Sunday, October 12, 2008

Branding’s Death Seems A Bit Premature

Last week in the trades, branding was declared to be DOA.

The reason? With the economy tanking, advertisers will want to only spend against accountable forms of media that deliver immediate results, i.e. sales, rather than attempting to build long-term relationships , i.e. branding.

In other words, in this economy of accountability, branding is dead.

My problem with this argument is that it’s based on an assumption that branding isn’t accountable. Doesn’t this depend on how one defines branding?

According to some, myself included, branding is about building a relationship over time. Fortunately, the one thing that can be measured on the Digital Platform is time. Not just time bought by the advertiser, mind you. But rather, time-spent by the viewer with individual brand messages.

If time must be spent to build a relationship, and time-spent with brand messages can now be measured, is it not fair to assume that an advertiser’s brand-building efforts can now be quantified?

This aspect of measuring time-spent is allowing marketers to capture the return on their production dollars spent. If a marketer creates a sixty-second spot of which more is watched rather than less, the return on that effort is greater than the spot in which less is watched.

In other words, every commercial has its own gross amount of time that an audience can experience the brand. The amount of time that the advertiser nets from viewers is where brands are built. You can consider viewer net time spent as a form of ROI, or Return on Involvement on production dollars incurred.

Clearly, how the audience reacts to that brand message is also important. But, in the Digital Marketplace, it's becoming clear is that this is not the only thing that matters anymore.

By trying to equate the success of branding solely on sales results is a form of analog thinking in a world that has gone digital. We now have more precise ways to measure success.

Including the success of branding.

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