Last year the global spend on advertising was $493 billion. This spend increased dramatically from 2015, largely in the U.S. due to Olympics-related ads and the presidential election. The U.S. alone spent over $191 billion on advertising in 2016.
Why do brands spend so much on advertising? At the basic level, a brand needs to be easy for the buyer to think of, notice, and recognize when they are ready to buy. With an increasing number of touchpoints to reach the target audience, brands need more than good awareness and recall to stay ahead. That’s why the goal of any modern marketing strategy must be brand distinctiveness.
Based on our research, there are four critical success factors to ad effectiveness. These should be explored and measured through voice of the customer studies:
In order to drive impact, the ad must first be noticeable by standing out from the crowd of competitor ads or other distractions. And in order for the ad to drive a lasting impact, it must invoke brand recall, whether through compelling messaging, a shock factor, a memorable visual component, etc.
Ads must be clear, concise, and compelling (the 3 Cs), as well as prompt some sort of action whether this be to purchase, change a perception of the brand, or even just learn a little more.
Every communication beyond just ad campaigns, must align with the identity of the brand in order to successfully build a strong, consistent brand image. A clear identity is a brand’s most valuable competitive advantage.
Buyers want to feel emotionally “bought in” to the brands they engage with. Connecting with the buyer on emotions such as excitement, fear, or pride is an effective tool to drive higher brand appeal and favorability.
Metrics on awareness and call-to-action are important but only go so far in telling the full story about the success of an ad campaign. Given the sizable and ongoing advertising budgets required, a small upfront investment in market research is a small price to pay to optimize ad effectiveness and ROI.