Response 23 - Social
Response Issue 23 - International marcomms insights from Ebiquity
International marcomms insights from Ebiquity
Issue 23 - Q2 2016
Global challenges through the Asia-Pacific lens
Reflections on Global Marketer Week 2016
Nick Manning reports on encouraging trends from the recent World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) global marketing week event held in Malaysia, while Ebiquity’s CEOs in Asia Pacific show that the challenges facing advertisers in the region are the same the world over.
The 2016 WFA annual conference was held in KL recently, and the city provided the setting for some surprising and welcome changes in how marketing is being discussed.
One of the dominant themes to emerge was people. First up was Tony Fernandes, founder of AirAsia, who talked about what makes him and his business tick, such as employing talented people more or less spontaneously. The impression was of a mercurial entrepreneur proving that risk-taking lives – and can be wildly successful – even in an age when process predominates.
The theme was continued by Mondelez, with Maria Mujica showing how ‘Fly Fearless’ has been introduced to find new ways to communicate their brands, with the accent on failing fast and so employing controlled risk-taking.
Other speakers showed how data needs to be turned to a more strategic purpose, as evidenced by John Kearon of BrainJuicer taking us through the recent WFA study into how research and data together should be deployed to deliver profitable brand growth.
This was a refreshing antidote to the recent conference mantra that AI, algorithms, and the Internet of Things are the future and people don’t count anymore. This never did make sense, and was called out by WFA President David Wheldon, who encouraged marketers to get back to basics and not chase every shiny new object.
And the basics of good marketing are to understand people, their wants, needs, attitudes, and behaviors, and not to force advertising on them that they resent and reject.
But the strongest theme of the week was that the hype over personalization and programmatic may be waning. The industry is realizing that personalization doesn't – after all – solve the question of which 50 percent of advertising is wasted. If the headlong rush to programmatic has in fact contributed to the problems of wastage and ad blocking (as indeed it has), it’s probably been less effective in brand building than its less targeted predecessors. Now, who would have thought that?
Richard Basil-Jones: CEO of Ebiquity Australia/New Zealand
The challenges facing Asia-Pac marketers aren’t new, but digital makes them more complex. Specifically:
Which elements of the marketing budget really drive business performance?
How cost-effectively are different channels performing?
How much of the budget should be allocated to digital?
This is true across the board, from big spenders like automotive, banking, retail, and telecommunications, to smaller categories including health supplements, online betting and travel, and consumer insurance. The media world may be more complex and fragmented than it was, but the issues worrying advertisers remain constant. They’re just harder to answer.
These challenges dominate our conversations with advertisers, with an increased focus on transparency and accountability. The thirst for information and competitive intelligence around all things digital remains keen. Clients have genuine comfort working with traditional media, but digital remains a stumbling block.
Leela Nair: MD – South East Asia at Ebiquity
Ad spend in SEA is growing. Advertisers are willing to invest, as long as they know they’re getting value and driving results in line with business strategy. Digital is growing in particular, with 30 percent of advertising today online. Digital offers the biggest opportunities, though it’s the worst understood and there’s least visibility around it.
Ours is an incredibly rich and diverse region – culturally, linguistically, geographically. It’s also highly fragmented – 11 countries with their own characteristics and requirements. Outsiders often mistakenly call it ‘developing,’ implying naivety and a lack of sophistication. But there are incredibly savvy advertisers who combine global standards and requirements with a deep understanding of what they want and what’s relevant for their markets.
As elsewhere, most brands want to understand what’s on the media plan and why, although the more complex media landscape means that’s not as clear as it was before. A lot of the work we do is focused on enabling advertisers to ask questions about the ROI of their media agencies.
David Brocklehurst: MD – Asia Pacific at FirmDecisions, an Ebiquity company
Media agencies and channels have changed beyond recognition, with a wealth of options offered to clients, each with their own rules and conditions attached. Some services are now non-auditable and non-transparent. Others are unmeasurable.
Clients want to trust that agencies have their clients’ best interests at heart when presented with media plans. To be able to understand, challenge, and ultimately accept these plans, advertisers need to have breadth and depth of knowledge of all media types, and the opportunities they provide. Increasingly, they must rely on the fact that their contract is robust and exhaustive and – of course – properly complied with.
I believe that the competitive nature of the media industry will mean some agencies realize advertisers want transparency and, in return for fair remuneration, will find a way to offer full transparency again. This will give these agencies significant competitive advantage over those building non-auditable, opaque practices.
