A Brand In Dire Need Of Building: Programmatic's

Programmatic has a brand problem. It is that it’s not seen as a branding tool. That was the consensus of brand gurus debating the role programmatic can or should play beyond “performance” during OMMA Chicago on Tuesday. Interesting, the debate seemed to focus mainly on the role of timing, and the notion that brand “building” takes a long time to happen, and a real-time tool like programmatic may be 1) antithetical to that process, or b) may take time to prove its role in contributing to the long-term value of branding.

“Branding is learning,” asserted Patrick Palmer, partner and discipline lead, strategy & analytics at VSA Partners,” adding that the immediacy of programmatic audience targeting might be at odds with that.

“You might be changing too soon,” he said, suggesting that the real-time, iterative nature of programmatic campaigns may not allow for a longer-term process in which consumers “incorporate things about brands in their lives more gradually.”



Palmer didn’t count programmatic’s ability to do that out, he just implied that the industry hasn’t figured out how to use it that way yet.

“It’s at the Netscape Navigator stage of brand-building,” he said, drawing an analogy to the seminal World Wide Web browser that got brands involved in advertising online in the first place. But if you think about how long it took brands to really get brand-oriented with online advertising -- heck, many people think the industry still hasn’t gotten  there yet -- it’s easy to see what Palmer means.

In the near-term, at least one of the panelists believed programmatic is already playing a significant branding role -- not building brands, but sustaining them.

PHD’s Mary Carpenter said that by playing a more scientific role in identifying which impressions to serve at the right time to the right targets programmatic is playing a key role in spreading brands’ messages.

“I consider that branding. It’s not building a brand, but it’s sustaining brands,” she said.

Carpenter said programmatic is also beginning to play a role on the back-end of branding, enabling brand marketers to use data management platforms to do “forensics” on which campaigns and media exposures are resonating best. She cited a recent campaign PHD managed for pharmaceutical client GSK that find the brand was targeting the wrong consumers with its brand messages online.

3 comments about "A Brand In Dire Need Of Building: Programmatic's".
Check to receive email when comments are posted.
  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, October 28, 2015 at 10:56 a.m.

    Joe, I'm confused.

    The branding guys are correct that real time ad exposure and immediate---or almost immediate---- tracking of results ( sales? ) is not the end all or be all for branding advertisers. There are many other less easily defined metrics---like favorable brand image, future buying intent, etc. as well as campaign sales point registration, that are involved and these deveolp overweeks, months and years, not every time an ad is "served". But why pick on programmatic? This is merely a computerized media buying system, isn't it. If all of the promises made for programmatic are true, it hits the advertiser's target at the right time with the right message. Why wouldn't this be appropriate for a branding advertiser as well as a direct marketer?

  2. Larry Guerrero from ICF International, October 28, 2015 at 11:31 a.m.

    I agree with Ed. I don't see how automated buying negates the brand-building effects of a message. And how does the ability to track consumer interaction interfere with building a brand? It's not a zero-sum game. You can build brand and measure results. The two are not mutually exclusive.

    Lastly, the only issue with programmatic that might give one pause with regards to brand building is that unless you are contextually targeting, the environment may not be relevant to the brand or message.

  3. Craig Jaffe from Baruch College, Zicklin School of Business, October 28, 2015 at 2:20 p.m.

    With 90% invalid traffic, programmatic can be problematic. I encourage everyone to read the ANA's white paper on the subject. With actual real-world cases of programmatic demonstrating high levels of invalid traffic, branding and all carefully laid plans to advertise are at stake.

Next story loading loading..