There are some who believe that direct response results are evident from available data.
The results of branding, on the other hand, are too amorphous to quantify. Yes, in the past we have relied on brand awareness and favorability as key performance indicators of branding’s success.
But neither directly indicates success as well as direct response results.
So how can we better measure branding?
To answer that, the industry first needs to agree on a definition of what branding is. To put it lightly, there seems to be some confusion on this issue.
I’ve always looked at it like this. The objective of branding and direct response is the same.
The result just happens over different time frames.
While direct response is immediate, branding is about building a relationship over time. The more time spent together, the stronger the relationship.
If this it true, it seems to indicate that a branding effort should be able to be measured by time spent together.
Fortunately, we can now measure the amount of time a consumer spends with our advertising. We can measure the amount of time that they spend with our websites. We can measure the amount of time they spend socializing about us.
The question we should be asking is how much time spent is needed by a consumer before they decide to purchase?
And, once we know that, then we should figure out how to best create that time spent?
Which changes the immediate objective of any advertising – outside of direct response – from that of sales - to that of being able to create time spent with the consumer.
If you create a :30 spot, you want more of those thirty seconds consumed by a consumer than less. The more time the consumer willingly spends with your commercial, the more valuable that commercial is to you.
The more valuable the commercial is to you as a marketer, the more valuable it should be to the agency that created it for you.
This means that agencies should be paid based on how much time spent they create for their clients.
Not on how much time they spend creating the advertising. But on how much time the consumer spends with the advertising they created.
Paying this way, on what we call viewer time sheets, changes the way advertising is created.
It changes the way advertising works.
It changes the way we think of branding.
And, perhaps most importantly, the way that we measure and pay for it.