Coordinating media to build brand equity

Marketers sometimes must explicitly tie marketing communications together to create or enhance brand equity to develop effective integrated marketing communication programs.

To build brand equity, communication effects created by advertising must be linked to the brand. Often, such links are difficult to create because of:

Competitive Clutter:

Competing ads in the product category can create “interference” and consumer confusion as to which ad goes with which brand. When Eveready launched a clever ad campaign for Energizer featuring a pink toy bunny that kept on “going and going … going”, 40% mistakenly attributed it to Eveready’s main competitor, Duracell.

Ad Content and Structure:

Although “borrowed interest” tactics may grab consumers’ attention the resulting processing may not create strong brand association. When the popular actor James Garner was advertising was advertising for Polaroid, marketing research surveys rou9tinely noted that interview respondents mistakenly attributed his promotion to Kodak, its chief competitor. Delaying brand identification or providing few brand mentions in an ad may raise processing intensity but result in attention directed away from thinking about the brand, contributing to weak brand links.

Consumer Involvement:

Consumers may not have any inherent interest in the product or service category or may lack knowledge of the specific brand. The resulting decrease in consumer motivation and ability to process also translates to weaker brand links.

Advertising may “work” in the sense that communication effects are stored in memory. Yet advertising may ‘fall’ in the sense that these communication effects are not accessible when consumers make critical brand-related decisions. To address this problem, one common tactic is to make the brand name and package information in the ad. Unfortunately although consumers are better able to recall the advertised brand with this tactic, there is less other information about the brand to actually recall. Three potentially more effective strategies are brand signatures, ad retrieval cues, and media interactions.

The brand signature is the manner by which the brand is identified at the conclusion of a TV or radio ad or displayed within a print ad. An effective brand signature provides a seamless connection to the ad as a whole. For example, the famous “Got milk?” campaign always displayed that tagline or slogan in a manner fitting the ad (e.g. in flames for the “yuppie in hell” ad or in primary school print for the “school lunchroom bully” ad).

An advertising retrieval cue is a key visual, a catchy slogan, or any unique advertising element that serves as an effective reminder to consumers. Everyday featured a picture of the pink bunny character on the packages of Energizer batteries to reduce confusion with Duracell. Ad retrieval cues can be placed in the store (on the package or as part of a shelf-talker or some other point-of-purchase device), combined with a promotion (an FSI coupon), included as part of a yellow pages directory listing or embedded in any marketing communication option where recall of communication effects can be advantageous.

Print and radio reinforcement of TV ads – where the video and audio components of a TV ad serve as the basis for other types of ads can be an effective means to leverage existing communication effects from TV ad exposure and more strongly link them to the brand. A potentially useful, although rarely employed, media strategy is to run explicitly linked print or radio ads prior to the accompany TV ad. The print and radio ads increase consumer motivation to process the more “complete” TV ad.