Peter Cornelius: Director of Client Service – Media at Ebiquity Australia
Heraclitus said, “The only thing that is constant is change,” 2,500 years ago, but it applies today more than ever. Positive change is a powerful tool for business, but change ‘on the run’ can be enormously damaging. Many marketers feel out of control, as strategically sound decision-making is replaced by kneejerk reactions to satisfy short-term needs, rather than intelligent and strategic mid to long-term business planning.
Media fragmentation is a reality. Traditional media goals, such as reach and frequency, and media selection tied to business objectives, need to be reassessed; the base is constantly changing. Media measurement is not keeping pace with media format innovation or how people consume media. Advertisers look for answers, but they are often not sure what the right questions are to ask.
We live in interesting times but, rather than retreat into their shells, advertisers should be brave, experiment, measure as meaningfully as possible, and discover what works.
Alex Abplanalp: CEO of Ebiquity China
Digital has grown at more than 30 percent for each of the past five years. The $40bn spent online in China in 2016 will represent 40 percent of total spend, surpassing TV as the largest single medium. While GDP is slowing, it will still be an impressive 7 percent this year. Total ad spend will grow at the same rate, while digital will outpace economic growth at 20 percent, at the expense of TV. For the first time since statistics have been collected, TV’s share will shrink. Here are the three challenges advertisers in China are trying to resolve:
1. Digital ROI, focused on measurement: finding the right metrics and KPIs to quantify effectiveness and efficiency.
2. Digital planning, optimization, and buying transparency. How objectively is digital media planned and bought, given digital is such a high margin business for media agency groups?
3. Ad fraud. With China’s local ecosystem and so many global sites blocked, there’s greater risk of fraud.
Appily ever after?
Q&A with Sandeep Raithatha
Ebiquity Client Relations Director, Andrew Challier, talks to mobile industry expert, Sandeep Raithatha, former Global Commercial Director, Strategy and Insight, at Sony Mobile.
Andrew: What’s the next ‘big thing’ in mobile?
Sandeep: To be frank, we need to look at some basics that many are currently missing.
Mobile app marketing suffers from continued underinvestment, despite the significant role apps play in people’s lives.
Smartphone users spend a quarter of total media time on their mobiles, and this is increasing. Brands, meanwhile, invest less than 10 percent of advertising budgets and even less time and resource into mobile. Those that are smart with mobile strategy will stay relevant and, ultimately, win.
Andrew: Why do some advertisers still talk about apps as if they’re exotic?
Sandeep: Bill Shankly, legendary Liverpool FC manager, said: “Some people think football is a matter of life and death. I don't like that attitude. I can assure them it is much more serious than that.” I think the same applies to mobile apps.
Apps have definitely become the norm. They’ve transformed our lives, influencing how we organize, educate, and entertain ourselves. ‘To app or not?’ is no longer the question. Brands need their own apps to ensure more immersive relationships with customers. They also dictate how successful businesses actively transform markets – delivering value direct to consumers, developing propositions based on direct feedback, and driving profitability through new business models.
Andrew: What are the barriers to success?
Sandeep: The facts don’t lie. A quarter of apps are opened once only, with half used four times or fewer; 58 percent of app users churn in the first month – 75 percent within the first three.
Brands must consider the role apps play in users’ lives. How do they enhance brand experience? Do they make brands more immersive or entertaining, make processes simpler or more efficient, or make buying cheaper? What’s the everyday utility of the app?
Thereafter the barriers to success could be a lack of awareness or education, or simply that the app doesn’t deliver against its promise. Awareness can be solved by clearer communication – from driving awareness of the app to onboarding, from functionality updates to exclusive content and offers that drive continuing engagement. But if it doesn’t work, it’s back to the drawing board.
Information should be simple. I often see apps that are too clever or obscure. It’s only through jargon free, plain speaking which explains the app’s functionality and benefits that you can truly accelerate demand and payback.
Andrew: On the subject of comms, what’s your take on mobile advertising?
Sandeep: There’s a lot of excitement and talk about increasing budgets, but a constant stream of mobile display ads is not the answer. We need to think carefully about the trade-offs consumers are prepared to make between being made aware of stuff and having their life companion – which is what the phone has now become – used as a platform for paid messaging.
I’d encourage brands to think of mobile apps as the best, most personalized communications medium, because they’re always on, relevant, personalized, timely, and measurable. Too good to be true? Used right, with everyday utility for the user in mind, it doesn’t have to be.
Andrew: You talk about relevance and utility. Do you have examples?
Sandeep: Uber is the story told most often. On the one hand, there’s nothing new about using a phone to order a cab. But many commentators miss the fact that the big thing isn’t convenience; it’s also simplicity of use – control given back to the user with maps confirming driver location, automated payment, and driver reviews. Not to mention dramatically lower cost. I’m a strong believer in the ‘value equals satisfaction minus price’ equation, so increase the first and reduce the second and you’re on to a winning solution.
