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Nielsen Report Finds: Brands are Re-prioritising Awareness

There has never been a one-size-fits-all approach for businesses looking to engage with consumers, and today’s reality codifies that more than ever with a seemingly endless stream of device and platform choices. Distractions are high and attention spans are short. 

Marketers, however, remain undivided when it comes to their top business goals. Nielsen’s latest Global Annual Marketing Report has revealed that marketers across Asia-Pacific agree that building brand awareness is their top objective, despite challenges.

After widespread pullbacks in 2020, it’s encouraging to see that many brands have worked to re-balance their upper-funnel marketing strategies, including mass reach channels like TV and radio, to amp up their brand awareness efforts.

Marketers’ prioritising brand awareness makes sense. While consumer choice and access to content have exploded, some traditional sources of brand equity are less apparent than before the pandemic simply because of reduced visibility. An increase in the number of consumers shopping online, for example, has resulted in fewer opportunities to see a product on a shelf or a sign in a store window.

The Asia-Pacific marketers we surveyed for this year’s report universally plan to raise ad spending across all channels by at least 34%; and this planned increase in ad spend is around double that for some digital channels including social media, display, and video.


Social media remains the favourite paid marketing channel among Asia-Pacific marketers. More than half (56%) say it’s the most effective paid channel, especially in the retail sector (64%).

However, it’s important to remember that while digital channels like social media, display, video, and search are increasingly better at engaging with wide audiences, linear TV is still one of the most effective channels for driving long-term sales lift.

Ultimately, the research highlights the importance of brands engaging with consumers through both upper-funnel and lower-funnel planning and execution to achieve brand awareness and customer acquisition in the mid- and long-term. To do this, brands need to use a mix of traditional and digital media channels to reach the widest audiences.

Quantifying the effects of brand building on long-term sales can be tough. The good news is that Nielsen’s research shows that on average, a 1-point gain in brand metrics, like awareness and consideration, drives a 1% increase in sales[1] . That means if a brand generates $100 million in annual sales, a 1-point gain in brand metrics would equate to an additional $1 million in sales.

There is an opportunity for marketers to educate their organisation about the latent sales impact of brand building. The best way to do this is with real results. Showing evidence of brand-building impact, done by measuring long-term sales and/or brand equity effects of upper-funnel marketing, will instill confidence among business leaders that their patience for sales results will be rewarded.


1. Engage through both upper-funnel and lower-funnel tactics to achieve your KPIs

The last several years have been a rollercoaster ride, so it's natural that marketers want to put their money in channels and tactics that deliver immediate ROI. However, marketers are increasingly more interested in driving brand awareness, requiring a different mix of channels, tactics and KPIs.

2. Don’t take non-marketing sources of brand equity for granted

Many traditional sources of brand equity have become less visible in recent years as people spend more time at home or do more of their shopping online. The increased pressure on non-marketing sources of equity elevates the importance of marketing in preserving a brand’s health.

3. Lean into the mass reach capabilities of digital channels

Yes, linear TV is, on average, one of the most effective channels for driving long-term sales lift, but next-gen channels like online video are increasingly growing in their ability to engage very wide audiences and can help round out well-balanced and holistic marketing strategies.

As media engagement shifts, agility and data are critical to optimise the entire marketing funnel. We continue to hear from marketers that an adaptive mindset is the most important attribute to have in business today. Combine that with a clear and real-time understanding of consumers and their behaviours, and brands become well-positioned to hone their messages, allocate their ad spend, adjust their media mix and optimise to drive ROI.

Download Nielsen's 2022 Global Annual Marketing Report Now!

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