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Media Zone: DRTV: The Ultimate Brand Re-Energizer

1 Mar, 2013 By: Timothy R. Hawthorne Response

Why DRTV is the perfect mega-vitamin to re-energize brands and create double-digit lift across various platforms.

Brand advertisers may think they have it “in the bag” when it comes to consumer engagement, loyalty and trust, but what many of them don’t realize is that their brand equity has been sliding downward since the early-1990s. That’s right folks: the Coca-Colas, Mercedes-Benzes and IBMs of the world may look like they have the corner on consumer loyalty and brand awareness, but in reality these popular companies are grappling with many of the same challenges that their smaller counterparts are dealing with.

Some would say that increased competition and more shopping choices have driven the brand equity erosion … or are advertisers just dropping the ball when it comes to testing out newer, more direct consumer touch points? The Young & Rubicam Inc. Brand Asset Valuator (BAV), which has been measuring brand equity across products since 1993, reveals an interesting picture of brand advertisers’ dwindling prowess in the marketplace. Over a 12-year span, “trustworthiness dropped nearly 50 percent, esteem fell by 12 percent, brand quality perceptions fell by 24 percent, and awareness fell by 24 percent.”

But brands with energy have proved the exception to this decline, according to branding expert David Aaker, who in his blog post, Your Brand Needs Energy!, points out that increasing brand energy and attitude, increases stock ROI. “A brand that has insufficient energy has two potential liabilities,” Aaker states. “First, it will lack visibility and it will no longer be among those that come to mind when considering a purchase. It also will be lost in the noise of the environment and no longer be relevant.”

The question is: How do you increase those energy reserves and get consumers thinking about and desiring your brand when both the retail store shelves and the Web are replete with options, many of which are literally at your customers’ fingertips? Some brand advertisers are finding the answer to that question in DRTV, a medium that not only helps to fill the void left behind by image advertising spots, but also blends extremely well with an advertiser’s existing brand marketing portfolio.

With economic woes and budget cuts still top-of-mind for many corporations, DRTV’s affordability and accountability make the proposition even more attractive for brands. “Brands just can’t continue to throw money at the wall anymore, hoping that their image advertising works,” says Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, Hawthorne Direct’s vice president of operations and client services. “With more CFOs and CMOs asking about the ROI of their companies’ advertising dollars, the case for DR becomes that much stronger.”

Direct response drives brand energy on several fronts. Its longer format — from 60 seconds to a full half-hour (versus just a blur of 15 and 30 seconds) — deepens consumer understanding of a brand and its products. The housewife who watches Christie Brinkley work out on the Total Gym® for 30 minutes while ironing her family’s clothes will immediately connect that commercial to the product the next time she sees it for sale. Those kinds of connections are invaluable and they go a long way in creating brand energy.

DRTV also keeps brands top-of-mind and familiar for consumers just from the immense frequency of commercial “spins” (every time a spot runs). Remember: when a DRTV spot works, it will run hundreds (even thousands) of times for months — even years. DR also translates into profits. “DRTV gives advertisers a way to maintain a high level of brand integrity while realizing an ROI for every dollar spent,” says Hawthorne-Castro. “Once brand advertisers start to see those results, it really blows their minds.”

That mind-blowing experience can literally re-energize a brand overnight as DR works together with web, social, print, and other direct elements to impact “retail lift.” Consumers suddenly have a reason to talk about the brand, get engaged with it, and check out its latest and greatest offerings, then buy it.

“We’ve seen retail lift of four to 20 times previous retail sales when DRTV is introduced to the mix,” says Hawthorne-Castro. “Companies literally see an ROI for every dollar spent; it’s pretty hard to argue with those results.” ■

About the Author: Timothy R. Hawthorne

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