Andrew: How would you sum it up? What are your top tips?
Sandeep: Getting apps right is not a luxury – it’s a necessity. Your logo on people’s devices helps keep you top of mind. But it must be useful and work properly.
Brands need to focus on four elements:
Strategy: Where does the mobile app fit in the customer experience/journey? What role does it play in delivering the brand story/proposition? What is the business model applied?
Communication: How do you communicate in a simple, direct way, focusing on the experience enhancement rather than tech?
Implementation: Ensure your app delivers on your promise. Simplify how to support on launch, download, getting started, ongoing engagement, and new functionality releases. Respond to issues and development needs.
Analytics and measurement: Identify and track the vital signs of app performance. Understand how apps cannibalize or cultivate web traffic. And understand the impact of user engagement on brand metrics, loyalty, advocacy, and, ultimately, profitability.
The growing role of mobiles and mobile apps in our lives
Consumers have a growing dependence on their mobiles and spend more and more time online using mobile apps.
Almost half (46 percent) of smartphone owners say a smartphone is something ‘they cannot live without,’1 and 68 percent of millennials consider their smartphone to be a ‘personal device’.2 Mobile digital media time in the US is already significantly higher at 51 percent compared to desktop (42 percent).2
Mobile app usage continues to soar, with mobile apps generating the most revenue in Japan, South Korea, and the United States in 2014.2 Mobile app store revenues worldwide are projected to exceed $76bn by 2017.2 And by that time, mobile programmatic advertising will top $20bn.3
Facts taken from Mobile Effectiveness: Building a Best-in-Class Mobile Experience by Stratigent, an Ebiquity company. The full paper and references can be downloaded here.
1 Source: Pew Center Research
2 Source: CMO Council
3 Source: eMarketer
ANDREW CHALLIER, Client Relations Director
Andrew joined the group in 2007. He previously held Director level positions at Marks & Spencer, Verdict Research and Ninah Consulting. With a pedigree encompassing both client-side and consultancy experience, and having spent many years advising clients on Marketing Effectiveness issues, Andrew brings a results-orientated and client-focused perspective to the challenge of helping businesses make better marketing decisions.
That was the year that was...
Nick Manning and Martin Sambrook dissect 2015’s unprecedented media agency reviews and identify underlying trends and problems left unsolved.
The standout event in the media world in 2015 was the unprecedented sequence of media agency reviews. Ebiquity acted as subject matter expert in a dozen such reviews. This experience gave us an unrivaled view of the driving forces behind the pitches, as well as a keen appreciation of what needs to happen next.
Most of the larger global pitches launched in 2015 have now been concluded, with the notable exceptions of Volkswagen and Sony. And while the pace of reviews has slowed, major reviews are still cropping up, with IKEA announcing a global review of its €400m business in February. In 2015, some $30bn of media billings were up for grabs, with some agency groups more at risk than others.
Who won and lost?
Dentsu Aegis Network gained the most in billings, according to RECMA’s figures, up almost $900m. Omnicom Media Group also showed positive gains (+$700m), chiefly through the outstanding win of most of P&G’s business in the US.
GroupM successfully steered its way through a potentially perilous path to emerge relatively unscathed considering the number of accounts it was defending, especially in Europe.
The most notable losses were suffered by Publicis, down $2.5bn say RECMA – primarily because of the US move by P&G to Omnicom, compounded by Coca-Cola’s switch to Universal McCann in the US. And the news has recently got worse for Publicis, with the February announcement that the group had lost its lucrative $900m Walmart account in the USA.
What are the underlying trends?
Advertisers wanted a more integrated approach between traditional and digital media. They were open-minded as to the extent of programmatic buying, but had real concerns about financial transparency, data ownership, and access rights.
Agencies consistently pushed the virtues of digital, and especially programmatic, with proposed client investments of up to half the media budget in digital. Sometimes this was justifiable, but there was little clarity on the financial detail behind the complex buying chains.
Almost without exception, pitches were managed primarily by client procurement or specialist media procurement teams, so cost reduction was inevitably a major motivator. However, cost was only one of the drivers, alongside media and marketing strategy and digital integration.
Given the involvement of procurement, significant media cost improvements did of course play a critical role in pitches. The real challenge now is whether such cost improvements are genuinely baked into signed contracts, whether they represent tangible and measurable value to the client, and whether they will be delivered in full. For the winning agencies, the hard work starts now.
Setting the right KPIs in online was another important facet of 2015’s pitches, with advertisers demanding a far higher standard of reporting on deliverables. This was long overdue.
