Branding Badly

The folks over at Millward Brown Digital conducted a survey of marketing executives to assess how well digital media are doing with respect to satisfying brand objectives.

English: A business ideally is continually see...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The results are less than encouraging:

According to a 2014 Millward Brown Digital study, current digital advertising spending trends show that digital marketers fairly evenly allocate budget across ad formats.  However, the majority of digital marketers say that digital advertising hasn’t lived up to its promise and feel that branding ads bought via programmatic methods raise concerns.  They are searching for the best way to connect with consumers on an emotional level to bridge the delta between the branding promise of digital and real-world success.

In fact, 50% say they somewhat/strongly agree with this statement:

“Digital held promise for brand marketers, but for all its promise, it has never delivered as a branding vehicle.”

I see data like that and I wonder sometimes if they’re not like the person who complains about how bad a shoe is at driving nails into a wall to hang pictures.  Maybe you’re using an excellent tool for an incorrect purpose.  Let’s dig into the data a bit.  You have 88% of the respondents saying that making emotional connections would encourage them to spend more on digital branding ad formats. So in order to do that, 37% spend money on “in-game, emotionally-targeted ads.”  These would be ads that run when the player achieves something.  Yep, nothing like feeling good about having the game experience interrupted by a branded message, especially when you’re seeking help or just did something great.  43% run just plain in-game ads.  48% run SMS/text ads.  You see where this is heading?

If you want to establish emotional connections, behave as if you have respect for the customer’s emotions.  77% report running social media ads.  One can’t help but wonder if these paid efforts undermine the good work many brands do in social by transforming what can be a conversation between friends into an intrusive selling experience.

The study also talks about programmatic buying.  30% think that ads bought through programmatic methods negate customer experiences, brand loyalty or branding objectives yet they continue to use it.  So is it the media which are at fault or those who use it incorrectly?

For all the money being spent in digital, it’s still relatively new and that spending to brand may not be optimally done.  I don’t like statements such as the one above which places digital’s promise as  branding media in the past tense.  Am I off base here?


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Filed under Consulting, digital media

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