Posts Tagged ‘Brand’

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When you look at any of the top brands which are currently doing well in this economic crisis, they are likely to have many things in common such as customer service levels, responding to customer demand promptly and delivering a high quality customer experience no matter how you engage with their brand.

Customers are more savvy than ever and will simply not stand for bad service, not being clear with promotional Ts&Cs and a bad user journey / experience.

Many CEO’s still ignore and turn their backs on their high value customer feedback, customer complaints, competitor improvements and general customer demand yet wonder why their competitors are stealing more and more market share.

Due to how technology has evolved over the past few years, this has forced brands to adopt an omni-channel strategy rather than a cross-channel strategy. Omni-channel is a one unified brand experience no matter how or where you engage with the brand. Some examples of what this does and doesn’t look like:

  • You see a product in store which isn’t available online – not omni-channel.
  • You start a car insurance quote on desktop and finish it on your mobile – is omni-channel.
  • You play poker on desktop but key features are missing from the mobile app – not omni-channel.
  • You receive a coupon through the post which is only available to use in store – not omni-channel.
  • You get a very warm customer feel in store and also get a very thorough warm response over the phone – is omni-channel.
  • You thought you’d upgrade your TV sat package online and after a few months decide to downgrade no matter what, but you can only downgrade over the phone – not omni-channel.

It won’t be cheap to adopt an omni-channel strategy, it won’t be an easy ride and it’s certainly not a short term strategy, but if you want the new generation of customers to engage and stay loyal to your brand, then you need to adapt.

Fortunately there are consultants already out there who can offer good advice like Webcredible and IVIS Group.

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Offline brand activity has been measured in the same way for decades through econometrics – mainly looking at the correlation which offline activity has with brand search volume and bottom line acquisitions / revenue.

Many digital specialists claim that this way of measuring offline brand activity was built for offline and it would be unfair to use this method for measuring online brand. Yet, those digital specialists are more than happy to attribute post view data to all online advertising without analysing actual cause and causality.

The reason why many feel that it’s unfair, is because online branding is expensive and when looking at the correlation of online brand spend vs. offline spend through an econometrics model, offline shows a greater ROI for many advertisers. Also when it comes to banners, in many instances there is zero correlation between banner impression volume and brand search uplift / bottom line acquisitions.

Just because you can track post view, it doesn’t mean that you should attribute post view conversions to campaigns. Most digital planners who have been around for a while know how this can be easily abused, you only have to look back at the classic Yahoo Marketplace placement on the Yahoo HP where an impression counter could be attached to the ad to remember this.

The key objective for all brand activity is to deliver a positive ROI no matter how the consumer got to your site / store or whether the ad was delivered online or offline. I can’t imagine any marketer spending money on advertising and not ever wanting a return from that spend, so it’s pretty safe to say that the key objective above is fact.

So what is the most robust way of measuring the ROI of online brand activity.

Analysing the correlation that both uplift in brand search volume and bottom line acquisitions / revenue has on any medium to large weight brand campaign (online or offline), is the most effective way of viewing impact / ROI in a robust and truthful way. This would mean that econometrics would be perfect to measure the effectiveness of online brand campaigns also.

In order to determine cause / causality, the brand activity would have to be signficant eg. Portal / social network takeovers, online video or high volume display burst campaigns so then the noise will show up in an econometrics model.

For very low volume online branding, there is an option to use in view post view data as a proxy of success, but it’s essential to remember that you won’t know whether the conversions would have happened anyway, unless you have run a placebo controlled test.

The ultimate goal is to know what brand opportunities are the most cost efficient way of increasing conversions / revenue. Basic econometrics is still the most effective way of reaching this goal across all marketing channels.

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Acquiring customers through brand paid search is in most cases not only the most cost efficient way of acquiring customers, but it’s also where most brands find where their most valuable customers originate from.