Transparency was a frequently used word in reviews, with client briefs seeking greater disclosure of money and data related mechanics. While the investigation into market practices in the US did not provoke the reviews, transparency certainly became an important evaluation criterion.
With so many sources of value now available to agencies, the challenge for advertisers is to identify those sources and ensure that they receive all of the available benefits. Contracts are getting longer, but are vital to deriving full benefits. Lawyers will be busy in 2016.
There was no seismic change in the industry as a result of 2015’s ‘Mediapalooza.’ The untold number of hours, lost holidays, and weekends spent by clients, agencies, trading partners, and intermediaries did not revolutionize how the media industry works, despite the fact that it faces more challenges today than at any time in the last 50 years.
There were few solutions to the serious questions of the day, including the declining role of advertising in commerce generally, the inefficiencies in much of online advertising, and the increasing propensity for people to take active steps to avoid advertising altogether.
Problems left unsolved
The transformation in consumer behavior has not been mirrored in how the media industry and its component parts work. Media agencies still focus on paid advertising in a world where marketing has to be coordinated and integrated across multiple channels and platforms, only some of which are paid for. Genuine pan-channel strategy continues to be elusive.
The problems of online advertising continue to beset the industry: Viewability, fraud, brand safety, and ad blocking are seriously damaging effectiveness, but they don’t stop money being poured into programmatic digital channels as if these problems didn’t exist. The irrelevance of impressions as a currency for online trading continues to devalue the channel and directs money to the wrong places, and too much money continues to stick to the sides between advertiser and media vendor.
Transparency of both data and money remains a problem. Agencies promise full transparency without explaining how they will guarantee it.
Data ownership and access continues to be a ‘tug of war’ between the agency groups and the client, unless the client dictates terms.
The borders between ‘agent’ and ‘principal’ continue to get fuzzier as the agency groups seek the extra margins that only arbitrage can bring. This compromises planning integrity, no matter how much ‘disclosure’ by the agency is involved.
It is notable how few of these issues are being addressed by the recent wave of media agency pitches. All too often, agencies want to demonstrate their grip on augmented or virtual reality, rather than the ‘real’ reality of building brands in a chaotic and fragmented world. An array of tools is wheeled out to describe how (theoretically, at least) the advertiser’s life will be transformed through the precision targeting of exactly the right audiences via programmatic at precisely the right ‘moment.’ But there’s little discussion about how all of this will work through to profitability for the client’s brands in the real world of Main Street.
Looking to the future
Last year’s reviews were a shade premature, but a portent of things to come. Today’s advertisers are looking for something better. They’re looking for partners to address their full needs in today’s multi-channel, multi-platform market; who only ever act in the client’s best interests; who are prepared to underwrite both performance and commercial transparency, with compliance undisputed; who will disclose all vested interests; and who are prepared to plan and execute to deliver a better business return for the advertiser and be remunerated accordingly.
This ideal is some way off, but it may take a genuine crisis to bring about the kind of change needed. Maybe the dark clouds of transparency, data protection, ad blocking, and online fraud may precipitate this much-needed revolution.
Does your experience match our analysis – that the pace of change has slowed, and that the frenzy of major advertisers reviewing their media agencies in 2015 has not continued into 2016?
For you and your brand, what is the most important unresolved issue?
- Elusive pan-channel strategy
- Online advertising concerns (viewability, fraud, brand safety, ad blocking)
- Data ownership
- Blurred agent/principal status
MARTIN SAMBROOK, International Business Development & Client Service
Martin has 26 years' experience as a media auditor and consultant and, before that, trained as a financial auditor with Touche Ross (now Deloitte). Martin joined Ebiquity from the Media Audits Group, where he was Managing Director of Media Audits UK before taking on a role of Global Account Director.
NICK MANNING, Chief Strategy Officer
Nick has spent 30 years in the media industry, principally having co-founded Manning Gottlieb Media (MGM) in 1990. MGM became one of the most highly respected and fastest growing Media Specialist agencies before becoming part of Omnicom in 1997. His most recent position was CEO of OMD’s operations in the UK. Nick also co-founded OPera, the media negotiation arm for OMD and PHD, with billings of £1 billion. Nick joined Ebiquity in October 2007 as Chief Operating Officer with special responsibility for the Analytics division before becoming President, International, in overall charge of Ebiquity’s non-UK based operations. Nick is now Chief Strategy Officer, with responsibility for developing and implementing Ebiquity’s strategy across its three business segments.
New frontiers in integrated measurement
A review of innovations in integrated campaign measurement
A review of innovations in integrated campaign measurement from Ebiquity UK’s Managing Director, Reputation, Karen Prichard.
