Brand-building tips for businesses of all sizes

Brand-building tips for businesses of all sizes teaser

Date published 07 Jul 2021

Want to make your advertising investment more effective? New guidance isn’t just for the big consumer brands; smaller and business-to-business brands should also steal a tip or two, says Mark Pinney, National Client Director for Metrix Consulting.
When we talk about effective advertising, the spotlight often feels like it falls on bigger, consumer brands. But many of the strategies they rely on work just as well for smaller, consumer brands or in a business-to-business marketing context.
The 2021 report Advertising Effectiveness Rules – to ESOV and Beyond, released 1 July 2021, provides a useful guide to improving advertising effectiveness in the context of, what we hope, is a year of recovery.
The report, by global advertising effectiveness authorities Peter Brittain and Peter Field, and globally acclaimed researcher in media science, Professor Karen Nelson-Field, is a timely, Australian study of over 300 cases from the Advertising Council of Australia’s marketing effectiveness database. The analysis and subsequent report describes the relationship between the mental availability of brands, media investment budgeting and planning, and its effect on key business metrics.
Given there is an estimated $63bn overseas travel expenditure retained by Australians staying at home in the past year or so (AFR, 2020), there is hope that a renewal of consumer confidence will provide the opportunity for brands to grow this year. Adopting the guidance outlined in the report will help place brands in a more favourable position to rise above their rivals.
But what of the value of brand building? The good news is that this latest Advertising Effectiveness Rules report shows growing brands can expect improvements in areas essential for profitability, such as margin expansion and sales volume, while lifting several other business metrics – changes we would all welcome for our balance sheet.
For businesses big or small.
One of the main findings from the report has implications for brands of all sizes and was universal across sectors. This was the finding that mental availability (the probability that a buyer will notice, recognise and/or think of a brand in buying situations) is heavily influenced by media budget.
The key thing here, is it is not the absolute budget that counts. Rather than being the largest spender in a category, it is the relative budget that a brand has within its category.
Specifically, brands that demonstrate growth tend to have a media investment share that is larger than their market share. For example, a brand that has 10% market share, and 15% share of its category’s media investment is set to grow. Conversely, a brand that has 15% market share and 10% of its category’s media investment is more likely to reduce in size.
Focus then falls onto the concept of attention. Again, for brands of all sizes and budgets, ensuring media channels reach audiences in an attentive state heavily influences the impact on marketing and business performance.
Across media types, contexts and formats, the rate of attention varies significantly. Brands that – more than their rivals – place their messages in formats and on media types where people are viewing or listening attentively (rather than listening in the background, or out of sight of- or lack prominence on- a screen, for example) are well placed to grow.   
Similarly to share of media investment, the share of attention is set to become a more commonly utilised planning input, regardless of brand size and budget. It will be fascinating to see how this emerging area of investigation evolves, given its major influence on both media planning as a discipline and use of share of media investment as a planning input. The implication being that clear and consistent measurement will be key to adoption and utility for marketers.
Finally, on the topic of creativity and brand building, there is consistency with prior effectiveness research, in that messages tend to have a stronger and more enduring effect, when they stir our feelings and emotions. Similarly, when it comes to media investment, around 60% of media investment is recommended for brand building purposes. Shorter-term, “performance” or response-based media, makes up the remaining 40%, playing a “harvesting”-type role in converting brand effects into business outcomes.
Our top tip?
There’s no need to feel excluded when the experts are talking tactics about advertising effectiveness. While attention often falls on larger, consumer brands, in many cases their insights are often just as relevant to consider for those with far less to spend and apply across industries and audiences.
Whether your business is large or small, consumer or business, Metrix Consulting can help you confidently develop strategy and tactics to make your advertising as effective as possible.

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