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Published by S&® Brand Communications









THE TOUGH GET VOCAL Andy Sellers MIPA MCAM, S&® Brand Communications

In times of economic downturn and uncertainty the first thought of many brand-owner companies is to cut their marketing budgets, freeze their ad spend and restrict all marketing activities. Of course, reducing overall company expenditure may be necessary if sales and profitability are falling, but very often, and unfairly, the marketing budget becomes the immediate and automatic first casualty in such circumstances because company management still views marketing spend as a necessary evil, regarding it as a cost rather than an investment.

budgets by the same proportion, then there would be little impact on individual brands. But the experience of previous downturns shows that some brands maintain or increase their marketing spend, while others cut theirs. And there is evidence to show that those who do cut their spend suffer in the longer term, in terms of market share and profitability. It is calculated that the cost of a brand’s eventual recovery is three or four times greater than any savings made by knee-jerk budget cuts. Earlier this year an IPA seminar, attended by a number of well-respected consumer data and econometric consultancies, considered the consequences of companies cutting their marketing budgets in a downturn, and addressed the likely impact on their brands and profitability.

It is vital to maintain advertising activities in tough times

Even those companies which do appreciate the contribution successful brands make to their business fortunes may assume that it does no harm to chop marketing spend in difficult economic circumstances. But there is considerable evidence to refute this assumption and, moreover, to show that it is vital to at least maintain, if not increase, advertising and marketing activities in tough times. If all brands in a category were to cut their marketing

Leading consumer research provider Millward Brown presented data showing the strong correlation between the level of consumer bonding with the brand and its market share. Unsurprisingly, it showed that marketing budget cuts result in reduced consumer bonding, weakened brand image, lower usage and market share decline. The data went on to demonstrate the strong relationship between market share decline and

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the key marketing expenditure metric, i.e., ‘share of voice’ minus ‘share of market’. Share of voice is defined as a brand’s share of total category marketing communications expenditure. In order to gain competitive advantage a brand’s share of voice should exceed its share of market, and successful brand managers realise this. Even in recessionary times when budgets are under extra pressure a brand must at least maintain its share of voice in order to retain existing brand preference and emerge a healthy business when recovery comes. The benefits of doing so will have proven even greater if, in the meantime, the competition have cut their own spend.

ahead. Alarmingly, in the short term the consequence of not maintaining spend may not be apparent, and not for some considerable time, possibly up to four years, due to the time-lag effect of advertising payback. It should not be overlooked that while marketing spend delivers share of voice in terms of volume, the creative content of all activities also has an extremely important part to play in ensuring that the voice is listened to - making the brand’s communications more arresting, engaging and relevant than those of its competitors.

Engaging creative ensures brand voice is listened to

If the brand fails to maintain spend, its market share will decline and the company’s fortunes will suffer in the longer term, as those competitors who have maintained or increased their activities will have leapt



In creative terms, brand voice should reflect core values, and all brand communications should be well orchestrated to ensure consistency of message … dare I say, they should all be singing off the same hymn sheet … bn If you’d care to comment on this article, you can email Andy Sellers at

The Best Words... are the customer’s So you have done all the research, you’ve got your brand values nailed, you’ve debated over the ‘marketing message’, you’ve briefed the agency, they’ve put your message into the medium… and it’s still not having the desired effect. The ‘customers’ are not behaving as you want them to. Frustrating or what! Could it be that the right things are being said, but in the wrong way? It is now common knowledge that words are only a tiny proportion of our whole communication, and yet the words we do use carry enormous power, particularly if they have to convey the whole message.

The most powerful words are our own words; the words that we use to describe our experiences, the words that carry the energy of our emotions, the words that evoke images in our mind’s eye and bring those images alive. The problem is, as marketers and creatives, we tend to use the words that are powerful to us, but not necessarily to our customers. We can only influence the behaviour of our customers by speaking to them in their own language. And this means using the exact words they use and conveying what is important to them in the appropriate mix of words, visuals and sounds. Taking the customer’s words and then putting our own slant on them, just does not work.

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We must speak to customers in THEIR language

Remember New Coke? A classic mistake made by a classic brand. Taste tests indicated that the new formula was a winner – but the language killed it dead. Sentimental attachment to the original was so great that the mere idea of something ‘new’ caused outrage among customers. Now had they introduced the new version with words such as ‘it’s still the Coke you know and love’, they might have had a different result.

How then do we extract these power words, the key words and emotional triggers of our customers? The answer is simple – but not easy. The answer lies in questioning and listening techniques that go way beyond the conventional approaches; techniques that reach directly into the emotions of the consumer, helping them to recall contextual experiences and reveal their powerful key words and triggers for that specific context. Incorporate these key words into a well executed, targeted message and they score a direct hit on the customer’s emotional pull to respond. The message can be conveyed through the written or spoken word, through visual imagery and through sound – but it still has to be conveying their words, their emotions and their desires. Does this apply to every brand? Absolutely it does.

