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Digital data vs brand effectiveness: why you can’t afford to get it wrong

Digital channels give marketing communications professionals access to more data, measurability and accountability than ever before. But beware the attraction of moving to a digital-only strategy at the expense of building your brand effectiveness – the key to longer-term sales success. 

Helping sales to flourish
The purpose of marketing communications is ultimately about achieving sales, so the functional activity of marcomms should be designed around creating an environment that makes it easy for sales teams to flourish. Building brand reputation is a critically important part of the sales mix. Brands that are too focused on tactical activity are in danger of using up their brand equity. And while this may not be noticeable in the short term, it can cause huge problems further down the line.

A diet of digital alone
The temptation to focus on digital activity at the expense of wider brand building projects is strong. Digital gives the instant feedback and detailed results that make it possible to produce reports that appear valuable. Print, radio, large format advertising, events and even PR can find it harder to prove their worth, but it is this sort of activity which helps to raise awareness of a brand, improve its reputation, and ensure that customers know exactly what a brand stands for. And while it is almost impossible to prove, it is the resulting brand equity that makes the environment successful for tactical activity. As Adidas has found, a diet of digital alone is as unhealthy (and yet also as tempting) as having cheesy chips at every meal. 

The Brand Bank
Consider this through the metaphor of the Brand Bank. Over the years, paying into your Brand Bank account helps to build up your balance, providing a savings account of brand reputation. This investment in your brand is like putting money aside into a savings account. You can draw down against this on a rainy day – when you’re looking for a short term uplift in sales for example. But it can also help you to weather a longer storm. If a significant issue arises, having enough equity in your Brand Bank to withstand a reputation hit is crucial to a brand’s long-term survival.

While this seems like common sense, our preoccupation with measurement can leave this argument floundering among the rocks of social media reactions or email click rates. So how do you measure brand equity? It is possible, it’s just not as straightforward as tactical campaign metrics. 

Measuring the unmeasurable
Conducting brand opinion surveys, investigating spontaneous and prompted brand recognition, and undertaking customer knowledge or perception interviews are all ways that can help to paint the picture of what your brand is worth. The difficulty comes in pinning these results to any specific brand activity. Of course, the true measure is how well your brand survives over time, but in today’s world of immediate satisfaction, few have the patience for such an intangible, long-term metric. 

 

Want to know how to build your brand equity and prove its worth? Contact Rachel Arquati on +44 (0)1285 626000 or r.arquati@clearb2b.com

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