Shake it up – unleash your creativity!

Megan Savage
Director Knowledge & Best Practice (Comms)
Kantar TNS - Kantar Millward Brown
Megan.Savage@millwardbrown.com

You cannot disrupt the status quo if no one knows what you have to offer. Disruptive brands do not advertise, the pundits say. They don’t have to; the media are more than happy to promote them. But, once they become established or the competition catches up, they too turn to advertising. Google, Netflix and Amazon all now advertise their services.

And the sad truth is, that unless you are lucky enough to work in a category like mobile phones or sneakers, few people are interested in your brand. So even if your brand does or offers something that is disruptive or meaningfully different, it will be more likely to be talked about than the competition … but only so much. Most conventional brands will still need to find a way to publicize what they have to offer.

Creating an impact
Indeed, you can have the greatest proposition in the world but, unless you can draw attention to it with strong marketing, it will not deliver growth. Our learnings have shown that, for established brands, investing in high quality creative is most likely to impact revenue in the short-term, followed by media integration and then budget allocation.

Investing in high quality creative means developing advertising that cuts through, is linked to your brand, and builds brand associations and desire. It is this “effective” share of voice that best explains changes in share, not simply the absolute levels of media spend.

One of the strongest defining characteristics of effective, award-winning campaigns is that people find them to be different from other ads. The ads themselves create a sense of disruption, something unexpected; they stand out from the crowd and make people want to talk about them. On average, strong campaigns generate nearly 11 times more tweets per dollar invested than do weak campaigns.

Brands can also increase their chances of developing successfully disruptive communications if they place the brand’s core promise or platform at the heart of all marketing efforts. Think Red Bull “Gives you wings”, and their association with Felix Baumgartner’s Supersonic Freefall; or Skip’s “Dirt is Good” and their partnership with schools across the globe to create “Outdoor Classroom Day”.

Stepping away from an established communications strategy is not easy, but if your existing campaign cannot lend itself to the task of perceived disruption, it may be better to make the change; provided there is due diligence to ensure such change will be effective.

Media integration
Kantar Millward Brown’s “AdReaction: The art of integration” report finds that a substantial proportion of marketing campaigns are not well integrated. They fail to use the same executional idea across channels, meaning they miss out on the chance to benefit from cross-media synergies, which are particularly important for new campaigns.

Analysis of our CrossMedia database finds that integrated campaigns have over 30 percent more impact than unintegrated campaigns. But, the real benefit comes from taking the same idea and customizing the executions to work well in each channel. Such campaigns generate over 50 percent more impact.

Fast feedback
But things can of course fail to go according to plan. Whilst everyone hopes a new initiative or campaign will work, even Amazon’s Jeff Bezos recognizes that sometimes, efforts can go off-piste, but “If you’re good at course correcting, being wrong may be less costly than you think, whereas being slow is going to be expensive for sure”.

Fast feedback is therefore essential when brands are targeting disruptive activations, enabling them to course-correct quickly and thus mitigate cost. Yes, short-term profitability will be affected if things don’t work out as intended, but the longerterm cost of playing it too safe could be far greater.

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