When Web Branding Works

Dynamic Logic's Data Offers Tips For Online Brand Builders

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Want to craft an effective online branding campaign? Think pictures, not words. Keep it simple. And tie it in with your offline efforts.

According to Dynamic Logic, Kraft had four of the most effective brand campaigns, with creative and media for Oreo and Kraft Singles scoring high marks in both awareness and persuasiveness.

Those are some of the common strategies behind eight campaigns Dynamic Logic found to be the most effective online branding efforts out of all the campaigns the company measured in 2006.

Kraft had four of the most effective brand campaigns, with creative and media for Oreo, Honey Bunches of Oats, Kraft Singles and Crystal Light On the Go scoring high marks in both awareness and persuasiveness. Other marketers bestowed with most-effective honors include Unilever, BMW, McDonald's and Luxottica Group for its Ray-Ban brand.

Common features
The winners share several traits, said Michelle Eule, VP-research at Dynamic Logic, which is part of WPP's Millward Brown. For starters, they kept the ads simple, with great visual elements and little text.

"These ads are competing with a lot of other elements to grab the user's attention," Ms. Eule said. "If the messaging is too complex or esoteric, people will not pay attention at all or not get the messaging in its entirety."

These eight are not an absolute measure of the best online campaigns of 2006 as the results were culled from only the 600-plus campaigns for more than 400 brands Dynamic Logic was tapped to measure last year. The study didn't include campaigns that have never been measured or were measured by another firm, such as Insight Express. Kraft, for example, is a big Dynamic Logic client and may have had more campaigns among those measured than another advertiser.

Unexplored metrics
While the online space is considered a performance marketer's dream, thanks to the ability to measure effectiveness based on actions such as clicks or conversions, those metrics don't always mesh with brand marketers' goals, which include measures such as awareness, recall and likelihood to purchase, which is what Dynamic Logic aims to capture through controlled exposure studies.

In this particular list, Dynamic Logic first considered awareness, with the top-performing campaigns garnering between 18% to 43% gains, and then looked at persuasiveness, with the eight campaigns listed here all falling into the top quintile in terms of that metric. They also all had positive brand impact, the firm said. Ms. Eule said it's difficult for an online campaign to successfully capture all of those things and credited the prominence of the branding and the products in the ad as being major drivers of awareness.

One key to success in the interactive space is, naturally, interactivity. (While that seems obvious, it's still common to see marketers that fail to take advantage of this attribute.) The McDonald's campaign, from Tribal DDB, Chicago and OMD Chicago, for its Asian salad allowed users to mouse over the ingredients to see exactly what each one was. Kraft's campaign for Crystal Light On the Go, from Modem Media, let users shake a water bottle after the powdery mix had been added -- to virtually mix the drink.

Importance of video
Many of the top campaigns also incorporated video. And it wasn't limited to pre-roll and interstitial ads but also made use of technologies such as running video within banner or display ads. Kraft did a particularly good job of this, Ms. Eule said, with its Oreo ad, from Modem Media, featuring three ballerinas dunking cookies into milk -- a 15-second re-edited version of a TV ad.

And that example pointed to another trait the top campaigns shared: consistency with offline ads.

"Video units consistent with TV likely helped," said Ms. Eule, who suggested Dove's Super Bowl ad about its Self-Esteem Fund, from MindShare, New York and Ogilvy and Ryan Interactive, helped give the online campaign a jumpstart.

The right ingredients for online ads

What the top campaigns had in common:
  • Keep it visually simple. Stick to little text and beautiful product shots. Online ads "are competing with a lot of other elements," said Michelle Eule, VP-research at Dynamic Logic.
  • Put the brand front and center.
  • Align online and offline campaigns. What's happening in other media can reinforce the online message and vice versa.
  • Incorporate video and rich media: McDonald's salad spun. Oreo cookies dunked. And try out various video units—pre-roll, full-page interstitials, in-banner video.
  • Add interactivity. Kraft let users virtually mix its Crystal Light On the Go product into a bottle of water.
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