Attain, Frequency, Promoting And Manufacturers

Reach, frequency, advertising and brands

Branding is the goal of marketing. Communication is an essential part of marketing in order to win customers over to our brand and convince them to support them. In the past, this was mainly achieved through advertising – print, then radio and television, and now digital. And though smart, goal-oriented creative was the star. Working carefully behind the scenes is a smart, targeted media strategy and planning.

The media are a science; partly sociology, partly statistical analysis, partly economy, partly behavioral research, and some may say, partly intuition. Despite advances in technology, measurements and analysis, a constantly changing media landscape and media consumption trends, the media strategy always seems to be based on two things: reach and frequency.

To reach is the depth or penetration of your target group (B2C) or customer buyers or decision-makers (B2B), quantified in numbers and / or percentages via a media vehicle and over a specified campaign period. Effective reach provides the maximum number of target people who are exposed to the brand message. Efficient reach is economical, often expressed in cost per thousand (CPM), CPL (cost per lead), and CPS (cost per sale).

frequency is the number of exposures for the brand message received for the target through one or more media vehicles over a specified campaign period. Reach delivers the target group, while the frequency repeatedly exposes the target group to the brand message, the offer, the advertising, etc. It's often a question of how many exposures are enough (or too much), as there is obvious household waste when buying too many ads with decreasing effectiveness.

Repetition is the glue

A side note about the scientific behavior that underlies the frequency. Author and storage expert Carmen Simon points out to brands the advantage that "content is tied to the source": "Make sure that you present frequently enough so that someone's brain can bind the content and the source." With others Words: Repetition is the glue That binds your message to your brand … and not to that of another person.

In his article, "Advertising Frequency Theory: Circa 1885," Derrick Daye describes the 20 steps or exposures an ad must take to achieve buying intentions seen through the eyes of an 1800 marketer. One hundred and thirty-five years later, much of the observation appears to be true.

How often?

A small online search will show that “frequency” is still a very hot topic in 2020. Consider the following examples that try to give guidance to advertisers:

  • As we here at Branding Strategy Insider came up with “Reach versus Frequency in Advertising”: “Many will say that it is more efficient to focus on reach (versus frequency) because the yields decrease with each new ad presence. … However, if your funds are limited and your target group is strongly addressed, you should better concentrate on a 3+ availability schedule and look for media with significant overlap between the target groups. For brand building purposes… focus on the advertising frequency that is targeted at… opinion leaders and “hardcore” users. "
  • Jeff Neff reported in AdAge: "How often? Advertisers deal with conflicting data":
    • Facebook surveys found one or two exposures per week over 10 weeks as the ideal average for packaged goods
    • In television, an emotional connection is established after one or two views, a "reasoned, cognitive response" after three to ten views, and a deeper emotional connection after ten views
    • Many subscribe to the "Rule of 7" to fully address the target group
  • The "triple frequency" for radio spots for an effective recall was advertised
  • News explains in its article "How do we determine the optimal mix of range and frequency?" That 5–9 shots "are the optimal measure for increasing brand awareness" and 10+ shots "the best shots are considered for the level Drive to buy. "
  • In a study from 2017, the advertising rating service Nielsen found that digital displays require between 5 and 9 exposures to improve branding and increase acceptance among consumers.

And there are undoubtedly many more frequency guidelines. Careful performance monitoring through any number of measurements shows over time what works for your brand. It is never unambiguous because there are so many influences (both those that you can control and those that you cannot) that affect performance.

Frequency insights

There doesn't seem to be an easy answer to the question of how often we run this ad. Every situation is different. However, there are some insights that we can draw from the investigation:

Media usage habits have a logical impact on frequency

According to Jeff Rosenblum's article "From friction to empathy: a new brand model", up to 89% of television advertising is ignored, not necessarily because of DVRs, but because people mess around with their smartphones in advertising breaks. A higher frequency for television to combat commercial circumvention would be appropriate.

Cross-platform measurements should be used to manage frequency

Jeff quotes the observation by Marc Pritchard, P & G's Chief Brand Officer, that cross-platform measurement could cause "a lot of waste" with so many duplicate messages between digital and TV. It should also be noted that P&G recently intentionally introduced frequency capping. Limit the frequency with which your ads go online and increase their long-term effectiveness.

Ad wear is a real result of frequency

The frequency follows a typical bell curve of effectiveness: first ineffective range, then effective, then ineffective. If you've ever participated in a Direct Response (DR) campaign, you've seen the results firsthand. At some point, the frequency deprives a TV spot of the life that produces lead and has to be recovered, replaced or refreshed by a new offer or a new approach to regaining its potency.

The case for range only

Reach can be used with little or no frequency for established brands with little competition and a simple message. By using only the reach, the marketers strive to maximize the impact of unforgettable creatives who are delivered at the right time and in the right place. It can then be used in other ways through advertising, PR, direct mail, etc.

For example, the extremely powerful "Daisy" ad, created by DDB and Tony Schwartz for Lyndon Johnson's 1964 presidential campaign, only aired once (in "The NBC Monday Night Movie") and was considered by historians to be the difference between him and viewed by Barry Goldwater, a Johnson candidate, could not be trusted with nuclear weapons.

Also noteworthy is 20 years later Chiat Day's "1984" commercial that started the Apple Macintosh personal computer and only ran once during Super Bowl XVIII. Both the "Daisy" and "1984" spots were extremely creative, convincing, and socially and culturally disruptive. Both spots also had an enormous range, but of course no frequency was taken into account.

However, not all reach-only strategies guarantee a successful result. In 2015, Starbucks asked customers to use #RaceTogether by using a supplement in collaboration with USA Today to stimulate a conversation about racial relationships. No other media was used and no frequency was used. Unfortunately, Starbucks and CEO Howard Schultz were only able to generate a lot of criticism for the poorly designed and misguided brand initiative. The campaign died almost immediately.

Regardless, the success of unique, effective ads has resulted in a targeted, unique reach strategy that combines a "proclamation" or "statement" to communicate policy changes, mergers, brand launches, positions, and product launches. For example, full-page ads in the New York Times or Wall Street Journal (as well as other major market newspapers) can all appear on the same day. The choice of media is based on its journalistic reputation and reach in the respective markets. This unique placement strategy is intended to trigger “shock and awe” and enable follow-up messages, PR and direct mail campaigns. B2B advertisers can use a similar strategy to introduce a new product line or technological advancement through a limited or one-time placement that dominates their industry by the dominance of their circulation.

Influence on the brand strategy

As marketers, we know that brands need to be supported to stay relevant and grow. We also know that we face a number of challenges, such as the sheer number of messages that compete for our customers' attention. We have to constantly and repeatedly recall the value of our brand on an emotional level so that when our customers are on the market we stay in our heads. Otherwise, we risk indifference at best or, at worst, replacement by a competitor. Strong and compelling creative advertising that stands out from others is essential, but an effective media strategy with a strong understanding of reach and frequency is a must.

The Blake project can help: The Strategic Brand Storytelling Workshop

Branding Strategy Insider is a service from The Blake Project: A strategic brand consultancy that specializes in brand research, brand strategy, brand growth and brand building

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