The Importance of Branding

Staying On-Trend and Establishing Trust
Written by Pauline Muller

Advertising has become a helical heart center. One that spins the lifeblood of digital and print media into the energizing force on which global commerce runs daily. But what real impact does advertising have these days, and is its return on marketing investment (ROMI) still worth the effort?

A few swift searches make it abundantly clear that of all forms of advertising, digital media is soaring. It comes as markets recover from the harsh economic hangover that millions of companies are navigating post-COVID. As it turns out, on-trend branding – and sticking closely to that branding – is where world-leading advertising experts are proving to harvest the highest ROMI for their clients. Loosely defined as profit and revenue increases gained as a direct result of advertising – as opposed to organic growth – one can be forgiven for blinking at yet another addition to the staggering list of acronyms in global market jargon.

Looking at the general economic effects of COVID on business revenue, some experts counsel that “there is no post-COVID era”. Instead, says Marketing Evolution, those in the industry should “prepare for the new normal.” For this team, a solid ROMI is around 5:1, while a fantastic ROMI generates metrics of around 10:1.

These, of course, are calculated while keeping in mind that every company naturally achieves different metrics driven by universal variables such as running costs and other elements like the condition of the industries it serves, etcetera. In whatever way companies choose to view the current market situation (a post-apocalyptic new world of sorts, or nothing more than the morning after the night before), how business approaches advertising has changed. That much most companies appear to agree with.

So, it makes sense to look at how advertising giants themselves are recovering from the undeniable recent economic whiplash when we look at how advertising is serving business in general. In August last year, Paul Sandle of Reuters reported that WPP plc – the famous British multinational advertising and communications mogul reporting revenue of well over USD15 billion in 2021 and employing around 10 000 workers – returned to its pre-COVID figures in record time. With a nearly 20% increase in new business, four full quarters faster than scheduled, the immediate future looks peachy for WPP plc and its subsidiaries. This sharp climb came as companies globally clamber to claim their stakes in what has become some of the most coveted real estate this side of Mars – consumer spending power as people return to pre-COVID shopping trends.

But how does this parent company of ever-popular advertising guru, New York’s famous Ogilvy, boost its customers’ bottom lines? “Clients are seeing a strong economic outlook for the second half of the year and into next year, and they’re choosing to invest in their brands. They’re shifting a lot of money into digital media,” Chief Executive Mark Read confirmed in an interview with Reuters in the third quarter of last year. “We’re seeing continued growth in public relations and public affairs given the importance of employee communications and corporate reputation.” Dale Carnegie’s wisdom on making friends and influencing people immediately comes to mind. But, after hard lockdowns, socializing for business purposes is not all about cocktail parties and golf events anymore – which brings us back to the power of digital advertising.

One international leader on this front is Omnicom Group. The company follows WWP plc in earnings, making it the highest revenue earner in the United States and the second-largest advertising agency worldwide, operating in more than 99 countries. It specializes in digital advertising, illustrating how much this media’s popularity has grown over the past few years. As the parent company of TikTok’s “global media agency”, PHD, Omnicom Group’s most valuable recent contribution to digital marketing launched in 2018. Omni, noted as “the industry’s most robust people-based identity graph” by the company itself, is a database leveraging several large identity management platforms that provide real-time, detailed information on buyer behavior. This information is used to regulate inventory and allows the ad agency to target users with expertly customized communication that speaks to consumers directly. It is one solid reason to consider when contemplating whether or not to get an advertising agency to take care of larger, more sophisticated marketing campaigns.

And this is not all that digital marketing can do for well-developed brands. Digital billboards are proving to be worth their weight in gold as studies show how much consumers enjoy and appreciate them. As a result of that enjoyment, consumers put their money where their smiles are. One of several pluses is the latest developments in BlueTooth technology making these large LED “shop windows” easier to manage and advertise on than ever before. I do not doubt that their capacity to show rather than tell also has a lot to do with their popularity. This specific digital media sector is growing in popularity with a forecasted expansion of over 8% predicted this year alone. This should bring the market value to around $117 billion this year and over $153 billion in 2026 at current estimations by the Business Research Company. This rapid growth is, in part, ascribed to the improved data handling capabilities of new LCD billboards.

Of course, digital marketing also involves e-zines, newsletters, websites, and social media posts. In heavy industry, where marketing is traditionally less sexy, a well-honed branding campaign can bring new life to a stayed and outdated business image. After all, branding is about getting your name out there and imprinting trust. Some tough questions to ask when considering building a new or revamping an established brand include whether clients arrive with some existing idea of what the company does or not. Does your excellent company name travel ahead of its services? If not, it may be time to get real with some well-seasoned branding professionals.

In a world where the war for market space is literally off the charts being visible and vocal about your unique value proposition has become essential. Whether companies choose to use digital or hardcopy media, the success of any branding and marketing campaign will reflect in the bottom line. With each focused campaign, marketing teams must be able to provide the statistics on what worked best. Keeping an eye on public relations promises profitability – perhaps more now than ever.

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