Consumers don’t receive messages from brands in an isolated, siloed fashion – some tweets there, a TV ad over here, a company blog post over there. They build up their impression of what brands mean and stand for by absorbing and integrating messages from multiple channels simultaneously, and cumulatively, over time.
The problem, of course, is that too many organizations are still siloed. While they may have good intentions and talk the talk of integrated brand communications, too often they plan and execute campaign activity in discrete, disconnected pockets. Departments work with agencies, and multi-agency teams meet more often just to tick a box than to work as real partners.
When it comes to measurement, most businesses are even worse. This is ironic, given the increasing availability of tools and techniques needed to assess the relative and absolute impact of different channels. The trick is to start with a channel-neutral, open mind and to analyze the individual and combined impact of the many different activations that go to make up a modern campaign.
Consider these five examples of integrated measurement in practice.
1. Messaging alignment
Working with a leading mobile handset manufacturer, we recently looked at how aligned messaging about product attributes was between manufacturers and across shared, owned, paid, and earned media. We showed our client that their creative obsession of one particular feature was not relevant to the conversations consumers were actually having about their phones and about the market in general. The feature was largely ignored by the market, but our client was making it the mainstay of their communications, meaning they were wasting money by pushing a non-issue. Consequently, they were not influencing the debate.
2. Consumer research, advertising spend, and earned media volume
By overlaying weight of spend in advertising over the course of a year, trends in earned media conversation, and prompted brand awareness, we were able to show another, FMCG, client how paid media was driving peaks of awareness, while earned media conversation was helping to sustain awareness once the peak had been achieved. This enabled our client to amend the timing of its social activity to capitalize on the impact of its above-the-line activity.
There are several, really effective tools available today which can pinpoint the physical location of where consumers post to social media – provided, of course, they have privacy settings switched off. By overlaying geolocation data with big outdoor advertising builds or special advertising installations – particularly at airports and other transport hubs – we can immediately associate the impact of paid for communication on social.
Working in partnership with eye-tracking experts Lumen Research, we’ve found a significant multiplier effect of editorial on advertising. Consumers pay more attention to editorial about a brand when they have (just) been exposed to editorial about the same brand. This suggests that PR and advertising teams would be well advised to ensure they coordinate their above- and below-the-line campaigns together. By harnessing the power of eye-tracking software, we can understand the relative attention – technically ‘dwell time’ – that consumers pay to both editorial and advertising.
John Lewis 'The Man on The Moon' (adam&eveDDB, London)
5. The Holy Grail: integrating multiple channels
Our own analysis of the impact of retailer marcomms activity in the run-up to Christmas 2015 considered the widest variety of inputs, outputs, and outcomes of any analysis we have seen. We looked at creative, messaging, media spend, social and PR amplification, news media coverage, and how consumer attitudes and spending behavior were affected by the major retailers’ activity.
We found that spending big did not guarantee success – particularly when the messaging did not resonate with consumers in social: when they found the central themes of the advertising to be discordant to both brands and the season. By overlaying the results of consumer attitude and awareness research on weight of ad spend and volume of social media commentary, we have shown that, although John Lewis may have won the sales war, there is an altogether different story in consumer sentiment around its Christmas campaign.
Only 30 percent of online conversation around the Man on the Moon ad was positive, compared with Sainsbury’s 82 percent and the Co-op’s 62 percent. As a result, the Sainsbury’s ad has been watched over five million times more than John Lewis’ on YouTube – the second year running it’s won that battle.
What this means...
Experts in innovation and strategy repeatedly show that breakthrough innovations come about by experimentation in response to weak signals. These five examples of integrated measurement in action show what we’ve learned from bringing together outcomes from different channels and different disciplines. They show – among other things – how to fine-tune messaging in paid media to get the biggest bang for your buck in earned media, as well as how to achieve more with less.
Integration has been a buzzword for more than 25 years. Yet because of the fractured and siloed ways most businesses are structured – exacerbated by the advent and ascendancy of digital – integrated planning and execution has only been a reality for a few brands and a very few years. Perhaps now, at last, we can start to live the dream – including in measurement and evaluation.
Karen showcased innovations in integrated measurement at PRmoment’s PR Analytics conference, earlier this Spring.