Every decision we make is driven by our emotional association, or disassociation, with that brand, product or service. So whether you are a public sector or private sector organisation, focusing on B2B or B2C, if you want to influence your customers’ responses and behaviour, you need to know the best words to use to trigger their emotions. The AA’s Fourth Emergency Service campaign hit the hot buttons of consumers who didn’t want to worry about breaking down and having to deal with the ensuing problems. Identifying with the ‘worries’ was far more effective in this case than selling the benefit. By contrast, other brands have had their ads pinging back and forth for years because they just aren’t resonating with their customers. Lord Leverhulme, the British founder of Unilever, is often quoted as saying ‘Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the problem is I don’t know which half’. If only we’d been around then to tell him. If you know how to speak to your customers, and you know their key words and expressions to use, you’ll never waste half your advertising spend again. bn Di Tunney is managing director of The Best Organisation, experts in customer language and behaviour. For more information contact Di on 07771 596362 or

Our publishing efforts are not completely altruistic. We do hope that on reading Brand News some of our readers might recognise and appreciate S&®’s understanding of brand related issues, and perhaps consider putting a brief our way?

Welcome to the 16th issue of Brand News - we hope you enjoy reading it as much as we enjoy putting it together. We’re S&®, brand communications agency.

If the idea appeals, please don’t hesitate to call or email …

Andy Sellers direct tel: 0115 8404 262 or email:

For a living, we build brands through distinctive, creative advertising and marketing communications. No matter how big or small your organisation, there’s a brand at the heart of it. We bring it out. Give it voice. A voice that’s more distinctive, more relevant, more engaging than that of its rivals. And by doing that, we help the brand owner grow their business.


And in our spare time we write and publish Brand News, to be read by anyone who shares our belief in the power of the brand.

BRAND NEWS BACK ISSUES FREE downloads - see our website

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Every stock shot tells the same story >>


Picture a boardroom scene. Around the polished table, strewn with mobiles, lap tops etc, you have a tousled grey haired Cloonyesk MD pointing his Mont Blanc at a younger; square jawed; ethnically nondescript colleague, the evening sun casting shadows from the venetian blinds behind him, whist an equally attractive female business type of Asian extraction looks on.

You’ve just been stock libraried! This scene, reproduced a thousand times and familiar to anyone who has ever gazed upon a corporate website, is one of literally millions of stock library images which have flooded the advertising and marketing industry since the early 80’s. It’s not a new phenomenon, but with the advance of broadband internet allowing immediate download of larger sized images, cheaper and better quality digital cameras, the rise of the corporate website and the reduction of corporate marketing budgets, the use of stock images has never been greater. I am not here to lambast the use of image libraries such as Getty Images or istockphoto. To do so would be hypocritical of me because, as a practising professional photographer, I supply images to a library, the ‘Science Photo Library’, myself. What has happened, what is happening, is the erosion of the fertile ground in which photographers, illustrators and graphic designers would originally cut their collective teeth! The skill in visualising a totally conceptual piece of work from ‘scratch’ and moulding that concept to satisfy a brief is in danger of being lost; the creative thought processes stalled by the need to produce near finished looking visuals double quick using downloadable pre-existent imagery. It seems today that designers who would originally have considered the brief, constructed a bespoke solution which may be forceful, witty but memorable do little more than page mark up to a grid. Who can blame a cash strapped marketing director in a

company with a finite budget who must produce his corporate literature/web site in looking for a cheaper way? Cheaper? maybe. Boring, hydrogenated, regurgitated, predictable? Definitely.

Stock shots may be cheaper, but predictable for sure In fairness, the best libraries can carry high quality stock images with a seemingly inexhaustible subject range, from a DNA strand to images from NASA. There are times when the brief requires an image unobtainable through any other source and that’s fine. But if your looking for an original, unAmericanised, run of the mill shot of, say,a boardroom; why not commission a shoot that will be fully controlled and tailored to your company/client giving you an image to which you own the rights and to use as you wish across all mediums? If cost is to be the only consideration when commissioning images for something as crucial as the first attack wave of a corporations selling machine - it’s face if you will - I predict the need for massive plastic surgery in the not too distant future. As a professional photographer I have seen the job demographic alter immeasurably over the last 10 - 15 years - I think I have only had 1 corporate shoot this year compared to 1 a month 10 years ago - and perversely I am asked on occasion to ‘mimic’ a library shot sample to tailor the image for a client. I think the term is ‘the cart before the horse...’ So come on you art directors and marketing managers out there. Earn your creative stripes like you used to HAVE to and push out the boundaries of expressionism. Next time you are about pop in a royalty free disk with a thousand images looking for a compromise, give a local photographer a chance to show you what he can do for you. You will feel better for turning out a better, more personalised product. Want to comment? Call John McLean on 0115 9120030 or email John at