As Facebook and Twitter release more ad opportunities by the week which are meeting advertiser demands and paid search CPCs increase especially across mobile, SEM specialists are finding it increasingly difficult to add value or are just simply missing the limelight and therefore to combat this in some cases when presenting paid search performance, they are mixing in brand search data with generics without splitting them out to make ‘search’ look better.

This is just plain wrong. No matter how much the CEO or CMO likes the look of positive data especially through internal campaign tracked activity, as a media specialist they should be advising key stakeholders of the difference between both, letting them know that there’s no need to obsess around brand search performance because knowing what drives brand search is outside the SEM specialist remit and is a wider and bigger question / concern.

A CEO or CMO asking an SEM specialist to increase brand search volume and constantly saying that “paid search drives the most conversions” than any other channel and that paid search should be given more budget (when brand and generics isn’t split out) is bad for business.

I know that a lot of consultants and CMO’s are under pressure but there needs to be more effort from the SEM specialist and senior management team to understand what is driving search performance, splitting out generic and brand keywords clearly and focusing on driving incremental generic conversions leaving brand search volumes for another day.

I’ve heard a lot of moaning and read a lot of articles (example here) about display specialists adding remarketing data into prospecting results and the fact that it needs to crack down, but not splitting out brand and generic search results is far worse and equally shambolic.

There is an argument to have brand search data held in a completely different system to be used purely for online and offline brand attribution / to view halo effect, but what is clear is that brand and generic search data should never be mixed up on the same line and should always be kept separate.

SEM specialists and consultants should be obsessing about how to improve generic paid search performance whether it’s ad copy performance or building long term strategies on building up their QS to achieve lower CPCs in the future and higher rankings which will in turn increase volume incrementally.

There’s a time and a place to discuss brand search performance and it shouldn’t be when comparing overall digital channel by channel performance.

Capture

A traditional way an ad agency generated revenue was through a variety of ways such as agency fee, adserving mark up, bid platform fee mark up and preferred partner trading deal kickbacks.

With more and more channels becoming programmatic led where negotiating doesn’t come into it and clients rightfully continue to be protective over their data, ad agencies are finding it increasingly difficult to stop revenue declining.

It’s becoming more popular for brands to include ad data into their existing DMP keeping the data in house and secure, take control of the adserving and bid platform contracts for further transparency and handle all biddable media / programmatic buying in house (paid search, desktop and mobile display (incl. RMTG), Facebook, Twitter, video / VOD….) allowing the brand to react quickly to ROI data and innovative new media options keeping them ahead of the game.

So this leaves a big hole in many traditional ad agency wallets meaning they’ll have to adapt to meet the current demands of brands. So what will the focus be on over the coming years for them:

  • Offline planning and buying will always be an essential part of an ad agency even as offline including TV transitions over to programmatic buying
  • Large sponsorships will also need global negotiating power so although there will be certain levels of kickbacks, ad agencies will always get a far superior deal than a brand
  • Consultation – although many digital agency specialists will move over to client direct, there will be a need across certain brands for support in setting up custom attribution models internally, econometrics and business development (whether it’s advising the CEO to focus on app development, building out their DMP for more insightful data or improving their in house trading desk) all of which would be priced accordingly.

Ad agencies will always be there to support brands whatever their needs, but in future it will be in a more transparent way.

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No matter how much marketing you deliver, whether it’s billions of banners on the most premium sites in the world or you’re top of key generics consistently for Google, unless you have a stable product offering which customers genuinely embrace, then your brand has a fairly bleak future.

Historically you could spend your way out of a crisis, but now if your site crashes often, you hide key T&Cs, mis-sell promotions, have a complex user journey, product not available on multiple devices, then in a few years time your brand value will show a clear decline which would eventually kill your business unless you adapt fast.

I think the below video demonstrates the future in a fantastic way and how consumers will shape products, businesses and communication. The good thing about the future is that it will kill a lot of cow boys who are short sited and have no long term business strategy.