Brand Impact: What Are We Looking For, Where Are We Going To Find It and How Are We Going To Measure It?

“In today’s marketing and media environment only the naive and foolish confuse presence with impact” – Steven J. Heyer, former COO of the Coca-Cola Company

A study conducted by The Guardian found that on any single day in London, the average person can be exposed to around 3,500 different forms of advertising, of which 99% creates no impact with individuals. While this was produced some time ago the argument that the significant majority of ads we see in our lives have little to no effect on us is far from outdated (there are many more recent articles on this subject).

So what this tells us on a very simplistic level is that buying presence and hitting eyeballs is much easier than generating real meaningful impact.

Primarily brand impact means significantly influencing a person’s perception of a brand to the extent where they’re engaging with them on an emotional level.

The ultimate goal in terms of brand impact is to transform a stranger or prospect into a brand advocator who is capable of promoting a brand’s core message to others.

To achieve this goal, merely buying-up as much advertising space as is financially possible won’t cut it, brands need to create fully immersive experiences, one’s which can produce meaningful human connections.

Why brands should be generating greater relationship with consumers.

Although I am not the first to say this, and I sure as hell won’t be the last, social media has significantly changed the way in which brands and consumers develop relationships.

The old advertising format was simple – brands placed messages in front of consumers.

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Now it’s far more chaotic. Not only are brands still pushing their messages at consumers but consumers are able to push back, sharing their thoughts with others and adding their noise to the whole mix. The evolution of a two-way conversation between brands and consumers has become a well-orchestrated shouting match performed on a global level.

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Although within this shouting match there will be much noise (including negative comments), there is always the chance that social media communicators will celebrate a brand, accelerating word-of-mouth and embracing the lifestyle that a brand wishes to evoke.

This is what brands should aim for – creating real impact in the daily lives of people, to the extent where a brand can (for lack of a better word) manipulate their thinking and behaviours.

Just because they ‘LIKE’ you, doesn’t mean they like you!

Or to be more precise, just because they like you, doesn’t mean they are buying what you are selling.

One of the basic metrics for measuring social media success is to constantly measure increases (or decreases) of likes and follows. Whilst this does provide a basic overview in regards to media success, it can also obviously be misleading.

By merely measuring your following you’re not actually measuring if the content you are producing is having any deep and meaningful impact with your target community.

Take for instance Ferrari. Presently, they have over 16million likes on Facebook. Now in reality they know that most of those people aren’t going to be buying a supercar from them or anyone else anytime soon (Ferrari has only ever sold around 130,000 cars in total – ever).

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For Ferrari social media is not a way to drive greater sales, but a way to maintain the prestige and iconicity of the brand. They want people to admire the Ferrari that drives past them and to desire a similar status to that owner.

With this in mind people will want to interact with Ferrari on social media as it suggests that they have a tangible relationship with the brand. Therefore in theory Ferrari should be driving a significant level of engagement on an emotional level.

Yet the most successful post on Facebook for Ferrari in July gained 16,068 engagements. If we were to go on the assumption that each of those engagements is one individual (which in reality is unlikely) this means that they only actively engaged with 0.1% of their followers.

Now this on its own doesn’t mean that Ferrari failed in generating brand impact – far from it. However it does tell us, just because you have millions of followers doesn’t mean that you’ve cracked any code to successful advertising.

While there is no magic solution to gaining brand impact, by measuring it you can have a greater chance

When it comes to generating brand impact there is no one size fits all. There are certain tactics, processes and strategies that are likely to have greater impact, but these should be precisely tailored to the brand, brief and KPIs.

However there are always ways to identify if the brand is successfully having brand impact on a significant scale.

Firstly it must be classified precisely what we are looking for, where is it going to be found and how is it going too measured?

By optimizing this well-structured process we can discover the extent to which people are having the desired reaction and perception towards a brand.

In our last blog post, our copywriter Krish identified how a tagline can be used to reinforce the brand promise. So in theory we could use the tagline as a way to discover if people are engaging with the brand as we desire them to.

For instance, with ‘Be More Dog’ o2 promises that with their app, o2 priorities, people will have a greater sense of freedom and satisfaction with their purchases.

By using ‘Be More Dog’ as a direct search term through analytics tools we can be provided with the raw data that will ultimately (after filtering and in-depth analysis) tell us whether or not that campaign and tagline is having the desired impact.

There is no guarantee that people will react to your brand and campaign as you desire them to (just look at the reaction to Protein World’s ‘Beach Body Ready’ Campaign). However with social media we have been provided with direct access to the minds of these consumers, meaning that we can at the very least measure brand impact beyond basic metrics.

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