The best way to perfect your marketing strategy? Act like a chef

(Andy Ford is Head of Marketing Science, Australia, Facebook & Mark Henning is Executive Director, Media & Digital, Kantar Australia)

Brand building today may be more complex than in years past, but opportunities abound for those who find the right recipe. In this collaboration, experts from Facebook and evidence-based insights company Kantar explain why a nuanced approach to advertising is the secret sauce for marketers

If you’re a marketer looking for one surefire strategy to solve all your problems, there’s some unfortunate news.

In a session discussing the art and science of brand building in a digital age, research unveiled by Oxford University’s Saïd Business School revealed that a “silver bullet” to solving marketing problems simply does not exist.

Instead, bespoke plans to drive objectives such as awareness or intent must be the focus for marketers.

Furthermore, the need for strong creative – sometimes overlooked in digital realms – should never be underestimated. In fact, it remains integral to any successful campaign, regardless of channel.

And with such a wealth of available channels, Kantar Global Head of Media, Jane Ostler, stresses the need for synergies, she says.

“There are three types of synergy that we have identified,” she explains. “Firstly, the overlaps in reach between channels – so reaching the same person. Another is synchronous or overlapping phasing of a campaign. And the third is creative, which means ensuring the campaign is recognisable and connected across various channels. It’s very important to get that right,” Ostler explains.

She points out that some channels work particularly well in tandem, including Facebook and TV, where the synergies deliver a disproportionate return on investment. “It’s vital to understand how the different channels work and what job they’re doing as part of your campaign,” Ostler adds.

Turning to pitfalls, Ostler warns marketers not to fall into the trap of replicating creative assets across digital channels.

“To be integrated and customised is a very tricky balance to get right, but it’s very important for brand return,” Ostler adds.

Among the most common pitfalls identified by Kantar is a tendency of marketers to set unrealistic objectives, or to set no objective at all. “Even though it seems fairly obvious, it’s amazing how frequently these things happen,“ Ostler says.

Continuing this theme, Facebook ANZ Head of Connection Planning, Helen Black, says it was wrong to assume that “traditional channels do brand, and digital channels do performance”.

Campaigns must be designed with precise outcomes in mind, with nuanced planning critical to achieving an objective, she adds.

Honing in on Facebook’s role, Black acknowledges it is only one part of the mix but one that is uniquely effective at driving multiple brand outcomes surrounding awareness, brand association and consideration.

“With 65% of media time now spent in digital channels in Australia1, it’s imperative that brands build visibility in these media environments,” she explains.

She also urges marketers to use its brand-building framework, Brand3, as a “launchpad” for testing on Facebook platforms. “We find those advertisers that adopt continuous outcome testing outperform their competitors,” Black says.

She also advised advertisers to lower their reach costs by widening the net. “This means using multiple placements,” Black explains.

“Campaigns that use four or more placements drive double the return than a single placement2. And although it can be tempting to target narrowly on Facebook, campaigns that have a broad audience significantly outperform those with tighter targeting.

“We also find that campaigns which mix in deeper and more immersive experiences… drive greater brand returns,” Black says.

And while using a variety of placements to achieve specific brand objectives is crucial, it all starts with strong creative, according to Irene Joshy, Kantar’s Head of Creative for APAC and Australia.

Such a conclusion, drawn from Kantar’s cross media database over the past five years, poses the question of whether brands are investing enough time and money on creative quality, she says.

“Our focus is always on developing complex systems to optimise media spend, but do we realise that the best way to optimise media is by getting our creative right?” Joshy asks.

She urges marketers and agencies to think about campaigns, not assets, to entertain as well as engage and to return to the days of storytelling.

Of particular importance is the need to customise ads for specific channels. Joshy reveals that Kantar research shows 50% of TV commercials will fail on digital channels, while tailoring ads improves a brand’s creative performance by 26%3.

Whatever the media mix adopted by marketers and their agencies, or the objectives of a campaign, every interaction has an impact and contributes to the power, or otherwise, of a brand, according to Kantar’s Head of Brand Strategy, Ryan France.

Additionally, every touchpoint has a role in the middle to upper end of the funnel, he says. “Sometimes we think of the sales team owning certain touchpoints at the end of the consumer journey and that the role of those touchpoints is just to convert sales.

“But if the brand is the sum total of every interaction, then every experience with a brand is a brand building experience,” France adds.

Neither is a brand defined or shaped by a television spot.

Despite taking up an inordinate amount of staff time and enthusiasm, on average, TV contributes only 7% of a brand’s power4, France says.

“TV is still undoubtedly an important touchpoint, but a broader vision is required to be a brand in 2022,” he explains. “I would encourage everyone to get out of autopilot, start with an open mind and take a fresh look at the evidence about how a brand is built.”

Facebook ANZ Creative Agency Partner Liz Harper agrees with Joshy that the quality of a brand’s creative can “make or break” the effectiveness of a campaign.

She stresses that it is no longer an option to build brands via digital channels, but is essential, and one deserving of the time, effort and craft channelled into other elements of a campaign.

“Does it take a bit more effort? Sure. But I’d argue it’s worth it. There is an opportunity to connect with people and build brands in ways that simply aren’t possible in other channels.”

You can learn more about Facebook and Kantar’s brand building findings right here

1. Global Web Index, 16,270 Internet users in Australia, aged 16-64, Q1-Q4 2020

2 Ekimetrics, Executing for Effect, 16,000 campaigns MMM meta-analysis, November 2020 

3 Kantar, 78 ads reviewed globally* from within the Kantar LINK database – transference from TV to Youtube or Facebook

4 Kantar, 400,000 touchpoint evaluations across 550 Connect touchpoint studies

This article was published exclusively on Adnews.com on October 21, 2021.