Report: Short-termism doesn't build brand

A programme of unconnected short-term activities can never replicate the value of a long-term campaign

Echoing what good marketers already know, emotional campaigns are more effective for growing long-term market share, according to a new report.

The Communications Council has launched what it's positioned as a ground-breaking report into Australian advertising effectiveness, providing the first look at the new Australian Effies Database. The report was co-authored by advertising effectiveness luminaries, Rob Brittain and Peter Field, and is called Australian Advertising Effectiveness Rules.

The mission was to respond to what the authors describe as a dangerous shift to short-termism in marketing and advertising campaigns. They found a program of unconnected short-term activities can never replicate the value of a long-term campaign. The authors found this also has serious implications for the ever-shortening tenure of the marketer.

Related: Binet: Digital has skewed marketers too far into sales-driven advertising

Brittan said that with Australia in a low economic growth climate, marketing budgets are at greater risk of being cut to meet bottom line targets.

“This environment creates more pressure for marketers to prove the effectiveness of their investment and can lead to a shift in focus towards efficiency. However, the answer lies in understanding effectiveness, and through this understanding, marketing investment works at its hardest, delivering the future revenue growth that businesses need,” he said.

Key findings of the report include:

  • Broad targeting remains the most effective approach in delivering larger impacts on brand profit growth;
  • Longer duration campaigns are more effective in driving business measures;
  • The impact of longer duration campaigns builds cumulatively over time, therefore longer campaign evaluation periods reveal stronger campaign effects; and
  • Emotional campaigns are more effective at impacting long-term market share growth and longer-term brand metrics related to memory structures, while rational short term campaigns work effectively in the short term to acquire new customers.

Field said the new report is an important addition to the evidence base about how advertising works.

“If I had to single out just one area of this research it would be the ground-breaking findings on how campaign effects evolve over time, and how this differs for short and long-term campaigns. We’ve never been able to look so precisely at this before,” he said.

“Looking forward, as an industry, we need empirical evidence of what genuinely works, more than ever. We need to be able to challenge each plausible-sounding new theory of effectiveness that comes along, and to see if they hold water before we rush in with our dollars.”

The Communications Council CEO, Tony Hale, welcomed the release of the new report, and thanked the authors for such significant work.

“We should all be enormously grateful to Peter as he has now helped us establish the Australian Effies Database, which is the first outside the UK. Rob has done an outstanding job in analysing the data to uncover the findings. We expect over time that the Effie database will become the most valued resource in Australia when examining what is really driving marketing and advertising effectiveness,” he said.

In addition to research findings and recommendations, the new report also includes two case histories drawn from the recent winners of the 2019 Australian Effie Awards. Grand Effie 2019 winner, Carlton & United Breweries, provides a case study into how taking the long-term approach led to Great Northern becoming Australia’s most popular beer, while Gold Effie winner, NRMA Insurance’s ‘Help’ case study showcases the power of emotional brand building.

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