ve got.

If real-life purchasing mirrors the latter version, a marketing team shouldn’t spend time or resources building a brand’s perceptions. Despite voices of protest from top academics in marketing, this is a doctrine our industry has heavily embraced over the last decade.

Behind it was Byron Sharp and his team at the Ehrenberg Bass Institute. Radical and fresh in equal measure, their thinking swept us all off our marketing feet. Their findings urged us to make our brands available everywhere – in the mind, on the shelf, online – and shower them with their own distinctive assets, then they’d be chosen by consumers. Penetration was celebrated as a totem of growth, a claim that our Kantar data also certified and further quantified: “If you grow 1 penetration point, then you have had a good year.”, our reposted announcement read.

So, big brands are big, but what really defines growth? One could only uncover this truth by analysing data over time, rather than at a fixed point.

This article was published exclusively on Kantar.com on July 2, 2024.