Rachel Smith

In a world that desperately needs to realign to sustainable practices for the sake of its survival, brands must also re-evaluate the longevity of their strategies. Brands with an ‘efficiency over effectiveness’ mantra, in that they focus too much on short-term goals, are the most endangered due to an overemphasis on direct response metrics. This practice often involves a precedent on making sales and coercing the consumer into immediate action, which means that some brands have to continuously employ price cuts and promotions to push consumers through the funnel.

It can be appealing to put a heavy focus on the return of marketing investment, especially to smaller companies who may idealise these short term goals as the best way to keep the business afloat. However, research shows that as short-termism rises, campaign effectiveness decreases¹. Over-reliance on bottom-funnel metrics is shortsighted as brands sacrifice opportunities for cultivating customers and wider brand awareness, which disables the brands forward progression.

Short-termism ultimately results in a race to the bottom, which is not sustainable. Global sports brand Adidas faced this issue four years ago when 77% of their brand attribution model was based on last-click². Their model left them with an over-supply problem, meaning that their products were frequently on promotion, creating price sensitivity. As a result, they were in constant competition with others over price and were forced to sell cheaply as they hadn’t invested in enough brand advertising to fall back on. 

Where is the opportunity?

The opportunity to thrive lies in the perfect balance of long and short-term goals. According to analysts of the marketing landscape, Les Binet and Peter Field, the recommended split for long and short-term goals is 60:40³. This means that brands should focus much more of their resources on brand building (mental brand equity, broad reach and emotional priming etc)  than short-term, tightly targeted goals.  

The importance of brand-building is not groundbreaking stuff but it has perhaps taken a long time to filter through into mainstream strategies. In the early 2000s, previous Saatchi & Saatchi CEO Kevin Roberts, introduced the concept of ‘Lovemarks’⁴. The concept behind Lovemarks proposed a move beyond transactional consumption to create an emotional dynamic between consumers and brands. Roberts referred to this as ‘loyalty beyond reason’. To attain Lovemark status, brands have to achieve both high love and high respect from consumers; because love was believed to be one of the strongest possible emotions that a consumer could feel towards a brand. 

Due to the great variation in the consumer demand for, and the deliberation required in buying products and services, strong brand marketing is a must-have. Many products exist that are less likely to be bought on impulse (such as large kitchen items). When a consumer is in the market for one of these products, it’s conducive to the brand’s success that the consumer is primed and has developed a liking to their brand. Similarly for impulse buys, a consumer will be much more likely to impulse buy a product from a brand that they already have a fondness for, as this reduces the deliberation period and substantiates the purchase. 

Who will survive and thrive?

Kevin Robert’s Lovemarks strategy was previously somewhat disregarded due to the longer-term grafting involved and the presumed difficulting in measuring this type of brand goal. Today these Lovemarks are more valid than ever. Research shows that sixty-five per cent of business revenue comes from existing customers⁵, signifying that a strong emphasis on obtaining and retaining loyal customers is the most valuable way to spend the brand’s resources. The proposed 60:40 ratio corresponds with the statistic that 60% of purchases happen on a case per need⁶, so brand-building is especially important to cater for this. 

A strong brand is also a brilliant buffer against economic uncertainty. Whilst the knee jerk reaction may be to reign in marketing spend and focus more on those already in the funnel, research suggests that this is the wrong strategy. The Institute of Practitioner’s in Advertising 2008 report stated that whilst maintaining or reducing costs was generally the most desirable approach across the business, the opposite was true for marketing costs, in that increased marketing expenditure was associated with business success in hard times⁷. Therefore, to ensure survival in the current context of Brexit and economic contraction, brands must master the correct balance of both brand-building and direct response goals, making sure to allocate sufficient resources to brand-building. A brand who did this gallantly in the UK 2008 recession was Lego, who remain unscathed thanks to a strong following and brand message - in fact, they reached an all-time high of profitability⁸. 

The number of channels accessible to marketers is continuously growing, however, many channels are usually more favourable to either brand building or brand activation effects. Mobile offers a great solution for achieving this delicate balance as it sits in the ideal place for both achieving brand goals and direct response. 

Paul Coggins, CEO of Adludio, “Survival in the media landscape means that the pendulum needs to swing back so that brands deliver goals that invest in the brand long term. The formula for effective advertising is the same now as it’s always been - brilliant creative targeted at the right demographic. What has changed, however, is the proliferation of platforms and technology, resulting in what might be brilliant-creative on one platform not being so great on another. At Adludio, a global advertising scale-up defining the next generation of exciting mobile solutions, we solve this conundrum. As pioneers of sensory and immersive advertising, we create, distribute and optimise campaigns using mobile-first technology that engages people’s senses. Our strong focus on the creative element allows us to create bespoke messaging for brands that compliment both brand building and direct response goals. This facilitates a strong marketing strategy going into 2020.”  


If you would like to learn more about our solutions at Adludio, please drop us an email at hello@adludio. 



1 https://effworks.co.uk/ten-best-charts-binet-field/

2 https://www.marketingweek.com/adidas-marketing-effectiveness/

3 https://www.campaignlive.co.uk/article/binet-field-reveal-key-formulas-brand-building/1495641

4 http://www.saatchikevin.com/lovemarks/future-beyond-brands/

5 https://smallbiztrends.com/2016/10/customer-retention-statistics.html

6 https://www.invespcro.com/blog/impulse-buying/

7 https://www.thedrum.com/opinion/2019/01/21/if-there-s-recession-2019-here-s-what-marketers-should-do

8 https://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/lego-sales-buck-recession-to-hit-all-time-high-1773474.html