Media Zone March: Amplifying Brand Response

Media Zone
Zach Rosenberg

Agencies and marketers have been considering the relationship between building brands and driving sales for decades. What has changed relatively recently is that more rigor — rather than pure instinct or theory — is being applied. As a result, direct response and even brand advertisers are applying a blended brand response approach to their marketing efforts, driven not only by the relentless need for accountability but also to build brand awareness.

The blended approach combines both brand tracking directly with direct response metrics, rather than in a siloed position. Augmenting response with awareness extends the life of a brand, provides air cover for digital engagements, and drives down metrics. Established brands are craving enhanced accountability and are adopting many of today’s direct response practices to help break through the clutter.

To determine whether you would benefit from an amplified brand response approach, there are four key questions you must ask yourself:

  1. If you’re currently a direct response marketer, how much value are you placing on brand equity?
  2. Are you leveraging the power of first-party data beyond current key performance indicators (KPIs) to better optimize your plans and buys?
  3. Does your media agency buy fixed and direct response media out of separate groups?
  4. Can your agency effectively calibrate buys between both disciplines?

It’s time to amplify the brand response model and take it to a holistic viewpoint by developing programs that concurrently drive awareness measures and performance — without sacrificing either approach. 

Just as important, there is nothing more valuable than a client’s data that can inform every aspect of these programs. The insights gained can be used to refine targeting, identify relevant media channels, optimize media buys, and make better-informed creative messaging decisions.

Another key component is the utilization of brand studies, which bring everything full circle as they provide key client awareness measures. A results-oriented approach — incorporating brand health metrics — provides a full view on how to make better decisions that drive business results.

From the onset of the planning process, it is essential to use targeting segmentation techniques to identify, rather than simply test, your way into working media. From there, adjusting the brand response mix based on overarching business goals, and setting aggressive measurable goals for both brand and direct response metrics, are critical guardrails for delivering on promise.

This planning process requires a specialist well versed in both brand planning and response planning. While the planning process is unique and critical to the success of the program, the internal buying process itself brings brand response to life.

To accomplish this, you need an agency with buying specialists who can purchase each form of media under one roof, ensuring the right inventory is secured based on the following characteristics: consumer insights, market intelligence, historical performance, and low rates. With this comprehensive approach, the right deals can be made without compromising clearance and performance. 

Not all media agencies are equipped to buy both brand and direct response media — and properly track all results. These are still considered separate disciplines at most agencies, structured as siloed planning and buying groups. With an integrated model, one can effectively calibrate between both disciplines to secure the best performing inventory and help achieve clients’ acquisition and awareness goals.

Whether you’re a direct response advertiser that has stalled or you’re a brand that is seeking true accountability for your media investment, using this amplified, interdisciplinary approach will deliver the best of both worlds — one that will achieve optimal business results.