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Extending your brand - A smart move or a stretch too far? >>


With the current economic climate we are all looking at ways in which we can maintain and grow our current business. With this in mind many businesses are now looking to get more from their brands by extending them. Brand extensions have increased in number significantly over the last decade. They have become a standard strategy for new product or service introductions in today’s fiercely competitive marketplace. Perhaps one of the best examples of a successful brand extension in recent times is Virgin where they have successfully extended their brand into airlines, records, insurance, banking and even soft drinks. Wilkinson Sword shaving has successfully extended its brand into garden tools. There are many other successful examples.

Brand extensions have increased in number significantly over the last decade

Be careful… Brand extensions may not be an appropriate approach for master brands, i.e., brands which are so dominant in consumers’ minds that they ‘own’ a particular association with a product category, situation, product attribute, or consumer benefit. These master brands enjoy widespread recognition and are often market leaders in the product categories in which they compete. In terms of extension failure it should be noted that there are long term costs to the failure of a brand extension if a brand loses its credibility in one sector, the whole umbrella range could be affected. Is it worth running the risk of tarnishing the master brand image and reducing the core brand equity? Managers should gather sufficient information before moving into a brand extension.

Save money… The increase in brand extensions has grown alongside its popularity among businesses looking to cut costs by using existing brand names when introducing new products or services. Extension from

a well known brand can save an organisation the £millions it would otherwise cost to market and promote of a new product or service. They also give business an opportunity to achieve growth in a cost-controlled environment.

Make it fit…

It is widely noted that consumers will transmit their beliefs about the master brand to the extension if they relate a fit between both elements. It is also suggested that the strong and well-defined position of a dominant brand in consumers’ minds would become diluted with the introduction of an extension, implying that any extension would lower attitude towards the parent brand. The dilution of dominant parent brand evaluations may be more evident for extensions with poor fit because these extensions encourage associations that conflict with the strong product category associations of the parent brand.

Make it a success… In order to give your brand extension the best chance of success the first key area to consider is that of market related factors which are primarily external activities, the second being company related factors operations that can be controlled from within the organisation. Even though it is no guarantee of success, a brand extension must be supported with appropriate investment in advertising and marketing. Also if there is a direct relationship between the quality of the parent brand and consumer evaluations of the brand extension your brand extension has a greater chance of success. Wayne Greensmith, Senior Brand Manager, Wilkinson Sword Garden, Fiskars Brands UK Ltd., Wilkinson Sword is a registered trademark of Wilkinson Sword Limited and is applied under licence by Fiskars Brands UK Limited.

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RESULTS 2008/09 >>


This year we have a new number one Superbrand in the form of Google by virtue of it being the most highly regarded brand in the eyes of consumers. Google replaced Microsoft®, which was the number one brand in 2007/08. Both technology giants have, over recent years, come to dominate Superbrand surveys – in the Business Superbrands results announced in the Spring of 2008, both brands also competed for the top slot with Google again just pipping Microsoft® to the number one position.

through a rigorous and multi-layered process and deserve their Superbrand status. For most of the brands it is their inclusion in this elite group, from the rather than their position within it. bn

Official Top 20 - 2008/09 1




Clearly both brands have become highly influential. Whether we ask consumers, as we did in this survey, or media & marketing experts and business professionals, as we did for the Business Superbrands survey, both brands have come up time and time again in the last couple of years. The fact that Google has continued to knock Microsoft into second place must be an annoyance for the software giant, especially when one considers the more extensive marketing budget of the latter.













Established British brands continue to perform well in the rankings with the likes of the BBC, British Airways and Cadbury continuing to be well placed in the top 20 – albeit that the survey was conducted prior to the Terminal 5 debacle which I am sure will have impacted severely on the British Airways brand.









That said, British brands have not had it all their own way, with giants like BP falling outside of the top 20 after a difficult year. Guinness also fell from the top group finishing in 23rd place, down from last year’s eighth position.







In total 10 of last year’s top 20 remained in the upper echelon of the rankings, namely Google, Microsoft®, Mercedez-Benz, the BBC, British Airways, Nike, CocaCola, LEGO®, Cadbury and Hilton. Of the 10 brands falling out of the top 20, only three dropped significantly – i.e. below the top 50 – this time around.











