By: Jaimie Hefelfinger
Do you know what was missing from the show Mad Men? A lot of advertising jargon.

No one was talking about attribution, return on ad spend (ROAS), dynamic revenue macros, etc. None of those terms existed…and yet, people were still advertising. Sales were still increasing. Revenue was coming in. Branding was the only objective, and it worked.

With the adoption of digital came the adoption of digital metrics. Every campaign became focused on driving site traffic and on-site user action. But the value of branding has not gone away. As the industry becomes less reliant on cookies, there is a renewed interest in the value branding has in driving results. Now is the time to think about how you can incorporate branding into your media strategy.

The goal behind branding is to drive consumers into the sales funnel. You need to raise their awareness and intention by bringing attention to your (or your advertiser’s) brand. In fact, on average, it takes five to seven impressions for consumers to remember a brand (Currati). This upper funnel strategy is often overlooked in favor of lower-level solutions that drive immediate dollars. However, it is necessary to keep the funnel full for continued success.

Branding is especially important for longer sales cycles that require a lot of research or consideration. Take education, for instance: it takes months, or sometimes even years, to decide which institution is the best fit. Having that reminder of one school over another can help break through the clutter and remain in the top spot.

Conversely, branding is important for very short sales cycles as well, such as impulse shopping. I doubt you do too much research into chewing gum brands when you pick one up as you stand in the grocery aisle. But if you have seen one brand a number of times and are less familiar with another, you’re more likely to choose that first brand.

Additionally, advertising your sales and offers through a branding campaign can help drive consumer attention. You might not be passionate about your home improvement store but knowing what sales or offers are happening (and associating them with a particular brand) could very well persuade your shopping behavior.

Strategy Tips

Here are some things to keep in mind when building out a branding strategy:

  • Video and audio work great! – These visually/audibly appealing ad formats can break through the clutter and use sight, sound, and motion to increase the audience’s retention rate.
  • Do not pigeonhole yourself – You will not need to over-target with branding. The idea is to prospect to find new customers, so cast a wide net.
  • Consider all channels – This is a great time to test a variety of platforms through social, programmatic, and search.
  • Keep your messaging consistent – According to SmallBizGenius, presenting a brand consistently across all platforms can increase revenue by up to 23%. Make sure all your creative assets have the same look and feel as your marketing strategy. You want the user to see the ad and immediately recognize your business. It is much harder to do if nothing is working in concert.

Measuring Success

Be sure to set the right expectations when discussing how you will measure the success of your campaign. Branding can be measured by:

  • Total Impressions: The total number of times an ad was served.
  • eCPM: The average cost of buying media.
  • Completion Rate: The percentage of people that watched or listened to an ad to completion.
  • Cost Per Complete View/Listen (eCPCV/eCPCL): The average cost of someone watching or listening to an ad to its completion.

At some point, digital metrics reduced the desire for branding campaigns, but the truth is, they work. We need branding to drive consumers into our funnel and to stand out against the competition. Do not underestimate the importance of connecting a brand’s message with the right person—regardless of a click or a conversion.