KAREN PRICHARD, Head of Reputation, UK
Karen spent a substantial period (15 years) in the global ship broking and ship management industry as a senior manager/trainer, working with both the MOD and NATO during this period. Karen joined Ebiquity (formerly Echo) in 2005, managing the Utilities, Government and Environment Practice with an extensive portfolio of clients including government departments, oil companies, EADS, Airbus, Eurocopter, Astrium and Cassidian, Smiths Group, and Rolls-Royce.Karen spent a substantial period (15 years) in the global ship broking and ship management industry as a senior manager/trainer, working with both the MOD and NATO during this period. Karen joined Ebiquity (formerly Echo) in 2005, managing the Utilities, Government and Environment Practice with an extensive portfolio of clients including government departments, oil companies, EADS, Airbus, Eurocopter, Astrium and Cassidian, Smiths Group, and Rolls-Royce.
German marketers ignore transparency at their peril
As digital accelerates, it’s time to take transparency seriously.
As digital accelerates, Alexander Mauch says it’s time to take transparency seriously.
Germany has the biggest economy in Europe, and the German advertising market is worth €29bn – Europe’s largest and one of the most important worldwide. TV is the single biggest medium and is growing, while print is steadily losing ground.
And although digital has been booming over recent years, the market lags behind other developed economies – notably the UK and USA – and is yet to truly experience a digital revolution. But things are changing.
With investment in digital growing, media is increasingly traded programmatically. Not only is there a more complex transactional chain than for traditional media, it is also considerably less transparent. The German legal system is known for its fairness and stability, and German contract law is well established as equitable.
This is why many German advertisers turn a blind eye to the legal and commercial impact of the lack of transparency found in programmatic transactions. What’s more, new market dynamics are inadequately reflected in contracts between advertisers and their media agencies and many should be updated; the law doesn’t legislate for what is left unsaid.
According to the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA), rebates are widespread in Germany. In addition, advertisers report that approximately 40 percent of rebates are retained by agencies, rather than passed back to advertisers.
Germany also indexes highly for ‘free space’, offered by media owners and used by agencies. This can be problematic for advertisers, particularly if contracts fail to detail free space as an agency volume bonus and do not specify how it should be calculated or dealt with.
"Changes in how media is transacted mean advertisers should fundamentally review their relationships with their agencies. "
These factors have enabled German agencies from the big six global groups to remain highly profitable. According to market sources, they are recording double digit margins, and the more opaque digital transactions are boosting profitability further.
Changes in how media is transacted mean advertisers should fundamentally review their relationships with their agencies. They should negotiate new contracts with increased transparency and clear audit rights, in line with the emerging mechanics and dynamics of the market.
This is the only way that those in marketing, media management, and procurement can guarantee their investments work in their best interests. It will also enable them to stay competitive and be sure they receive proper compliance.
When did you last review your agency contract to take account of transparency issues in programmatic media buying?
- In the past three months?
- Six months
- Up to three years
Innovations bring opportunities and threats; they underline strengths and expose weaknesses. By improving contracts and securing their commercial interests, German advertisers will make their agency relationships more balanced and equitable.
A significant component of this will be the growing trend for financial compliance media audits, which we believe will become standard procedure for leading marketers across Germany in the near future.
ALEXANDER MAUCH, Managing Director, FirmDecisions Germany
Alexander was CFO/Managing Director of Havas Germany, one of the leading media agencies for more than seven years. He has extensive experience of the international media markets. Alexander has a total work experience of more than 20 years in many prestigious international companies around “high tech” (Telco, Internet, Medical devices, pharmaceutical and Media). He started his career in the audit firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC).
Chocolate: in times of crisis, an elixir for business and our psyche
Client interview: Mars Hellas
Milton Papadakis, Ebiquity’s associate in Greece, assesses how the Greek chocolate category bucked the market and retained sales almost intact by not slashing TV budgets during the recession.
Chocolate is one of the very few product categories that can be labeled ‘recession proof.’
During the Greek financial crisis, which has run from 2008 until the present day, almost all FMCG categories have suffered significant losses in sales and been forced to cut promotional budgets. The whole advertising industry cut by 60 percent in this period. But not chocolate.
Konstantinos Kontopoulos, Marketing Manager at Mars Hellas, says that sustained marketing investment behind chocolate has actually helped the category to grow. “Marketing management did its homework,” says Konstantinos.
As well as supporting established product lines with consistent media spend, chocolate companies in Greece have launched new products, increased the number of points of sale per store, increased the number and type of retail outlets, and taken the category to new consumption occasions. Chocolate has also benefited from other categories that have reduced their spend.
It is clear that chocolate plays a special role in our lives, especially in troubled economic times. Mitsi Georgaki, head of Explorer Research, says: “Chocolate is universally agreed to be the ‘taste of joy,’ and so, at times of economic crisis,
it’s even more important. Its positive effects on physiology have been shown time and again. Chocolate contains substances with psychostimulant properties, affecting functions of the brain associated with mood and behavior. When eating chocolate, endorphins are released: natural opioids with analgesic properties that improve mood.”
