In this series of blog posts, researchers from the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute share some major marketing science discoveries from the past 50 years. In the second of a two part post, senior research associate Dr Virginia Beal explains why understanding marketing science can make your advertising more effective.
In the last post two key tips for creating effective advertising campaigns were shared: 1. Create your ads for the most inattentive consumer, and 2. An optimal scheduling strategy aims to reach all category buyers at least once. In this post we look at 2 more tips.
1. Effective branding is essential
Across all advertising researchers, there is one point of consensus; if a consumer does not know which brand an ad is for it cannot work. Without correct brand recognition the ad is at best money wasted and at worst an ad for a competitor in the category. With consumers unable to correctly identify the brand being advertised in around 50 per cent of ads, it’s not surprising that most ads aren’t working effectively for the brands they are trying to promote. Marketers must include clear brand links throughout the ad—both verbal and visual brand name mentions are critical. Often, we see ads that save a big ‘branding bang’ for the end of an ad. But this strategy fails to take account of consumers’ transient attention to media—many will not see the whole ad and for those seeing the first half or three-quarters of the ad, the exposure is wasted as they will never see which brand is being promoted at the end.
2. Increase your brand’s footprint
A brand’s identity can also consist of non-brand name elements that can be used to identify the brand, such as colour, font, logo, spokes-characters, images, sounds, and jingles. Having a diverse identity gives the brand a greater neurorichness. For example, using a dynamic spokes-character and colour to signal the brand can automatically trigger more activity in a consumer’s brain. This means the brand gets more impact without having to make consumers consciously work harder. These elements can become a brand’s ‘distinctive assets’ when they are strongly and uniquely linked to the brand in customers’ minds enabling them to replace the brand name in advertising, retail etc. They can also be used in conjunction with the brand to indirectly brand the ad and heighten the likelihood of correct brand linkage.
Showing the product/pack in use will also help brand recognition and aid identification on-shelf. Finally, being consistent over time helps branding to work. Regular switching, refreshing or rebranding only confuses the market and will be detrimental to your sales.
Five dos and don’ts for effective advertising
It is clear that evidence-based marketing can teach us a lot about how advertising works, and what we should (and shouldn’t) do to maximise the effectiveness of our ads.
DO include branding across all parts of the ad.
DON’T save a big branding bang for the end of the ad.
DO make the brand the hero of your ad.
DON’T assume you know which elements are assets to your brand – ask consumers.
DO use a range of elements to link to your brand for example a tagline, a colour and an image rather than 2 taglines and a colour.