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Why the #1 Problem with Advertising is the Easiest to Fix
May07

Why the #1 Problem with Advertising is the Easiest to Fix

There are an infinite amount of variables that an advertiser can control to maximize the success of a marketing program. It starts with how to position the brand, which media to use and how to allocate the investment. The puzzle is getting even more complex with the emergence of programmatic buying, second screen opportunities, native advertising, social media vehicles, and all of the other trendy tools out there today. But if we step back from all of the trends and all of the intricacies of marketing, what it really comes down to is creative. This is what determines the effectiveness of a marketing campaign (yes, it’s even more important than the amount of money you have to spend). And the number one place where creative falls short is the simplest, but often forgotten task – assuring that those who see an advertisement link it back to the correct brand. That’s right – Brand Linkage is the #1 problem with advertising, and it’s the easiest to fix. Take television for example – 56% of those with proven awareness of a given TV commercial do not know what brand was being advertised. That’s over half of the earned audience members who are essentially wasted. The problem is even worse for media like promotions (67% of those aware don’t know the brand) and radio (78% of those aware don’t know the brand). And unfortunately, based on our research, there’s no subliminal advertising effects. Those who see your ad but don’t link it back to your brand demonstrate the same changes over time (in brand favorability) as those who do not see your ad at all. So how do you fix it? We provide some fundamental solutions in this article, this article and this white paper. Sometimes, it’s as simple as making Brand Linkage a priority in creative development and pre-testing. One of our clients was able to improve Brand Linkage for their portfolio of brands by over 200% over a 9 year period of working with Communicus, just by changing the way that the organization thinks about creative. Just think of all of the marketing dollars you could not be...

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Super Bowl advertisers may resort to ‘guerrilla’ means to get eyes
Jan30

Super Bowl advertisers may resort to ‘guerrilla’ means to get eyes

In the high-stakes battle between advertisers at this year’s Super Bowl, top corporate brands such as Budweiser, Doritos and Pepsi are once again spending record amounts for precious time during Sunday’s big game. But some researchers and advertising veterans say a more low-key guerrilla marketing campaign might be a better option for companies who want to piggyback on the Super Bowl’s shoulder pads without breaking their ad budgets for the rest of the decade. Communicus’ Jeri Smith weighs in. Click HERE for...

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How Brands Can Survive the Private Label Threat
Jun03

How Brands Can Survive the Private Label Threat

A new Deloitte study confirms what brand marketers are already sensing: The buyers lost to private label brands during the recession don’t seem to be coming back. There are several trends that have contributed to this dynamic. First, the perceived quality of private label brands has improved, at least in the mind of the consumer. Many shoppers have decided that these money-saving brands still deliver a perfectly adequate product. At the same time, perceived differentiation between major brands has started to fade. A number of studies, including those conducted by Communicus, suggest that growing numbers of consumers are unable to identify meaningful differences between Major Brand A and Major Brand B. If you can’t tell how Brand A is better than Brand B, why should you feel that these are any different than private label brands? We know from our research that advertising is critical to building and maintaining brand differentiation. Countless research studies have confirmed that advertising has the power to build important imagery dimensions for brands. Moreover, among those who go as briefly as a few months without seeing your advertising, brand perceptions can decline precipitously. Another potentially negative pressure on brand differentiation is the way advertisers embrace new media. While forward-looking advertisers love the conversational opportunities that are inherent in Facebook, Twitter and other social media venues, real-time engagement may prove to be a brand’s downfall. As brands become more reactive, commenting on external events and consumer experiences, the brand’s identity risks becoming lost in the conversation. Brands that work too hard to be ‘just like you’ may lose the distinctive characteristics that made the consumer love them in the first place. For brands to survive and thrive in a world in which private labels offer a reasonable quality alternative, the trick will be to use advertising to differentiate without losing your brand’s distinctive voice and persona. It’s not just about creating entertaining advertising, nor participating in every conversation. It’s about standing for something clear and distinctive, and not being shy about that when presenting the brand to...

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Great Expectations: The Truth About Taglines
May22

Great Expectations: The Truth About Taglines

Burger King announced this week that it is moving away from the well-established “Have it Your Way” slogan in favor of its new “Be Your Way” tag. The chain’s senior VP of global brand marketing is quoted in Ad Age saying the move to the new tagline is aimed at “trying to elevate ‘Have it Your Way’ to a state that’s much more emotional” and to facilitate the brand’s revised positioning. Is the advertiser asking a lot of this new tagline? Yes. Is it likely to deliver results? Communicus research suggests that the answer is probably not… The subtly of taglines is often lost on consumers. The brand’s connection to the tag is usually only evident to the marketing team that has developed and read the strategy brief. While some brands have managed to establish well-known and meaningful taglines (“Just Do It” and “Mmm, Mmm Good,” to name two), many brands struggle to develop evocative and salient slogans. The best taglines convey the brand’s differentiating benefit(s) and are strongly tied to the brand – upon hearing it, consumers know what it means and can easily name the brand behind the line. However, establishing these dynamics is not as easy as simply developing a tagline and putting it at the end of your commercials. It typically takes time, consistent usage, and well-supported campaigns aimed specifically at introducing the tagline to consumers. Like any brand-linked equity, developing effective slogans requires both substantial time and financial investment. Burger King is not alone in leveraging a new tagline as part of a brand revitalization or repositioning strategy. The auto industry has a long-standing tradition of creating, and then replacing, brand taglines. JC Penney recently introduced the new “When it fits, you feel it” tagline in an effort to leave its recent turmoil behind. Apple also recently debuted a new “You’re more powerful than you think” tagline in iPhone 5S executions. The effectiveness of these taglines has yet to be seen, but history suggests that there is a minimal chance of these being a home run for any of the sponsoring brands. Can you name the brands behind these slogans? Go Further Find New Roads Confidence in Motion Watch and Discuss Your vision. Our...

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Mike’s Hard Lemonade: Can a Brand Succeed on Digital Alone?
Apr03

Mike’s Hard Lemonade: Can a Brand Succeed on Digital Alone?

Throwing all of its eggs in one basket, Mike’s Hard Lemonade has dedicated ALL of its advertising budget to the digital arena. In the highly competitive market of malt-beverage advertising, focused spending of advertising dollars is a smart move. But what do they stand to lose by abandoning TV? The digital advertising environment provides a wealth of opportunities for exposure, but our experience suggests that digital still struggles to carry the weight of an entire campaign – particularly one that relies on generating new customers. As more of a ‘lean forward’ medium than TV, digital excels at generating involvement among brand fans, but tends to be less successful in achieving what Mike’s needs to accomplish. We’ve found digital advertising to be most successful when creatively integrated with a broad-based offline campaign. Digital campaigns that use broader-based exposure platforms to drive consumers to social media and other earned brand exposures can also be highly impactful, but earned media exposures rarely accomplish the type of broad-based effects that Mike’s needs in order to meet its sales goals. Digital campaigns that are highly cohesive, using a very consistent brand voice and story across the disparate digital platforms, also have a higher likelihood of success. Given the use of multiple agencies on a project basis, Mike’s has set up a substantial challenge in trying to pull off a high degree of cohesion. Mike’s is also embarking on several new products and line extensions this year, but we’ll save that discussion for another...

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