Chocolate consumption is also associated with childhood; with tenderness, love, and reward. Throughout our lives we learn to connect chocolate with positive feelings or situations. Our family, our friends, our environment – but also media and advertisements, which show us how chocolate is associated with different positive experiences.
This is why, in a period of economic crisis, when people have fewer sources of pleasure, they turn to small, cheap, everyday pleasures such as chocolate. And not only have chocolate sales held up well – supported by punchy media investment – but a new factor has emerged in Greece: a positive correlation between chocolate consumption and unemployment.
Despite increasing rates of unemployment, chocolate sales have actually increased, with those unable to afford bigger pleasures – such as eating out or holidays – turning to chocolate to help ease the pain.
Our analysis of the key business drivers of the performance of chocolate in Greece since the recession shows the following:
The importance of capitalizing on underlying trends: timing was favorable for marketing investment in chocolate.
Adjustment of tone and language was critical in order to maximize performance.
Attractive promotions need to be delivered, but these must be supported by significant investment.
MILTON PAPADAKIS, Founder of Media Risk, Ebiquity’s partner company in Greece and Cyprus
After 20 years as a media buyer and director, Milton founded his own media & marketing consultancy in his native Greece. There he led the move away from primitive demographic segmentation and introduced RISC: clustering consumers and marketing efforts by rich sociocultural criteria to explain consumer behaviour. This is now an established concept across the communication industry.
Global trends in marketing alcohol brands
What works in global alcohol brand advertising and why
Ebiquity’s Communications Insight team has recently analyzed the themes dominating advertising and marketing from the world’s leading beer and cider brands in 2015. In a review covering Heineken, Amstel, Desperados, Sol, and Strongbow, Martin Broad highlights what’s working best for global alcohol brand advertising and why.
The main platforms for alcohol brands in 2015 were music, food, sport, and art/culture. Amstel and Sol have the broadest approach (active across all platforms), while Desperados and Strongbow are the most focused (active in only two).
Music matters for all brands, driven by the close affiliation alcohol has with live music. The most popular activations were event sponsorships, which brands leverage in country level advertising.
Food is used to extend appeal and suggest a broader repertoire of consumption occasions, while also adding artisan credentials. Some brands work at a micro level with involvement at food truck and farmers’ market events (Amstel and Sol), others look to partner with high end chefs (Strongbow in New York), while Amstel took on an ambitious challenge by declaring itself ‘Official Beer of the Burger’ in the USA.
Sport is a platform deployed differently by different brands. Heineken bestrides Europe with its sponsorship of the UEFA Champions League and the European club rugby competition – and indeed the world, via the rugby World Cup. Sol, meanwhile, capitalized on association with the Champions League at an activation level in India only.
And finally, art/culture is all about adding premium and prestige attributes to brands. Leveraged sponsorships and affiliations range from high art, performance art, hackathons, film, and philosophy. The common thread is that the brands are looking to enhance their thoughtful credentials.
The three leading drivers of campaign messaging in 2015 were history and provenance, production and taste, and formats and variants.
Sol played up its Mexican heritage across LatAm, Heineken its Dutchness in the Netherlands, and Amstel its European roots in Brazil.
Both Strongbow and Amstel focused strongly on the making process of their products, from South Africa to the UK.
And to stimulate a variety of drinking occasions, most brands made great store by the many variations they offer. On the one hand, this could appear to be just a tedious exercise in stock keeping. In reality, it allows creative teams great freedom within masterbrand frameworks.
Summer dominates seasonality messaging. This reflects peak sustained consumption, the positive associations between hot weather and cool drinks, and the sheer number of summer festivals and events the brands link to through their platform selection. Christmas comes next – marking the two biggest drinking weeks of the year – with Valentine’s and local holidays (e.g., Heineken and the Netherlands’ King’s Day) a relatively quiet echo.
With which type of event do you think it is most appropriate for an alcoholic drinks brand to be associated?
Global vs local
GLOBAL – Heineken is the most global of drinks brands, running several international campaigns and aligning with multiple worldwide sponsorship platforms. Desperados runs a single global campaign alongside a range of local market activations.
GLOCAL – Although Sol has no consistent international campaign, its ‘Espiritu Libre’ (free spirit) message is consistent across all active territories.
LOCAL – Strongbow and Amstel have highly localized strategies, with individual campaigns running in key local markets.
