Advertising Isn’t Branding. So Why Do We Put All Our Brand Dollars Into Advertising?

Advertisers are throwing money hand over fist at influencers, but is that really the best place for brand dollars to be going? In this episode of Marketing is Broken, we look into the nuances between advertising and branding and how knowing the difference will help you know which marketing channels to invest in if you want to grow your brand.

Nearly ⅔ of marketers are upping their investments in influencers, but is it a good thing?

According to a new study by the World Federation of Advertisers, sixty-five percent of surveyed multinational brands plan to increase their influencer marketing spend over the next 12 months.

The reason for investing in influencers? 86% say it’s because they want to boosting brand awareness. 74% say they want to reach targeted/new audiences. 69% want to improve brand advocacy

When asked how they choose their influencers, marketers cite credibility, reputation, and quality of followers as the top criteria for how they select their brand ambassadors. 
Multiple payment models are used to compensate influencers. The most popular payment methods with influencers include: Flat fee for content; Free product for content; Fee for performance; Leaving the money on the nightstand 

With the brand safety issues that platforms like Google and Facebook are having, it’s no wonder why advertisers are desperate for a safe place to put their massive stacks of cash in an effort to increase outcomes for the business. 

And that brings us to tonight’s topic. Advertising Isn’t Branding

Branding is the process of increasingly being associated with a product category. Kleenex means facial tissues. Band-Aid has owned the adhesive bandage category since the time I held a turtle up to my ear and it bit my ear and then I needed Band-Aid. 

Advertising has long since been the main vessel of branding because there weren’t many opportunities to reach audiences at scale. 

But the Internet has changed all that, and we’ve got to realize the bigger branding opportunity that’s right in front of all of us. 

Consider this. There are two types of media online: content and advertising.

Before the Internet and especially social media, advertising was top dog because the owners of content publishers--from TV to music to print--had become incredibly diligent at gating content behind advertising.

We consumers agreed to be barraged with ads in exchange for whatever it was we wanted to watch. 

Marketing dollars will flow towards the channels that can drive more interactions with the brand, and so for years the very structure of our media system has supported advertisers. 

But all of that has changed. 

In recent years, consumers have flocked to social media in part because they really only want content, not advertising. 

In a recent study commissioned by Mention-Me and published on Marketing Week, 71% of consumers prefer to discover brands themselves rather than from traditional forms of push advertising. 

But marketers have been super lazy with how they translate advertising dollars into social media and very few realize it’s not about social media at all. It’s about advertising vs. content creation. 

Case in point, influencer marketing is only a thing because Instagram celebrities are the few brands out there that a) understand that quality content is branding and b) are willing to slog it out and look like a fool on new platforms until they make it work.

In a recent Forbes article, Mike Schmidt, cofounder of social media analytics company, Dovetale, says this:

“Influencers themselves represent a weird trichotomy of content, influence and strategy. Some brands just want to piggyback on their influence with a more "pump-and-dump" strategy to increase sales. Some want to acquire content, and the rare, yet savvy, brand will look to influencers/creators for their creative opinion.”

Why are the smartest brands looking to influencers for their creative opinion?

To get dollars out of advertising and into content as quickly as possible. 

And this is how you can begin to fix marketing. 

If your CEO wants brand safety, then create your own content channels.

If your CFO is upset about increasing costs of advertising on Google, Facebook, and other ad platforms, then you have to invest in your own content channels. 

If your CMO wants to see your brand at the top of search results when people search for products in your category, then you will need to put some of those ad dollars into  ranking organically for the most competitive terms in your industry.

Because when you show up #1 for the term, Baid-Aid, you’re effectively the new Band-Aid.

To get started, you don’t need more budget. Just use a portion of your advertising budget to fund your content creation. 

Historically, ad buys for TV would be split into two budgets: 80% went towards the media buy while 20% went towards the media management and the creative

Now look at what your company is spending on awareness and imagine if you spend a full 20% of that money on high quality content instead of ads or paying off influencers. 

That 80% media buy will go infinitely further because sponsored content that gets shared ends up with a much lower net cost per engagement than plain old ads.

And you end up with a way to justify the continued creation of high-quality content, which is what we all need to build better brands. 

The most engaging brands today have already learned this from influencers and the brands that are to succeed in the future won’t be far behind. 

And that’s how you can fix marketing this week. We'll see you next time.

Author: Josh Braaten

CEO - Brandish Insights

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