Building brands in a changing society

When Advertising Doesn’t Help a Brand

Advertising can do a lot for a brand. It can communicate a brand idea, build awareness of a new offering, or drive traffic in store to move product. However, as a report from Bain & Company points out, there are times when a big spend on advertising doesn’t do a brand any favours.

In Brand strategy that shifts demand: Less buzz, more economics, Bain & Company reminds decision makers that there is no point in investing in advertising when the final product or customer experience don’t hold true to the brand promise. Instead, companies should invest first in delivering against customer needs and expectations.

After all, brands don’t exist simply to create emotional affinity with consumers; brands exist to drive customer demand and return profits over the long term. But demand and profits only come when all parts of the organization are functioning together seamlessly, from the online presence and the retail experience to the final product and ongoing customer support.

If one of these is broken, is advertising really the best use of budget? Instead of creating mass awareness of a sub-optimal product or customer experience, Bain & Company argues for improving the brand’s “implicit marketing.” This means doing a better job at keeping the brand promise across every consumer touch point — online, in-store and at home.

Of course, this approach needs one powerful ingredient to be effective: a brand promise that is clearly articulated and understood throughout the organization.


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