Balance long and short-term activity
According to Field’s research, finding the right balance, which falls somewhere around a 60/40 allocation of brand versus activation-focused work respectively, is crucial. Short-term sales activation uses behavioral prompts to trigger desire whereas long-term brand building is emotional priming and requires creativity and consideration. “Smart people do both,” Field said.
Short-termism is dangerous
Field said short-termism originated in the digital age, but was accelerated by the financial crisis. To illustrate the dangers of short-termism, he used the AA case study as an example of a brand that invested solely in short-term sales activation. Once the brand returned to an optimal balance, re-focusing on brand building with emotionally engaging work, they saw all of their key metrics improve.
Fame & creativity drive long-term growth
Of his six key principles, Field seemed to favor fame. Calling it “the A-Team of marketing,” he listed shock, surprise, amazement, disgust and hilarity as ways to drive fame, with surprise ranking highest. “Humor is inherently surprising,” Field said, “It’s all about taking risks and leaving our comfort zone and creativity is the amplifier of fame.” According to Field, the trick is to find an emotional insight that is relevant in the category and execute it in an unexpected way.
Use the right media for the right purposes
Field’s data shows that in order to drive long term growth, it’s essential to target both existing and new customers. Using only digital channels and narrowing focus to a certain segment sacrifices brand building. Very few channels are effective drivers of both short- and long-term growth. “Media is not good at both sales activation and brand building,” said Field. Field also pointed out that in the UK, TV “consistently outperforms online video because of scalability.”
Beware the ROI trap
According to Field, the one way to grow a brand is through penetration. “It’s very easy to get a big ROI serving messaging to people who already know you well,” Field said. “But using ROI as a primary decision metric is dangerous because it underestimates long term strategies.” Field emphasized that this doesn’t mean brands shouldn’t measure return on media investment, but rather that “the dollar you allocate to drive long-term growth will not show results overnight.”
Field covered a lot of ground during his session but host David Chriswick and audience members had more questions to ask the expert during a Q&A segment. Topics touched on reach (“Just go for the biggest reach you can afford,” Field advised), innovation (“Use innovation as reinforcement of emotional territory”), purpose-led brand building (“Purpose is a means to an end. You have to commit to it.”), and messaging, (“Growth is not about communicating messages. Great brands are rooted in some kind of message but it needs to be connected to the reality of the brand.”).
Field’s experience -- and his willingness to disrupt traditionally-held marketing best practices and focus on what matters to consumers -- made this a morning that Digitas will be talking about for a long time.
Interested in learning more?
- Keep the conversation going…
- Reach out to David Chriswick to discuss how to accelerate brand growth using these evidence-based principles of marketing effectiveness.