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The Smart Way to Find and Activate Your Brand Fans

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Credit: Turner Ignite

Connecting emotionally with a desired audience is the ultimate goal for any marketer. Unfortunately, all too often, the media supply chain is effectively broken, with ad experiences rarely matching true consumer needs. Why in this era of data and personalization tech tools is it so hard to connect in a meaningful way?

Perhaps it's the tens of thousands of ads the average consumer sees almost every single day. Or maybe it's the plethora of retail choices, from endless online aisles to hard discounters. Then there is the allure of big data offering more demos, context, attitudes and purchase behavior. Even more perplexing is that while marketers possess the data to personalize at scale, far too many brands continue to cast a broad net into a fragmented marketplace, hoping their audience bumps into their message. With so much focus on short-term, quarter-to-quarter results, the bigger picture is missing.

But what if marketers and media partners could work together to identify the places where the balance of mass reach with personalization is not only doable, but turns out to be the right tactic to get your brand in front of engaged consumers?

The right place to start is for a media partner to understand what challenges a brand is facing, and what a campaign's objectives are. Whether it is acquiring new customers, driving trial or growing share and loyalty, successful campaigns start by proactively understanding your consumers first. More importantly, it's understanding which consumers are already open to hearing your message and are already invested in your brand. Answering these two questions can lead you to a smarter approach:

  • Who are those engaged consumers (i.e. brand fans) that are emotionally attached and unwilling to give up the brand?
  • How does your brand compare to competitors? And why?

Brand fans are the lifeblood of any business and drive a disproportionate amount of sales and profitability. Typically, only about 15% of customers are true fans, emotionally connected or unwilling to give up a brand. More important, in today's always-on, digital environment, brand fans are 50% more attentive to brand ads and 40% more likely to share their experiences and influence others. In effect, focusing on these brand fans increases penetration through advocacy at the same time they are driving brand volume. A brand can use this link to drive growth in a declining category, convert brand moderates to fans or activate brand fans to reinforce a brand's message and value.

Fans Drive Growth
The more emotionally attached an audience is to a brand, the more responsive they are to advertising. Emotion-based targeting is more likely to influence behavior in your favor.
Emotional Attachment Outcomes
Sales Lift per Exposed HH % of Total Incremental $
High +5.2% 52%
Medium +4.9% 40%
Low +4.1% 8%
Source: Nielsen Catalina

The Right Media Partner Can Help You Find Your Brand Fans

By evaluating the link between brand fans and the media they are also emotionally attached to and unwilling to give up, a marketer can identify channels and content where its campaign will resonate. Traditionally, "emotion" is not something easily measured and scaled. But, in today's data-driven environment, if you can't measure what you are doing, then why bother?

To address this issue, Turner has partnered with LEAP Media Investments. LEAP's patented approach taps into right-brain brand-bonding behaviors, and captures buying behavior, lifetime value and segment profitability potential. This allows us to optimize the audience at the start of the process. By immediately linking brand fans to Turner fans, we can understand our audience well beyond basic demographics to include attitudes, beliefs, cultural attributes and lifestyles. These essential brand insights integrate and scale in real time and enable a more compelling ad experience in context.

It's not just the size of the audience, but the quality that matters. Marketers should assess the quality of a program's audience to align brand objectives to a media plan. Some programs are simply more suited to building awareness versus reaching brand fans. It's critical to know the difference. For example, a marketer with multiple products in one portfolio can reach a higher percentage of existing brand fans for one of those products if it places ads in programming in which those brand fans are already engaged.

Emotional Attachment Can Be Measured for Brands and Programming
Using LEAP's methods, Turner can measure consumers' emotional attachment to both brands and programming, so marketers can drill down and target brand fans through programming for which they also have an affinity. This cross-referencing can lead to some surprising discoveries. For example, this marketer discovered that while the top two brands within its portfolio both aligned with NBA on TNT, the secondary brand had a much stronger affinity, making the NBA on TNT a more effective vehicle for reaching brand fans.
% of Brand Fans Unwilling to Give up the NBA on TNT
Source: LEAP, Turner Ignite

With the growth of social and mobile platforms, another underleveraged opportunity is capitalizing on brand fans' propensity to share experiences by linking linear campaigns to digital engagement. Turner's social optimization capability Launchpad mines brand fan social media behavior to understand their most common interests and even affinity to TV. For instance, a brand may find that through its social audiences that its brand fans have an affinity for Comic-Con, basketball and video games. These are three additional touchpoints to keep your brand top-of-mind. At Turner, we know that fans of Comic-Con also have an affinity for TBS, truTV and Adult Swim; and while it's not surprising that basketball fans gravitate towards the NBA on TNT and Bleacher Report, video gamers have an affinity for Cartoon Network, Adult Swim and Bleacher Report. Ultimately, the passion that fuels fan behavior does not turn on or off, it's always there, and it's up to marketers and media companies to understand these unique relationships by leveraging the tools available.

Take a Longer-Term Approach to Ad Planning and Execution

Understanding brand fans and exploring their affinities leads to delivering a more relevant and personalized ad experience on an emotional level. Leverage insights and share them with your media partners, so they can understand the bigger picture, and then align on mutual objectives. More important, this provides the means to build and execute a longer-term ad strategy that ties back to brand objectives.

With the explosion of data and tools to understand consumers anytime and anywhere, there is a greater need for organizations to collaborate with a transparent mindset. Understanding there will always be different metrics across the media supply chain, optimizing for the forest as opposed to the trees is the key to success.

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Turner, a WarnerMedia company, is a global entertainment, sports and news company that creates premium content and delivers exceptional experiences to fans whenever and wherever they consume content. These efforts are fueled by data-driven insights and industry-leading technology. Turner owns and operates some of the most valuable brands in the world, including Adult Swim, Bleacher Report, Boomerang, Cartoon Network, CNN, ELEAGUE, Great Big Story, HLN, iStreamPlanet, TBS, Turner Classic Movies (TCM), TNT, truTV and Turner Sports.
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