Good corporate citizenship
Heineken (the company) leads the way globally on CSR, for both its flagship Heineken brand and for Amstel. Heineken drives a responsible drinking message in dozens of markets (from its ‘Moderate drinkers wanted’ campaign in the Netherlands to ‘Dance more, drink slow’ in Brazil). It promotes its use of sustainable ingredients and sourcing, and it supports local businesses (‘Cafés in our regions’ in France). Amstel’s work includes a campaign called ‘Drive Dry’ in South Africa, and support for local servicemen in Spain.
Best practice in action
DIGITAL: Sol Search (Global)
Sol’s own search engine is designed to help consumers find ‘authentic destinations’ by connecting them with local independents (bars, cafes, cinemas, shops).
PRODUCT/PACKAGING: Heineken – Bottle With a Mission (Netherlands)
Through the use of a Heineken bottle fitted with a GPS navigator, consumers were led on a fun tour of Amsterdam culminating at the brewery, the home of Heineken.
EXPERIENTIAL: Strongbow – Isle of Wight Festival (UK)
The brand erected a 12-metre high tree at the Festival, visible from every corner of the event, tweeting throughout the festival to allow fans to be part of the experience.
SPONSORSHIP: Desperados – Skate Locker (Brazil)
The brand ran free skateboard hire across São Paulo via social media/website registration. Desperados adopts a role of enabler and service provider, while also aligning with something contemporary and cool.
ATL: Heineken – The Chase (Global)
The brand created a TV spot featuring Daniel Craig as James Bond, promoting Heineken’s partnership with Spectre. This reaffirmed the brand’s long-standing relationship with the Bond franchise, raising its profile, and lending it a suave identity, reflected from the fictional secret agent.
MARTIN BROAD, Head of Insight, UK
Martin Broad is Head of Communications Insight at Ebiquity. His team provide strategic insight into the Paid, Owned and Earned comms of leading brands around the world, working regularly across sectors such as technology, alcohol, finance, mobile and skincare and cosmetics.
The truth about tech stacks
Asking the right questions about digital transformation
Vendor and agency obsession with building tech stacks is preventing advertisers from asking the right questions about digital transformation, says Rob Beevers.
At the recent CMO Europe Summit at St Andrews, Scotland, I talked to many advertisers trying to understand their digital challenges and worried about their brand’s accompanying technology, alongside digital solutions vendors (some not all) doing little to dampen this anxiety. Already struggling to cope with each next big thing in digital, brand owners are now besieged by suppliers of systems and platforms they either haven’t heard of or didn’t know existed.
The proliferation in marketing technology is threatening to mushroom out of control. If advertisers listened to every breakthrough trend, they’d rush to invest millions in analytics, tag management, data visualization and optimization suites, customer experience management, enterprise management, attribution management, and mobile transaction platforms. And that’s before they come up against the clutch of TLAs – the Three Letter Acronyms: CRM, DMP, DSP, and SSP.
Enough already – and particularly with the jargon. It’s time advertisers called time on tech stack mania – the latest digital gold rush – and fundamentally changed the debate. Brands investing in everything available would definitely be overspending.
Businesses need to step back from the day-to-day busyness of business and set the right exam question, such as: ‘What does mobile do for my brand and how can I make it do more?’ Questions like this are answered worst by first approaching a vendor for either an off-the-shelf or bespoke solution, such as a personalization platform.
Rather, those charged to tackle this sort of challenge should analyze the current state of their business, landscape the market, and conduct stakeholder research. In our example, this will include identifying and interviewing all key stakeholders within the business who touch on mobile – from ops to marketing, insight to data management, project management to company leadership. Only then should they develop a roadmap for transformation.
"The proliferation in marketing technology is threatening to mushroom out of control".
Beware the sirens’ calls from solution vendors. You might discover that the grass only appears greener on the other side of the fence because it tends to rain a lot over there. The key to avoiding post purchase remorse is not to make over-hasty, under-researched purchases first off. And only invest in real-time solutions if you’re going to act on the intelligence they give you in real time.
In almost 20 meetings we had with advertisers at the CMO Europe Summit, none of the answers to their exam questions were ‘buy this piece of tech now and add it to your tech stack.’ It’s not that the solutions aren’t good and don’t work. More usually, they’re the wrong solution to a brand’s transformational dilemma and associated insight needs.
Are you under pressure – from vendors, from bosses, or from what you see peers and competitors doing – to invest in tech first solutions to the transformational challenges you face?
ROBERT BEEVERS, Head of Multi-Channel Analytics, UK
Robert Beevers is the head of Multi-Channel Analytics at Ebiquity. Having worked in both media agencies and as a consultant, Rob has spent his career working with global and local marketing teams to deliver efficiencies in the customer journey. Specifically focusing on driving digital communication and personalisation plans that integrate within wider organisational objectives.