Charting A Course Through The Brand Media Maze

Brand marketers often find themselves lost in a metaphorical hedge maze, desperately seeking a way out. As privacy restrictions tighten and new media channels continue to emerge, brands are stuck with seemingly no direction. The headlines signal gloom and doom, and traditional modes of measurement have begun to falter.

The implications of this maze are real, but the solutions can be elusive. Amid the uncertainty, three clear paths can lead brands above the hedge maze and toward clarity:

Strong creative rooted in customer research. By reinvesting in research, brands can gain insight into behaviors and preferences that influence a customer’s shopping patterns. These learnings can serve as a guide for impactful partnerships and campaign concepts that will resonate with consumers.

An example of a brand campaign that had a strong pulse on customer preferences and behavior was Michael Cera's CeraVe Super Bowl commercial. This campaign was inspired by Reddit threads and social media posts that linked Michael Cera to CeraVe. Even before airing at the Super Bowl, this campaign drove 6 billion earned impressions and millions of social engagements without paid media. This success highlights the power of social listening and high-quality production in campaign effectiveness.



While executing campaigns at this level can be daunting and require significant resources, there are much lower lift efforts that can drive a brand’s results. For example, generative AI is transforming creative production, with experts noting a reduction in the time spent on intricate edits, condensing what once took months of labor into mere hours or days. Syndicated research and real-time media models are now at marketers’ disposal, greatly shortening the planning process, as well.

Unifying marketing efforts into cohesive campaigns. When faced with fragmented marketing strategies, brands can consolidate efforts behind a single, powerful concept. Apple’s “Shot on iPhone” campaign, launched in 2015 alongside the iPhone 6 release was one example. Aligning messaging across billboards, commercials, and paid social ads, Apple maintained a consistent connection with its audience, enhancing its market presence. 

Consistent branding across all channels can increase revenue anywhere between 10% and 20%. Apple's Shot on iPhone 6 campaign generated 6.5 billion media impressions, 95% positive mentions, and 24 million mentions on Instagram alone (Matrix Bricks).

Embracing advanced measurement. Incrementality testing, mixed media modeling, and evaluation tools that consider all touchpoints and interactions offer a path toward an accurate assessment of marketing impact.

Leaning into data-driven measurement allows brands to gain the insights needed to make informed decisions. This change in perspective transforms the way companies budget, enabling them to allocate resources more effectively and adapt to evolving consumer behaviors.

As marketers navigate the hedge maze, they will begin to recognize the need for a completely different marketing approach. The view of measurement extends beyond immediate returns, encompassing long-term implications and strategic insights.

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