Home IMJ Features Making Brands Matter in a Fragmented World

Making Brands Matter in a Fragmented World

Global research conducted by Ogilvy this year indicates that less that 1/5 of
client leaders report that they think and act on brand across every time horizon.
Understandably, short term tactical pressures and an increasingly complicated
marketing landscape tend to divert attention from this goal, writes Jane Gregory.

Jack Welch famously said: “Some companies plan for years ahead, some companies plan for each quarter, some companies plan for right now. The best companies plan for all three”.

As those of us who work in the business of marketing are keenly aware, every aspect of our industry has been profoundly disrupted over the past decade. The role that brands play in the lives of consumers has been transformed, forcing marketers to rethink and reshape every aspect of their marketing communications work. There are more brands and sub-brands, more geographies, more channels and more messages than ever before. Marketing cycles have become increasingly complex, increasingly inter-related and increasingly urgent.

All of this has fragmented consumer attention, created apathy and threatens to damage the role of brands.

It’s hardly surprising therefore that Purpose-Driven Marketing and Integrated Communications Planning have emerged as the two most important components in modern marketing.

“Some companies plan for years ahead, some companies plan for each quarter, some companies plan for right now. The best companies plan for all three.” JACK WELCH

Ogilvy’s global response to this disruption lives and breathes in our consumer-led planning tool, known as ‘A Purpose and A Plan’. The Purpose provides cognitive cohesion, whilst the Plan provides structural cohesion across a wide variety of touch-points. The simple objective of this tool is to make brands matter – across every interaction, at every level, over time.

A PURPOSE AND A PLAN

We unlock long-term purpose for a brand using a proprietary tool known as The Big Ideal. The Big Ideal is the concise description of the ideal at the heart of a brand or a company identity – its deeply held belief on how the world, or some particular part of it, should be.

A “big ideal” is more than a “brand ideal” because the former has the potential to affect the way an organisation thinks and behaves, not just the way brands are marketed. An ideal speaks to a higher sense of mission, connecting the brand to the culture at large and to the concerns of a wider group of stakeholders — consumers certainly, but also employees, business partners and retailers.

As with all tensions, a cultural tension is grounded in a true insight. It captures something happening in culture that is ripe for conversation, disagreement, debate and discomfort. It may represent the view of many or just a few. But regardless, it’s unresolved. Cultural tension is the best kind of tension for a brand to consider because it will resonate with the largest number of people and therefore engage the attention and conversation of more people.

“A Purpose and a Plan is not just about greater relevance. It’s also about greater
effectiveness. We saw this very clearly on our very recent and very important work for Trócaire – which ultimately delivered a 25% increase in donations year over year.”

Ultimately, the Big Ideal provides brands with a clearly defined role and in an increasingly cluttered cultural environment, with meaning and differentiation. In short, it makes brands matter. The challenge though is figuring out how to make that asset work to its full potential – how to make brands matter over time.

We work with our clients to make brands matter over time with what we call the new Ogilvy Operating System (OS). An operating system that is superior to any other integrated planning system because it grounds the communications planning process in real business goals and real measurements.

The OS enables us to plan marketing communications for brands for all time horizons – for the day-to-day, for each quarter and for years to come. In this way, it allows us to balance long-term creative objectives for the brand with the pressing agenda of short term tactical goals and root them in rigorous effectiveness measures.

What’s exciting about this system is that it works hand in hand with all of our digital platforms to monitor behavioural and sentiment analysis throughout the day-to-day activity of a campaign. This informs our messaging hierarchy based on real time audience behaviour, consumer need and consumer culture.

Importantly, it allows us to enrich a campaign as it grows over the course of the program and equips us with a ‘live’ consumer insight which deeply informs ongoing brand activity.

Not only do we capture the mind, mood and behaviour of the consumer but also how they are choosing to consume and engage with our media. In short this allows us to matter more, in the right place and at the right time to the right people.

A Purpose and a Plan is not just about greater relevance. It’s also about greater effectiveness. We saw this very clearly on our very recent and very important work for Trócaire – which ultimately delivered a 25% increase in donations year over year.

Consumers invite brands into their lives every day. The reality is that it is increasingly challenging to ensure that the invitation is always extended to you. This is why mattering more to more people is the ultimate goal of brands today.

Jane Gregory is managing director at Ogilvy & Mather, Dublin.

First published in Irish Marketing Journal (IMJ July/August 2018)© to order back issues please call 016611660