Marie Oldham, Chief Strategy Officer at Havas Media, sets the scene for evaluating the effectiveness of your communications plans.
If you’ve travelled by air recently, you might have been struck by the relevance to the global business traveller of HSBC’s quirky yet meaningful advertising.
At Heathrow, for example, there is HSBC branding on every single jet bridge at Terminal 5. HSBC call this “saying goodbye at one end and hello at the other” and uses this powerful media moment at 49 airports in 28 countries to underpin the brand’s positioning as “The world’s local bank”.
The same campaign reaches out on a much more emotional level, with TV ads such as the wonderful ‘Cormorant’ and finally calls consumers to action with product activity such as hard-hitting, rational, digital ISA campaigns as the fiscal year ends.
This is just one of several campaigns that could be used to highlight the old-fashioned but true maxim, “the medium is the message”, a maxim which is possibly even more important today than it ever was. We must never forget that the effectiveness of advertising lies not just in the message itself but also where and when it is received.
We are already beginning to understand and evidence the power of word of mouth in social media or the value of fame generated by TV via campaigns such as Yeo Valley, Cadbury’s Gorilla or John Lewis.
Neuroscience has helped us to understand how time of day can enhance or decrease the receptiveness of our brains to advertising and click through rates allow us individually to measure engagement and the effect of editorial environment on consumer behaviour.
Would the business traveller be so receptive to HSBC if exposed to it whilst reading a Sunday supplement or listening to radio in the car? And what is the value of the ‘solus’ status of much of the airport advertising the brand uses?
Above and beyond individual channel impact, we also need to understand the impact on effectiveness of integrated, multi-channel exposure which spans paid, owned and earned channels. The new world of digitisation, shareability and consumer power makes life more data rich but also more complex.
We all know that TV can drive significant online traffic, from which sales can be closely correlated and even attributed to specific transmissions, but what do we know about the effect of negative social buzz on receptiveness to paid for advertising?
Do we really understand the interaction in consumers’ minds between paid for advertising and the branded content they see on YouTube?
In short, very few media impacts work in isolation and this is a key factor to consider when laying down any communications plan, when identifying the correct elements that need to be measured and when putting in place the relevant tracking tools needed to capture effectiveness data.
In this world of metadata and instant response, it is easy to want to try to measure everything. Measure what you need to, not what you can. Remember to focus on prioritised and proportionate analysis, i.e. not exerting too much resource and time on small investment elements which won’t inform future actions.
In short, when planning, buying and measuring the effectiveness of 21st century communications campaigns, we need to be clear from the outset about five things:
- Clearly defined, SMART, objectives.
- The role of each channel in the communications mix.
- The desired consumer outcome within each channel.
- The interdependencies of key channels across the spectrum of paid, owned and earned media.
- The tools we need to put in place before the campaign starts in order to ensure that we capture the right data to enable rigorous, post-campaign analysis.
Marie Oldham is Chief Strategy Officer at Havas Media.
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Last updated 09/10/2014