“Is anyone really thinking of building brand love anymore,” – with this provocative statement, Mainardo de Nardis, CEO, OMD Worldwide started his keynote address at the exchange4media Conclave 2016 in Mumbai. Speaking on the topic, “Building brand love with emotions & technology adapting to ever evolving technology, with emphasis on the emotive quotient,” de Nardis highlighted repeatedly on the fact that “it was all about balancing the demand and the desire side of the equation, that have to go together for short-term performance and long term success.” However, with the industry today captivated by the power of data and technology, it is easy to forget this balance. de Nardis explains that it is easy to forget that the people who marketers are targeting are people, and not numbers, who think and act with their head and heart and make rational and emotional decisions.
Day traders and not portfolio managers
de Nardis further added that while the industry has advanced rapidly in identifying, understanding and predicting consumer behaviour, the consumer’s relationship with brands is complex and at constant risk of disruption. With the threat of disruption real, conversation with brands are not about building brand love and harnessing consumer emotion but has now shifted to driving sales, maximising performance with a short-term focus. The risk factor is also augmented by the democratization of data and rapid technological advances. “We are at risk of becoming data day traders, optimising for today and tomorrow, hyper-focusing on short-term performance and not thinking about the super important long-term growth.”
He also adds that agencies are today at great risk of under-delivering on building brand love and “not spending enough time as portfolio managers understanding the totality of the dynamics that aim at growth and performance. We are not invested enough as an industry in skillsets.”
He adds that it is critical to balance demand for goods and services and build relationships which builds lifetime consumer value for the survival of the industry. Not enough time is being spent on understanding what are the consumers motivations, aspirations, inspirations and what drives their desires and how to fulfil those desires as a brand so that the consumers can be captured for a life-time.
de Nardis also drew attention to the fact how the industry values data research compared to intuition and basic psychology when it comes to making marketing decisions. This highlights the fact that the focus is on generating and capturing demand rather than creating long term desire.
Age of Addressability
The theory that an automated data driven world is alive in programmatic buying of the digital media space and the transformation in the ability to target communication presents a major opportunity with less tangent required to target more people at the right time, in the right place, with the right messages at the right cost. However, the answer lies lesser in programmatic, technology and automated delivery and more in addressability, in personalization of brand engagement and how brands reach consumers.
Big Data Is The Future Of Business Intelligence
While big data is the now and future of business intelligence, disruptor and challenger brands have also become the norm with technology helping them create new models of business. de Nardis believes that while the established brands have much to learn from the new players, the disrupter brands also have a lot to learn from the older brands as well. With the fast growing disrupter brands creating new categories of business, they are shifting their priorities from branding to performance as they have been hit by the importance of brand love at the current stage in the evolution of their business as they are conscious that the value of the brand will be a key asset in long term growth. These new players are looking to learn from the established brands who built their business in the pre-digital era while the established brands are looking to understand the business models of the new entrants.
The Data of Desire
It is becoming increasingly clear that emotions play a crucial role in the decision of buying. Studies have also supported the fact that people rely more on emotions than information when it comes to making brand decisions. With consumers “feeling the way to reason”, small data becomes as important as big data. de Nardis says that small data provides meaningful insights but to make it actionable, you need different people, resources and skill-sets than what is needed to manage big data.
Elaborating on this, de Nardis referred to the recent victory of Donald Trump in the Amercian Presidential Elections and Brexit in UK, where big data did not help in understanding what was happening. While big data provided directions, it also hid key aspects. He highlighted that it would have been small data going much deeper with fewer individuals to have understood the trends.
What brands know sets them apart
Brands are aware of the fact that emotional engagement is in limited supply and brands have to build lasting preferences that differentiates itself from competition. Marrying emotions with technology can help drive breakthrough results and some brands have excelled in this. These brands filter their consumers as people and not customers. They tell great stories and desire to leave consumers with a strong emotional feeling.
On a final note de Nardis said, “If we don’t become portfolio managers, we are at the risk of optimising our brands out of existence. Too much focus on the short term is one half of the equation. We must unite data with our strategies to build personalised experience that help drive emotional connections with consumers.” He added, “Balancing the creation of demand and desire for our clients brands is absolutely critical. We will see more competition. Agencies need to be agents of change for both the disrupter and established brands and help them learn one from the other.” He reiterated, “To avoid optimising our clients brands out of existence we need to create both demand and desire for our clients business and brands.”
The e4m Conclave is Presented by Dainik Jagran and Powered by Zee Entertainment.