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Dear Marketers: You need branding to keep pace with conversions!

Challenging times have led businesses to be obsessed with chasing conversions… which can be at the expense of the brand. Just look at what happened in the recent chaos which saw many brand owners freezing their adspend on Google and Youtube, following the realisation that their ads are appearing alongside offensive content on these platforms.

This article is written by Hafizah Hazahal, analyst at SPH Magazines, and was published previously at sphmagazines.com. You can see the original post here.

Previously, we asked the question: Should advertisers regain control of their brand and go “back to basics”, building positive brand associations? In this blog we show why brands will stand to lose if they neglect to build their equity, especially in this digital age.

Back to Marketing 101

If you were to do a search on “sales funnel”, you will see that the fundamentals of the funnel have not changed even after decades. An example is the AIDA (Attention-Interest-Desire-Action) framework widely used in advertising. For any advertising campaign to be successful, the first thing marketers should do is to grab the attention of potential consumers, to increase the likelihood of conversions further down the road. This is commonly done through branding and awareness campaigns.

Looking at the framework as a pyramid, you will see that ‘Attention’ (or Awareness) forms the base or foundation of the purchase journey. A depleted base (i.e. weak branding) will cause the pyramid to be destabilised, thus limiting the chances of conversions.

 

 
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AIDA framework

Source: themarketingguywhodrivessales.com

 

A weak base or branding poses very real risks in this digital age where consumers are empowered much more than before. With the virality of social media, consumers can easily shaken the reputation of a brand by sharing negative stories associated with the brand. Having a ‘cache’ of positive brand associations which can come from branding activities will certainly help to minimise the impact of such events.

Cutting through the clutter

Consumers today are presented with an overwhelming array of choices at their convenience especially on the digital space, making it all the more important for brands to stand out from the clutter and grab their attention. Furthermore, brands are connecting with consumers on more touch points than before, and in varying formats. A strong branding will help to ensure a consolidated and consistent message to consumers across these touch points.

Hear from the industry players

Procter and Gamble, the world’s largest advertiser, has been on a paradigm shift as it reawakened to the importance of branding. Marc Pritchard, its chief brand officer, stated that if previously the company was operating with the mindset that “the best way to cut through the clutter was to create more clutter [ads with marginal quality control]”, it is now placing an emphasis on “consistency in brand building”. He believes that only with a consistent compelling message can brands attract consumers’ attention amidst the noise.

Havas, a multinational advertising and public relations agency, revealed some staggering results from its global survey: consumers would not care if 74 per cent of brands disappeared. This is because “60 per cent of content created by brands is ‘just clutter’”. The study found that content, when done right, helps to build “meaningful brands” which drive better business results. The right content is one that goes beyond communicating product benefits, into impact on consumers’ lives. In order to do so, brands need to understand their audiences. This is where magazines excel.

Magazine media excels in driving brand differentiation

A study by Magnetic and Millward Brown has found that magazine media score highly across five key metrics needed to drive brand growth – meets needs, brand affinity (brand love), uniqueness, dynamism (sets trends) and saliency (top-of-mind awareness). Specifically, magazine propels brands beyond the saliency or awareness stage into being “meaningfully different”, which drives repeat purchase and grow market share.

 

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So what is it about magazines that drive meaningful brand differentiation? Find out in this other post.

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Google’s ad placement headache (and why publishers may feel a touch of schadenfreude)

Why magazines still have a place in the fashion industry

Can magazine brands, advertisers reach millennials?

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