More than half of marketers and their planning teams miss the opportunity to boost brand effectiveness by not getting their multichannel campaigns right.
That’s the main takeaway from the latest AdReaction: The Art of Integration study from Kantar Millward Brown, which explores how to best navigate the myriad of channel choices and ad formats, while delivering effective, integrated campaigns, well understood across channels by consumers.
Delivering success in South Africa
Well integrated and customised ad campaigns boost campaign effectiveness by 57%, but in the study, this represented fewer than half (46%) of all campaigns tested.
So what will lead to a successful multichannel marketing campaign that will appeal to South African consumers? “When it comes to advertising, a good story laced with emotion is usually a sure winner. The South African audience enjoys humour, kids and animals, and we’ve noticed that a local nuance aids engagement as well,” explains Monique Claassen, media and digital director at Kantar Millward Brown. “When it comes to campaigns, a strong central idea performs better across all brand KPIs, especially using consistent imagery throughout different elements of the campaign”.
The study also revealed that marketers and consumers have different views on whether campaigns successfully fit together. Most marketers (89%) surveyed believe their campaign strategies are integrated, but just over half (58%) of consumers agree. “Consumers feel overwhelmed by advertising from all angles while marketers struggle to make the most of ad formats and channels to best reach consumers,” comments Duncan Southgate, global brand director, media and digital, at Kantar Millward Brown.
Claassen credits this disconnect to a lack of a single idea with strong creative that binds it all together. “Channels work in different ways, so the same idea needs to be communicated differently or customised across the channels, yet have consistency in the visual theme.
“In some instances campaigns tend to lose integration when they only operate at a basic level of maintaining commonality of brand or slogan. The impact in these cases may just stop at generating awareness without dialling up messaging and long-term brand building KPIs,” says Claassen.
Digital media, in particular, needs a different treatment in order for it to integrate well with other mainstream media. “With a high level of fragmentation within digital, and it being an active media, the demands on creativity and storytelling is even higher. Integration therefore needs to happen at the idea or concept level rather than trying to work backwards from your TV ad,” she says.
Integration and customisation go hand in hand
While integration was stressed as being a key determinant in the report, customisation should not and cannot be ignored when crafting a campaign. The two elements go hand in hand. The report illustrated that in South Africa, integrated campaigns are 31% more effective at building brands while integrated and customised campaigns are 57% more effective than non-integrated campaigns. TV and online video benefit most from customisation.
SA vs. international markets
When comparing the SA marketing space with its international counterparts, some slight differences are observed. “In the more developed media markets there is higher demand for accountability and more thorough measurement,” says Claassen. “Also several big markets are significantly more skewed towards digital platforms. But at the end of the day the basic rules of good communication remain largely the same.”
Kantar Millward Brown’s five guiding principles for a successful multichannel marketing campaign
Integrate more campaign cues: One in four of the campaigns analysed were not well integrated. The more cues used, the better. Consumers expect multichannel campaigns to deliver basic connective elements like the same logo and slogan. However, the study shows that consistent characters or personalities are the individual cues which most help brand impact, often differentiating the best campaigns. The report also found that all channels benefit from synergies, but some channels work particularly well with each other. The strongest overall synergy combinations are between TV and Facebook, and TV and outdoor.
Start with a strong campaign idea: The idea is the most important component of the campaign. Great campaigns need a strong central idea to act as connective tissue across all content, and integrated content needs to cue this idea. Campaigns with a strong central idea perform better across all brand KPIs (+64%), especially brand image associations (+91%), as well as across all channels.
Make each ad in an integrated campaign amazing: Within the multichannel pretesting, we see a campaign is defined most closely by the average of all executions, even more so than the best or worst individual execution. Unless media spend is skewed towards one execution, every piece of content matters and contributes to overall success and brand building.
Invest only in channels that have a clear role in the campaign: Marketers and planners need to choose channels wisely – only using those which have a clear role in the campaign and in reaching the target audience. It’s also important to understand what each channel can deliver in terms of impact and cost. For example, online ads are cost effective in extending TV reach and building brand metrics from awareness through to purchase intent. However, consumers’ attitudes are more positive to traditional media than online advertising and people are more likely to recall negative online targeting experiences than positive ones.
Customise content for each channel: There is a sweet spot between integration and customisation. A strong integrated campaign must be flexible enough to enable novel, complementary content, but familiar enough to link the key campaign elements tightly together.
Review the global and country specific results of the AdReaction: The Art of Integration report here.
Michael Bratt is a multimedia journalist at Wag the Dog, publishers of The Media Online and The Media. Follow him on Twitter @MichaelBratt8