Accord Marketing

Brilliantly joined-up marketing. Our job is simple. To help you: Understand your customers. Create the right messages to make them act. Make decisions based on research and data. Achieve the maximum return from your budget.

London, United Kingdom
Founded: 1988
Staff: 70
Creative & Design
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Creative Advertising
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Brand and communication strategy
Digital & Social
Digital / Web
Digital advertising

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Titan Travel
El Al Airline
ROL Cruise
Regent Seven Seas Cruises
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Are we there yet? The great brand bounce-back

by Mark Lewsey

September 6, 2021

It might be hard to believe, but right now, less than 18 months after the world shut down, the bigger picture is looking bright.

When 2020 cast a dark and gloomy stay-inside shadow on our lives, financial turmoil was forecast. All of a sudden, everything felt very 2008 (with additional Zoom), which in turn, resurfaced fears of another slow-burning bounce back for our hard-done industry. But the truth is, we’re already on our way back to hitting the ceiling.

Data from WARC tells the story, with ad-spend resuming to pre-pandemic days within a matter of months - unlike the financial crash of 2008.

And if we flip the coin, consumer confidence paints a similar, sharp V-shaped picture. Clearly when the big brands make moves, so do we.

So, why are we here and not back there? Well, inevitably a lot has changed during the last 12 years, but perhaps the biggest, most blatant change of all is advertising itself. Quite simply, in the digital-first, addressable, targetable, measurable, and ultra-transparent landscape we live in today, advertising has never been so effective. In 2021, advertising budgets stand as a protected investment rather than a reluctant cost - a seed of growth if you will.

But that’s not to say everyone knows how to do it well.

Regardless of whether we’re running, walking, or baby-stepping our way back into the market, we can’t forget the brand identity basics. Who’s behind that programmatic ad? Who’s making those impressions? What do you actually mean to people when they turn off their devices?

According to WARC’s research, 70% of marketers’ budget cuts were made to brand advertising during the pandemic. And if we look at where budgets were directed in Q1 of this year, it’s those activation channels - online display and search - that are rising and seeing hefty year-on-year growth.

So, have we reached the end of the brand? Is it all activation now? Absolutely not.

The age-old problem with spending all your time and energy focusing on existing demand, existing customers and existing conversions is that eventually, one day, that demand will run out. Someone fresher and more disruptive will come along who knows how to make a lot of noise, offering a price or product that your supposed ‘loyal’ customers just cannot refuse. And boom, suddenly they’re front-of-mind.

See, it’s not just about knowing your brand, but knowing what people know about your brand. As life increasingly moves online and our audiences become increasingly comfortable there, we must ensure that brand advertising adapts too without losing sight of these five key factors: fame, availability, recognition, quality, and trust. Without these fundamentals, the limit to which your brand can prosper has an inevitable cap.

Of course, this doesn’t mean there’s no place for offline in this new digital-led era. The lines between on and offline media, exposure and experience are excitingly becoming more and more blurred - take the rise of programmatic digital OOH for example. There’s no reason why brand advertising can’t keep innovating whilst still holding onto what it does best.

This will take some creative thinking, clever joining of the dots and potentially a bit of time. Brand tracking, market research, effective measurement strategies and real-time reacting now need to be factored into your marketing efforts. In this new landscape, we must rethink brand advertising so that it compliments and sits alongside our activation efforts, meaning that we keep one eye on growth as well as survival.

Never has it been more important to understand the fluidity of the ever-changing customer journey and the relationship creative has with each and every media touchpoint. Brand awareness needs to be considered alongside all areas of your marketing strategy; a joined-up approach.

A question we get asked a lot these days is ‘when should I restart my advertising?’

Perhaps at this point, it’s time to drop in a wise Chinese proverb:

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, the second-best time is now.”

We can’t pretend that the road ahead won’t have its ups and downs. But there are ways to think outside the unpredictable box to prepare and futureproof yourself, so that when industry recovery is at its fullest and normality is resumed (what even is this?), you’re there being seen, heard, considered and remembered. You can be that friend that showed up when times were still tough, not the one that went dark, only to return when the good times were back.

Regular seasonality is out the window and who’s to say it’s ever going to return? It’s a competitive world out there - if you’re hesitating about capitalising on rising ad-spend and consumer confidence today, someone else will do it for you.

So perhaps the question isn’t necessarily: ‘when should I restart my advertising?’ Maybe it’s ‘how?’


Ad spend