Of the new entries to this year’s top 20, most rose only slightly on last year’s performance but two brands stand out – Thorntons, which rose from 81st place last year to 18th place and Royal Doulton, which rose from 60th place last year to take 6th position. All the brands featuring in the top 500 have been

Full results of the 2008/09 Superbrands survey and free case studies can be found at Stephen Cheliotis, Chairman, Superbrands Councils UK & Chief Executive, The Centre for Brand Analysis

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As online takes off, how will the future shape up? As comfortable as you and I might be using the Internet, it is really only in its infancy. As it continues to grow, ‘the future of online marketing’ is a much discussed subject. Internet users are becoming more savvy, sophisticated and probably cynical, but there is little doubt the future is bright.

So, where will it take us? In my opinion, online marketing is currently in a bit of a mess. Remnants of the old, such as banner ads, are clearly on their way out, and more modern methods, such as search engine optimisation, are vying for your online ad spend. Mediums such as banner ads produce dreadfully poor click through rates because of problems with relevance, accuracy and trust. That’s not to say that banner ads don’t have their place; just that they’re more for brand awareness than immediate sales. Organic search positioning, pay-perclick advertising and email marketing are now becoming the dominant forces in online marketing.

SEO’s promise of ‘free traffic’ is too good to ignore Search engine optimisation (the practice of getting better natural (organic) results for keyword searches on the likes of Google) will be around for as long as people

an advert is artificially clicked on. The only intention of the clicker is to cost the advertiser money. Some estimate the percentage of fraudulent clicks on ppc platforms runs as high as forty percent. If true, theoretically this means you could take forty percent of your advertising budget, use it as toilet paper and get the same sales results. It takes a decent amount of time, expertise and experience to effectively manage a ppc campaign, and those three attributes are often hard to come by. The benefits of direct email marketing are pretty obvious – direct, instant contact with your customers being the most important - but it is tainted by problems such as spam, phishing scams and identity theft concerns. Many people simply delete emails if they don’t know the sender, and that can make targeting fresh customers tricky. I still feel email marketing is a worthwhile avenue, and with a well designed and structured email you can achieve a fantastic ROI. So, what is ‘the future of online marketing’ in light of the above comments? In my personal view, search engine optimisation will remain the principal online marketing method. PPC and email marketing will also continue, but will need to be modified into something used to conquer click fraud. I also think online pr will become more important, as the search engines continue to place more emphasis on trust and authority when compiling their algorithms.

I don’t really see anything threatening it.

Combined, these platforms represent the future of online marketing. Of course, nobody could have foreseen the explosion of EBay or Facebook ten years ago, so we may all be surprised by where things stand in five or ten years. bn

Pay-per-click advertising (“ppc”) has a less clear future. My primary problem is click fraud, which occurs when

James Bloor, Managing Director, Distinction Limited

use search engines. The promise of ‘free traffic’ is simply too glorious to ignore, and since it is fairly difficult to commit fraud in search engine optimisation,

brandnews 8 The following tips are taken from ‘COMMUNICATION STRATEGY - A best practice guide to developing communication campaigns’, published jointly by the IPA, ISBA, MCCA and PRCA.

What’s the plan? TOP TIPS for developing communication campaigns


Consider your brand’s communication in its entirety, don’t just concentrate on paid-for advertising.


Invest time in getting the objective for communication right, and make sure all the agencies are clear what it is.


Ensure that your budget matches your ambition. And vice versa.


Demand that your communication strategy has an idea at its heart (and not just an advertising idea).





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Question your assumptions about the media world. That landscape is changing in some fast and fundamental ways. Make sure each channel that you use has a clear role to play and fits with the other media that are used. You are aiming for the whole to be greater then the sum of the parts. Don’t give up on effectiveness! Embrace econometrics, construct some tests and controls. Decide whether you want the leadership of communication strategy to sit with client or agency. Decide whether you want an all-agency collaboration or a single point of leadership. If you want creative to lead then decide which agency that should be (it doesn’t have to be the advertising agency).

S&® - Sellers & Rogers - is a creative brand communications agency whose culture is devoted to building, developing and sustaining brands. We work best with clients who share our passionate belief in the power of the brand to help grow a business. For further information about S&® visit our new website at Or contact... Andy Sellers Direct tel: 0115 8404 262 email:


To ensure you are notified when future issues of Brand News are published, there is an email facility on the Brand News page of our new website at From there you add your details to our subscription list, together with details of any colleagues who may also wish to be included. BACK ISSUES Copies of all Brand News back issues are available as free downloads from our website at

THE GREATEST ADS THAT EVER RAN To date there are three volumes of these S&® created ads that never actually made publication – great ads had they ever seen the light of day but for one reason or another, they didn’t. Regardless, many of them have won creative industry awards and can be viewed on our website at At S&®, even the ads that don’t run, run away with awards. Designed, produced and published by Sellers & Rogers Ltd. © 2008

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Brand News 16  

We publish Brand News so we and guest contributors from across the industry can make known our views - also for us to show off our understan...

Brand News 16  

We publish Brand News so we and guest contributors from across the industry can make known our views - also for us to show off our understan...