StopPress readers say brand-building is under-rated by marketers

The second instalment of findings from last month’s StopPress/TRA survey are out. We asked readers for their opinions on everything from the effectiveness of recent campaigns to the most under-rated marketing disciplines, and this time we look at what they think is currently most under-rated by marketers.

The majority of respondents (31 percent) said brand-building is most currently under-rated by marketers, followed by UX (user experience) and then cultural strategy, while banner advertising and shopper marketing sat at the bottom of the list. The survey had 124 respondents in backgrounds from freelancer to client organisations. 

The need for brand-building was heard when StopPress spoke with Andrew Barron in April following his appointment as managing director of Interbrand Australia and New Zealand.

Having spent time working overseas, Barron said an area New Zealand can improve is brand‘s position within businesses. Those who continue to delegate it to the marketing team will lose out in the long term to those that put it in the centre and give it a seat at the top table.

“You have to have your CFO, your HR director and so forth all understanding how brand drives growth for the business,” he explained, saying when done so correctly, the brand will inform everything from ad campaigns to innovation and investment in technology.

He offered Lewis Road Creamery as one of the businesses doing it well. It’s a fast-moving company that’s established a strong following of “roadies” and that hasn’t just come from an ad campaign— “it’s true to who they are”.

Taking a look at how businesses should build that brand, Barron said it’s important to have a defining idea, that spans across all the activities of the business.

Be it sustainability or environment-friendly messages, these purposes win over customers but Barron warned it’s not as simple as using a generic set of values or words such as “authentic” or “trusted”.

Brands on screen

While Barron identified brand position as an area of improvement, consideration of brand can be seen in recent mass-reach TV campaigns.

In the NZ Marketing Media issue for 2018, industry players were asked if there was a place for the cinematic TVC and if brands are still willing to play the long-game of identity building.

Angela Bird, managing partner at The Workshop, said she thought it as being in a “kind of” middle ground.

“The pendulum has indeed swung from big brand TV production through to online content and digital production, and I think we are now somewhere in the middle. Brands see the value in good TV production as well as the necessity of being on digital channels.”

According to the article, there is still something about the offline format that has prestige and motivates brand-builders to engage with those mediums.

A recent example is the latest ‘Second Nature’ campaign by DDB for 2degrees which included front and centre a 60-second brand TVC.

StopPress spoke with 2degrees chief marketing officer Roy Ong about how it has been five years since 2degrees launched any major brand work, and Ong explained the telco market is a dynamic and a lot of time is spent marketing price, product or a response to what another telco is doing.

Because of that, it’s never had that single idea connecting everything, and reiterating the importance of one, the campaign was shown to employees so everyone from the marketing and product teams to finance and legal teams can live it.

“This is what we stand for rather than it being a marketing campaign,” said Ong.

Another company focusing on brand storytelling is Lotto—including the recent, ‘Amoured Truck’ campaign that took home the Colmar Brunton ad impact award for February. The tale is the third instalment of the ‘Imagine’ platform, which began with 2015’s ‘Pops’ Gift’, followed by ‘Mum’s Wish’ in 2016.

Lotto chief marketing officer Guy Cousins told StopPress he believes its brand objective will be achieved by telling stories that viewers love.

‘We’ve told some great stories in the past…and it was clear that we had to go back to great storytelling. It’s too easy to bombard people with messaging, but these days people have the option to just screen out. So it’s actually more incumbent on us to tell fantastic stories.”

And more recently, this week Countdown launched a new brand platform via a 60-second TVC called ‘We Can Help With That’, its first campaign with Y&R with support from Ogilvy Media since dropping Ogilvy & Mather after 20 years. 

Debra Brooks, Countdown’s head of brand marketing, says the new brand platform puts the company’s “incredibly committed and hard-working team” front and centre.

“We want to celebrate that commitment and communicate our philosophy to our customers…let’s be proud of that, not just internally but externally too.”

As well as the TVC, Brooks says Countdown worked with the Y&R team to create a new brand and retail platform, brand design and launch campaign.

“We’ve harnessed the musical powers of Supergroove, the dulcet tones of Oscar Kightley and Kirk Torrance, and a cast of really great Kiwi talent to bring our brand to life.”

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