With more money invested in digital and budgets put under the microscope, the pressure is on for brands to prove their worth at every step of the customer journey. This has led to an evolution into performance-driven avenues, but to be successful in modern marketing it’s an art and a science – you have to know how to build a brand at the top of the funnel and drive conversion at the bottom. .
Speaking at The Drum’s Festival of Creative Transformation, as part of the “Brand vs. Michelob Ultra) at Anheuser-Busch InBev, explored how brand marketing and performance marketing can work better together.
Watch the full “Brand Against Performance – The Creatives’ Cursed Conversation” here.
For brands, digital offers much greater visibility of performance, in terms of engagement – which allows marketers to see in real time what works and what does not, to be able to adapt their creation to result. But the fundamentals of brand building haven’t changed.
“You need strong brand positioning that resolves deep consumer tension – and the criteria for great creativity haven’t changed,” Oppy said. “We are talking about the four Cs of creation: it must be clear, compelling, consistent and it must be effective. I love the fact that we can put numbers behind the creation. Marketing has always been about science and art – and it’s important that as marketers we use it as a data point, but don’t lose our intuition when bringing in creatives.
With more rigorous privacy and regulatory changes in the digital landscape, Trout believes more attention will need to be paid to creative execution and the context has come full circle.
“Ensuring that your brand’s executions work in a contextual way will be as important as anything else and that means more pressure to produce high-quality executions on a consistent basis,” Trout said. “Creativity at the heart of everything and the ability to react will be the cornerstone of successful campaigns. The return path data, which we haven’t been able to get in mainstream media, gives you the opportunity to reach new pockets of audiences that may not have been identified as targets in the past. ‘origin – so your ability to quickly shoot creative performances and get them where those audiences congregate becomes much more important.
Marketers need to be smarter about how they use their first-party data to inform better creations and content tailored to the audience segment, which is critical to making ads more engaging in the digital ecosystem.
With much more data available and better tools to leverage that data, brands can make smarter, more informed choices that will help drive better creative optimization. By using purpose-tailored technology to run and deliver these campaigns, brands will see the real benefit of this workflow transformation.
“There are existing workflows that take creative resources to where they need to be in more traditional media – which is a well-prepared machine,” Trout said. “Whereas in digital, the whole landscape has developed so rapidly that it is unregulated, which makes standardization quite difficult to achieve. There is no well-established, reliable way to rapidly turn assets – investments must be made in automating these workflows to deliver visibility, speed and accuracy.
A more connected circular ecosystem
Trout and Oppy highlighted how Nike, Dove, Apple, and Burger King do a remarkable job of building a brand at the top of the funnel while improving performance at the bottom.
“As a modern marketer, you have to know how to lead the top and bottom of the funnel,” Oppy said. “One of the dangers – especially for DTC companies – is that everyone is trying to optimize with the same algorithms and you’re going to peak at some point unless you build a strong brand. [It’s about] truly understand where people are in the funnel consumer journey and create a more connected circular ecosystem to bring people into your brand ecosystem and make sure you deliver the right message in the right place in the right place moment.
Creative excellence in execution is paramount. It starts from the final edit to how it appears onscreen to consumers, including device optimization.
“These are really important details that are often overlooked,” Trout said. “Each user has to be tailor-made – creative execution has to be created and delivered that way. If you don’t present it to the right people at the right time, you’ve wasted all your money building it first. Creative optimization is really important, so be curious and ask for visibility on where your creative resources end up. Balancing the return path data with the ability to tune live campaigns requires good workflow automation so that it can become a seamless and accurate process.
“We need to put consumers first and treat them not just as consumers but as people – and create designs that connect emotionally with those people,” Oppy concluded. “Let’s take the data and listen to what people are saying. Really work with your partners and digital platforms to understand their tools and make sure your creative content is native to that platform to be truly effective.
Watch the key points from the “Brand vs. Performance – The Creatives’ Darn Conversation” panel session here.