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10 effectiveness tips from adam&eve DDB London’s guru, Les Binet


10 effectiveness tips from adam&eve DDB London’s guru, Les Binet

Les Binet is the head of effectiveness at adam&eve DDB London and his title is as intriguing as it is deserved. Binet has been working with the agency since 1987 – that’s probably around the time when many of today’s young talents were born. He has dedicated his career to measuring and improving the effectiveness of DDB’s work.

The effectiveness guru is the recipient of several awards – obviously – including the prestigious President’s Medal from the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) in 2014 in the UK.

He was in Dubai last month to present his ten rules of effectiveness and, of course, we couldn’t miss it.

1. Combine brand and activation

Binet suggests combining brand-building blocks with activations to deliver a stronger message. Sales activations result in a short-term sales uplift, whereas brand-building produces long-term sales growth with reduced price sensitivity. Combining the two exposes consumers to the brand’s message, along with a physical experience that embeds the message further, making them more likely to spend on a brand or, at least, be less price-sensitive toward it.

2. Aim for broad reach

Contrary to the current trends of segmentation, hyper-segmentation, targeting, retargeting and so on, Binet says segmentation limits a brand. Mass targeting – of potential, new as well as existing customers – through actions like being part of pop culture is the way to go.

3. Maximize mental availability

Naturally, brands want to have top-of-mind recall, but this can not happen overnight. Brands should capitalize on their consumers’ mental availability by first seeking awareness, then salience and, eventually, fame.

4. Aim for fame

Fame essentially means that consumers are sharing and talking about the brand on channels such as social media. The goal is to get consumers talking – regardless or in spite of branded content.

5. Build preference with emotion

Simply put, consumers will remember brands for how they made them feel. So, Binet suggests using emotion, not product, to build the brand. Emotions are long-lasting and resonant, which helps top-of-mind brand recall. A 2013 study by Binet and Peter Field shows that emotional priming has the biggest effect on brands, more than rational messaging or even a combined approach. For instance, British department store John Lewis had a rational affinity score – based on quality, service and trust – of nine versus its competition, but its emotional affinity was zero. Today, the brand has owned the Christmas ad space so much with its beautiful, emotional storytelling that consumers and advertisers wait every year for the store to release its Christmas ads.

6. Trigger responses with messages

While the Binet and Field study shows that emotional priming has the biggest effect on brands, it also shows that this approach has the lowest direct effect. When it comes to buying, rational messaging works best. Either way, the messaging must elicit a response. So, while John Lewis gets emotional priming right, it also runs ads for new launches, sales, departments and so on.

7. Increase efficiency through creativity

Binet finds that people have the impression that efficiency is created by having a focus on the product or that it has something to do with budgets and finances. However, he says, it’s much more efficient to build a brand around an emotional response, as it lasts longer and reduces price sensitivity. In fact, the same study shows that work that has been creatively awarded has significantly higher budget efficiency than work that hasn’t.

8. Match share of voice to market share

When the share of voice (SOV) is more than the share of market (SOM), brands tend to grow – and vice versa. Therefore, it’s important to make sure consumers are not just talking about your brand, but also consuming it at the same level.

9. Balance brand and activation spend

The optimal distribution of spends between brand-building and sales activation should be 60:40. This balance is key to efficiency.

10. Use the right media for the right job

This is probably a no-brainer, which makes it all the more surprising that some brands are still working to get it right. The same piece of creative can not and should not be used on different platforms. Instead, it must be carefully optimized and personalized for each specific medium.


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