Anthemic, preference-shifting brand campaigns have been the cornerstone of consumer packaged goods marketing for decades. It’s how the biggest names in CPG are built.
But in my past life as a seasoned CPG marketing leader, I have had a front-row seat to see smaller, digital-first brands increasingly steal share from our longtime stalwarts. Still, it felt risky to shift to something new. As the saying goes, “No one ever got fired for running TV.”
However, a slower pace of change often translates to an overreliance on traditional media. According to the largest academic study of long-term brand-building effectiveness by Oxford University’s Said Business School and data analytics company Kantar Group, the average campaign could have been 260% more effective with a different media plan. And with shoppers switching brands at unprecedented rates, the competition for loyalty is fiercer than ever.
It’s time to recalibrate the traditional marketing mix.
Building a brand requires focus
What’s the one thing you need your campaign to accomplish?
A 2021 analysis by Said Business School looked at $13 billion of global media investment over a decade from Kantar’s CrossMedia campaign effectiveness database. It concluded that campaigns should be designed for only one precise brand outcome—for example, to increase awareness, or association, or consideration or motivation.
Resist the urge to think of any single campaign as multiobjective. After all, you can run multiple campaigns at the same time, focused on different objectives that work together.
Improving channel mix for greater effectiveness
As the study attests, variation across voices, channels and assets are needed to deliver the right mix for different levels of attention.
This is unique to every business, of course. But digging deeper, we see that most campaigns could have achieved greater effectiveness by allocating less to TV. While TV is an effective bedrock, no single channel should dominate your mix. Analysis of the Kantar CrossMedia database shows that a good rule of thumb to maximize effectiveness of multimedia campaigns is to ensure no channel commands more than 50% of spend.
Moving association through relevance
Brand relevance is one of the biggest drivers of preference, but associations can be difficult to create or shift. With the tools we have available to us now, however, we can build new connections between brands and new audiences.
People naturally have a better experience with content that feels relevant to them. Across Facebook apps, we’re seeing a variety of personally relevant approaches working well. For example:
- Creators and influencers: A global study conducted by our marketing science team showed that two voices—for example, a brand plus a relatable influencer —work better than one to raise CPG favorability metrics across Facebook apps and services.
- Deeper stories: Leveraging longer-format placements like in-stream video ads can drive greater positive brand outcomes. Additionally, it allows brands to connect with audiences while they are watching content from familiar publishers and creators.
- Interactivity: Testing innovative formats like live shopping, augmented reality experiences, polling and messaging can help deepen connections between people and brands.
Putting media to the test
A U.S. sports drink brand wanted to understand the full impact of its media. So, in partnership with Facebook, it participated in a third-party research study with Kantar.
In the analysis that looked back over two years of its media activations across all channels, results found that Facebook and Instagram are effective and efficient channels at driving long-term brand equity. Collectively, the apps were the second highest contributor to unaided brand awareness and preference, second only to TV.
Brand building drives long-term performance
While the tools of the trade evolve quickly, the core concepts remain the same: Driving brand equity is key to lasting success for any brand. Today’s marketers can make long-term branding work for them by:
- Designing brand campaigns for a precise brand outcome such as awareness, association consideration or motivation (aka, conversation).
- Harnessing the power of association through relevance across Facebook apps and services with influencers, deeper stories and interactivity.
- Reevaluating the weight of Facebook and Instagram in your media mix, since they can be effective and efficient channels to build long-term brand equity.
To explore ways to digitize shopper marketing to build brand equity, drive product discovery and enable frictionless checkout, visit our CPG Performance Marketing hub.