There was a time when we talked endlessly about brand
But that brand conversation took place a lifetime ago–before SEO, social, Google and its endless algorithms hijacked the conversation. While the importance of brand has never diminished, it no longer dominates the dialog. But these are tough times for big brands as they try to figure out how to reach today’s consumer.
Let’s take a look at Procter & Gamble, (think Tide, Crest, Charmin and a whopping $7B in annual ad revenue) who owns the market on ad spend.
P&G is trying to focus that lavish ad spend on smarter, more accountable marketing
According to Kimberly Doebereiner, director of brand building integrated communication for P&G, “The consumer hates advertising right now. The experience is not good. Our industry, both the media and big companies like mine, are helping create that bad experience. We’ve got to figure out a better consumer experience.”
Annoying or irrelevant TV commercials are bad enough, but interrupting those using smartphones or tablets has prompted a surge in ad blockers. Doebereiner and others like her don’t really know what the future of advertising looks like.
Both an intern and expert in a changing marketplace
“I’m in the position of being an expert and an intern because of a rapidly changing consumer marketplace,” said Doebereiner. Over the last 21 years she has worked in almost every P&G category, helping build equity and strengthen communications. She is learning every single day about new habits and trends and how to reach consumers.
Consumers are part of massive changes in how they look at content, how they watch TV, how they buy their products. Yet big brands are left with comments about how bad advertising is.
Let’s not forget the economics of advertising and providing value
Some of us remember when TV was free. Advertising subsidizes content in virtually all media. But the model has changed—no one has free TV anymore. We’re all subscribing to cable channels at varying levels and streaming services, including phone and data fees.
“So what’s the value of advertising for you?” she said. “There should be a value. If advertising is giving the gift of information, we should be better serving you.” Repetition fatigue is a big concern for digital commercials. Spoiled consumers want “frictionless” shopping—we want to be able to order something on Amazon tonight and count on its being delivered tomorrow or the next day. That’s frictionless. That’s great service.
Will we be marketing to bots in the future?
Marketing companies such as P&G also must figure out how to market to bots—not just consumers. “How much of marketing will become bot-to-bot marketing?” she asked. “Knowing the algorithm, knowing what the algorithm is offering or promising. There will be things you don’t deem important enough to spend your time on that you’d just be happy letting that bot take care of for you. That’s a whole new arena.”