4 Ways to Leverage the Intersection of Brand and Response Advertising

There are no longer separate channels for awareness and conversions

For years, certain media channels have been designated to different communication strategies. Some channels were considered better at driving brand awareness while others were better at closing a sale.

However, due to improvements in measurement, technology and data, the upper and lower parts of the funnel have merged. Now, channels that were considered only for rational product messages can bring us to tears, and channels used only for big product launches can be evaluated and scheduled using data and CRM files.

There are no longer brand channels or direct-response channels. There are only channels that can be deployed based on messaging requirements. How brand marketers take advantage of this intersection can make or break an ad campaign.

Driving awareness and sales

In the past, television, OOH and even some print advertising were often used by brands when the objective was to increase brand awareness. When the objective was to drive sales (or drive a specific response), newspapers, direct mail and radio were deployed.

Awareness driving channels like the Oscars or the Super Bowl delivered more reach than direct-response channels, but direct-response channels like email or SEM typically did a better job targeting specific customers and delivered less waste. Awareness driving channels often got the most attention because the creative was more anthemic and emotional. Direct-response channels were more product specific and included prices and features; they were more rational, information heavy and often less sexy than big TV commercials.

Now all channels can grow targeted awareness and drive response. Channels are no longer an indicator of a media strategy. The strategy is based on what we know about the consumers we are reaching, how much they understand about the brand and where they are in the purchase funnel. This allows agencies to plan and buy media with much more certainty and relevance for prospects and customers.

Since the divide between brand awareness and direct-response channels has collapsed, it’s up to marketers to rid themselves of the traditional advertising mindset and take advantage of what all channels can offer. Here are four ways marketers can leverage this intersection:

Deploy video throughout the funnel

Video is no longer relegated to emotional upper funnel channels. One of the best uses for feature-driven product information videos are the millions of DIY videos popular on YouTube. Since these videos are both response and awareness (and everything in between), what differentiates their role is the experience the user has with the product.

CTV and OTT bring measurability to TV advertising

Brands can deploy platforms like Hulu and Roku to easily reach specific consumers through a bevy of audience insights gleaned from platforms. And the beauty of these platforms is that we can change the message to be either response or awareness based on what we know about the consumer rather than the limitations of the medium.

Digital OOH for geo-targeting and retargeting online

Once considered the domain of mobile media, connecting location data to OOH placements and then making OOH placements dynamic brings a desktop-like environment to the streets.

Social platforms allow full-funnel targeting

Social platforms long ago removed much of the friction from targeting and were the first channels to fully collapse the media funnel. Today Facebook, YouTube, Snapchat and Twitter clearly group their creative assets based on communication objectives. They make it easy to allocate budgets across their platforms based on what we know (or don’t know) about consumers.

Brand advertising was romantic, and many agencies made most of their money doing it. Clients and smart advertising people always wanted brand advertising to work like response advertising, but it couldn’t. Exposure-driven advertising just doesn’t work like response advertising. It wasn’t measurable or targetable like response media.

Traditional brand advertising and traditional direct-response advertising have met in the middle to deliver what we should just call “effective advertising.”