In 2006, we launched the Millward Brown Point of View series with “Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad DVR?” by Nigel Hollis. In that POV, in the face of considerable concern that DVRs would enabIe viewers to avoid TV advertising and render it worthless, Nigel suggested that panic was uncalled for. DVRs, he said, would not lead to “the end of TV advertising as we know it.”
Businesses spend a lot of money on brand communications because they know that effective communications are vital to brand health and wealth. The imperative is to build brand preference among consumers and to hold onto it in the long term. But the risk is greater than ever that communication will not hit home or that it will be counteracted by uncontrolled influences.
The last few years have seen some massive changes in our world. The financial bubble that reached its peak in 2007 popped, leaving us to enjoy what has been dubbed "The Great Recession" The Dow Jones plummeted, along with consumer confidence. The subsequent road to recovery has proved to be long and uncertain.
We all know the trends: population growth, consumption growth, resource depletion, water shortages, and climate change. It seems that right now we are at a tipping point. Will we be able to turn things around, live within the planet’s means, and guarantee that our grandchildren have the same quality of life that we do? It is frightening to think that the answer might be no. Yet as individuals we feel helpless in the face of such huge systemic problems.
At a recent ARF conference, Stan Sthanunathan of Coca-Cola exhorted the
market research industry to move beyond understanding consumer needs to
understanding consumer motivations. If we are to accomplish this, we
need to go beyond observed behaviors and their attendant inferences to
truly immerse ourselves in the “why”: why consumers choose one brand
over another; why they decide to “like” something on Facebook; why they
buy certain products at certain stores.
Perceptions about a brand’s values, personality, and heritage all factor
into consumer sentiment toward a brand. Typically, price is seen as
something separate and distinct from other elements of brand equity, a
factor that consumers weigh against their feelings about a brand.
The book How Brands Grow by Professor Byron Sharp and the researchers of the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute makes an important contribution to the science and practice of marketing. We find ourselves in agreement with the authors on many of their key points.
Imagine a time when you are shopping for a television, refrigerator,
car, or personal care product, and you find that the brand you aspire to
own (not the one you choose because it is offered at the lowest price)
is a Chinese-designed brand.
On October 18, 2010, the top story in The Wall Street Journal pronounced, “Apple Inc. posted a 70% surge in quarterly earnings … the latest sign that CEO Steve Jobs’s gamble on consumer gadgets is paying off.”
As consumers choose between brands, they look for compelling reasons to help them make those decisions. After examining thousands of brands from around the world, we’ve observed that the most successful ones share common characteristics. Brands with a meaningful point of difference are more likely to be chosen repeatedly by consumers and to ultimately enjoy success.
You know that, as a brand manager, you are responsible for the most
important asset in your organization. But does your finance team see it
that way? To them, this seemingly obvious assertion may seem as
implausible as Darwin’s announcement that humans were descended from
apes. “Where’s the proof?” they cry.
The successful creation and management of brands will be the hallmark of business leadership in the 21st century. Does that sound bold?
As economies recover around the world, global marketers face new challenges in relating to consumers. A new post-recession era is dawning. Consumers have revised their priorities, and advertising needs to speak differently to these consumers in the years to come if brands are to survive and thrive.
Advertisers talk a lot about the importance of generating an emotional response from people. However, they rarely stop to specify exactly what characterizes such a response or why they believe it is important.
Marketers want people to get closer to their brands, but retailers have always owned the direct relationship with shoppers. Retailers diligently research shopper needs, motivations, and behaviors to find ways to improve the experiences of people visiting their stores, but they do this more for their own benefit than for any individual brand (save their own private labels).
The merits of neuroscience-based techniques continue to spark debate. New papers and articles persist in asserting that scientists’ increased understanding of the brain will change marketing and the way we measure its results.
Technology is changing faster than human nature. This is a fact that marketers would do well to remember when they want an online video to go viral. Compared to traditional paid TV advertising, encouraging people to pass on a video to friends and family is highly attractive in these budget-constrained times.
The last couple of years have seen some massive changes in our world. The financial bubble that reached its peak in 2007 popped, leaving us to enjoy what has been dubbed “The Great Recession.” The Dow Jones plummeted, along with consumer confidence.
In July 2009, U.S. President Barack Obama visited Ghana, and for a few brief days the world’s attention focused on Africa. Coming from the region of the world that has traditionally been known for war, famine, and disease, the images of America’s first black president visiting the continent where his father was born caused many to view Africa in a new and thought-provoking light.
As the focus of global business shifts firmly to the BRIC economies, marketers and advertisers face an increasing need to understand the marketing environments in those countries. What brands do their consumers desire? What advertising resonates within their borders?