Digital Changing The Intersection Of Message, Branding

PassikoffSearch contributes 18% across all brand categories, and a brand's Web site adds 16%. Companies want to get cozy with consumers, but marketers need to pay closer attention to where they should have that conversation, according to a study released Monday at OMMA Global in San Francisco.

The Digital Platform Engagement Index looks at how digital changes branding for companies. It becomes less important to analyze the audience demographics and learn more about how the 14 digital platforms intersect in their product and service categories.

Findings suggest age is less important than knowing where consumers engage with the brand for specific information. Brands need to look at how consumers view the brand, according to Robert Passikoff, Brand Keys president.

Some platforms attract a specific type of demographic or audience segment. Marketers that want to talk about family-friendly topics with consumers who spend a lot of time online might want to do it on social networks, he said.

Brands can accomplish that, Brand Keys suggests, by overlaying information about digital platforms like blogs, social, search and mobile marketing with four key drivers and their specific values, Passikoff said. "It's more important to find where specific messages resonate across digital platforms," he said. "By knowing this you can use the category drivers and determine the message."

It's no longer a question of whether a brand should be on Facebook, but what message resonates best there.

Social networks and blogs seem to have the greatest overall influence on consumers. Consumers who spend a lot of time online and want information on product safety, for example, will typically find and read it on a blog, rather than a message about product safety, strong relief, or whether the product is family-friendly. The general population might see it differently. Brands might find that the "doctor recommended" message makes a much smaller impact when disseminated on blogs, compared with talking about safety in another way.

When it comes to search engine marketing, of the 83 categories included in the 2012 Brand Keys Customer Loyalty Engagement Index, the categories exhibiting the greatest levels of brand engagement for the digital search include upscale hotels, office supply stores, flat screen TVs, discount retail stores, and athletic footwear.

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