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Editorial Advisory Board

Is Branding Dead?

1 Jan, 2009 By: Thomas Haire Response

No, but as the economy struggles and marketing budgets are slashed, measuring ROI on every marketing dollar is now a necessity. In the new age of direct response, marketers are turning to 'response-branding' methods more than ever.

In recent months, we've seen direct response campaigns on television for products as diverse as Neutrogena beauty products (directly competing against entrenched DR products like Proactiv Solution) to Kashi natural cereals (driving viewers to an online coupon for retail sale). How rapidly do you expect this proliferation of "branded-response" campaigns on TV to continue to grow with the current state of the economy?

Savage: In tough economic times, DR offers tremendous opportunity to marketers who have the vision to take advantage of it. Longer-length spots allow for enhanced messaging and brand building, and the media is more efficiently priced. We had already seen more interest in DR from major marketers in 2008, and the cost pressures and need for ROI should only improve DR prospects in 2009.

Beck: Branded response is rapidly becoming the norm. Perhaps in the initial stages of a company or product lifecycle, the marketing plan will need to skew toward branding to establish itself. Once brand awareness begins to take hold, advertisers can shift more toward the center of the spectrum and execute branded response. Implementing DR tactics is likely only to drive an even better ROI.

Murray: Part of this movement may be a knee-jerk reaction by marketing teams that are being told they need to be able to measure the effectiveness of every invested dollar. The answer is not to slap an 800-number or URL on every brand ad. Rather, advertisers need to attract qualified consumers by spending effectively on quality creative and media placement to raise the interest level among the target audience, then build momentum and close the deal through excellent Web and call center customer experiences.

Pruett: The market has now reversed. Branded response will be necessary to get your product through the multi-channel clutter of advertising, but it will be customer service that really sets you apart. The consumer is increasingly in control. "Responding" used to refer to the buyer or consumer responding to the ad or offer. Now, "responding" refers to how the offering company treats the interested consumers seeking information and looking to buy. Was your response fast enough? Was the scripting in the call center correct — and so on? This part of the "branded-response" equation will continue to grow.

Garnett: This economy will accelerate the movement of brands to short-form DRTV. And this shift will be relatively comfortable for them because the process of creating a short-form campaign will feel much like traditional advertising. Brands would be well served, though, to seriously consider moving beyond short-form to long-form. Only long-form offers a proven ability to change the game in ways that pull massive new amounts of product through their retail channels.

Sarnow: The proliferation of branded response will really accelerate. Not only because the cost of media is less expensive, but also, more importantly, because branded response offers several other advantages to the marketer branding only campaigns don't offer. One-or two-minute advertising gives a marketer a chance to communicate to consumers instead of just making them aware of a product's existence.

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