News & Opinion

Peter Field: “Brand building is the key to long term sales growth”

Speaking at this year's Eff Week conference, Peter Field and Les Binet called for an "urgent" rebalance between short-term activation and longer-term brand building.

Moving towards a marketing effectiveness culture focused on long-term brand health was a key theme at Tuesday's EffWeek conference - Marketing Effectiveness in the Digital Era - at CodeNode in London.

Hiscox CEO Steve Langan set the tone for the event, saying "you can't run a business on a quarterly basis, the idea is fundamentally awful... there is no benefit to any CEO", adding that it is destructive to values, morals and behaviour.

Other speakers followed suit, with Mondelēz’s Matt Stockbridge highlighting the importance of longer-term brand building combined with short-term goals around events such as Christmas and Easter being the perfect balance.

Meanwhile, consultant Libby Child said short-term needs are currently taking priority because of reporting and measurement: "The problem with assessing and quantifying long-term brand effectiveness is it is very complex."

Taking the 60/40 rule of thumb to the next level

Presenting their latest work using data from the IPA Effectiveness Awards' entries, Peter Field and Les Binet called on the industry to "urgently restore the balance", saying brand building is more important now than ever.

Using the AA as an example of a brand focusing on activation and short-term efficiencies over brand health and effectiveness, Binet said the only way to turn things around is to focus on the brand: "Brand building works in the long term and also makes the short-term activity work better."

Reiterating the point, Field added: "Brand building is the key to long-term sales growth, while short-term uplifts around activation decay very quickly."

Talking about the importance of context, he urged advertisers to "invest more in media that is proven to build brands".

Developing creative best practice

With short-termism rising and effectiveness falling, it’s time to champion creativity, according to Orlando Wood, chief innovation officer at System1 Group.

"There's a strong link between creativity and effectiveness - emotions drive profit," he said.

To explore this link, System1 conducted a comprehensive emotional test across a number of sectors including FMCG and Technology, which found that campaigns consistently using a Fluent Device (a repeated character or scenario) enjoyed long-term growth.

The research shows that Fluent Device campaigns such as Comparethemarket’s Meerkats and PG Tips’ Monkey generate greater emotional response and share of voice, plus establish memory structures that enable fast brand recognition. “Fluent devices add value and make your investment go further,” said Wood. Despite this, the use of Fluent Devices have decreased in recent years.

As part of the project, System1 partnered with Lumen, British Gas and Newsworks to carry out an online split test in a bid to determine the performance of Fluent Devices in different online contexts.

According to the study, online advertising works better with a Fluent Device, with increases in fame, feeling and fluency. The results also show that in a newsbrand context, where attention is higher, the impact of a character Fluent Device is even greater.

When it comes to online video ads, the presence of a character Fluent Device leads to greater attention and dwell time - an increase which again is amplified on high-attention sites such as newsbrands. Read more.

Chaired by BBC journalist Naga Munchetty, the conference, part of The IPA's EffWeek, also featured lively and entertaining sessions with Matt Lucas and Reverend Coles.

Research and resources are available here:

by Liz Jaques 10/10/18

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