Navigating Digital Disruption by Building Brand Equity
March 3, 2020Erin Casement
Is your brand struggling to navigate digital marketing disruption? Part two of our LRW Group "Cookie Apocalypse" series explores how increasing brand equity can be an effective tool to engage customers in a post-cookie world.
There’s no question digital marketing disruption is here. To help you navigate, the LRW Group collaborated on a five-part series that tackles the biggest challenges you’ll face in the coming months and years. The first installation explored why first-party data is now king, and how brands can harness pixels and loyalty programs to reach and engage customers in a post-cookie world. Our second installation explores how building brand equity can be another effective strategy to reach your customers.
As most marketers are by now aware, third-party cookies are living on borrowed time, scheduled to disappear from Chrome by 2022. Historically, marketers have had the luxury of following users around the internet. However, in a post-cookie world, it’s important to shift your focus to building a stronger brand, fortified with content and messages that help you stay top of mind and forge a deeper connection with your customers.
Here’s how to tackle.
Survival tactic: focus on building brand equity
Your brand’s equity encompasses the total value of your brand, based on how people perceive and experience your products/services and company as a whole. In today’s world, your customers are more savvy, skeptical, and demanding than ever before. They are much more discerning about the brands they choose to bring into their inner circle. They want brands that speak their language, share their values, and live up to their standards and connect with them in more authentic and dynamic ways.
By evolving your brand strategy to focus on building an essential brand your customers can’t live without, you’ll naturally increase brand equity and sales (without cookies).
Step 1: Measure current awareness and brand perceptions to unlock key equities, globally
Before you can develop an informed brand strategy to increase your brand equity, you should first assess current-state. We often turn to Attitude & Usage Studies and in-depth interviews to better understand perceptions in the marketplace relative to your target audience and competition. The results can help guide what your brand stands for, differentiation opportunities, and marketing campaign ideas.
Step 2: Identify key brand positioning guidelines that will improve brand equity
Once you’ve got a solid understanding of your brand’s equity as it exists today, determine what guidelines you can put in place to strengthen brand positioning and improve equity going forward. These guidelines should help answer key questions about your brand: What do you stand for? Why is your brand different? Why should consumers care? Your brand positioning is a north star meant to guide the way for decisions pertaining to creative, communications, experiences, and more.
Step 3: Catalyze action and win more customers
The third stage is activation — using the guidelines you’ve identified above, invest in needed updates. These could include brand voice and messaging, brand identity, visual design, etc. At a minimum, your brand should be easily recognizable and memorable. Your tone and style of language should connect with your target personas and set your brand apart. These updates and insights from step 1 should be used as inputs for targeted communications strategies that inspire passion and purchase.
The goal is to bring your brand to life in ways that it keep it top of mind. One recent example we love? McDonalds’ minimalist outdoor ad campaign. The company took a well-calculated risk that it could rely on consumer familiarity with its famous sandwich ingredients. With that in mind, it created an innovative campaign that has resulted in a lot of buzz.
LRW Group calls brand currencies such as McDonald’s sandwich ingredients ‘Iconic Assets’, and the group’s Pragmatic Brain Science® team helps brands use such assets to boost messaging. LRW encourages brands to invest in research so they can accurately measure asset strengths and convert such strengths into brand equity.
Brand Equity Case Studies
Updating UCLA’s brand messaging
Kelton Global helped UCLA, one of the world’s most renowned universities, update its messaging for a diverse cohort of current and prospective students. We used concept testing and brand tracking in the U.S. and key global markets such as Japan, India and Turkey to generate cultural insights that laid the groundwork for a successful global growth strategy and rebranding campaign.
Developing a new strategy for a pickle brand
A well-known pickle brand turned to LRW when it found itself in a pickle. The brand enjoyed a high level of recognition, but — among other issues — its fans weren’t aware where to find it in the supermarket. LRW’s Online Anthropology group designed a study that used computational linguistic analysis to understand the nuances of online conversations about pickles. Pickle enthusiasts know that all pickles are not created equal, and LRW helped the brand grow its Facebook fan base 25x in four months and increase market share 0.4 points.
To conclude: Don’t panic or get in a pickle about the disappearance of third-party data. Instead, focus on messaging and strengthening brand equity to ensure that your brand is on the radar of your consumers.
In the third installment of our Cookie Apocalypse series, we’ll focus on how brands can use contextual advertising to reach consumers in the post-cookie world.