Invest in Mass Media, it’s the best way to get your brand known. Embracing controversy, I will start by sharing a big idea very much linked to my previous post that focused on building penetration as your number 1 driver of growth. As every category buyer is a potential buyer of your brand, mass reach is your #1 Media target.
Reach, reach, reach … but can I afford it?
During the Mad Men era and shortly after, TV advertising is what built the brands we all know today. These days, startup brands like Blue Buffalo, Kind, or Dollar Shave grow exponentially at first by using direct to consumer channels. Their growth plateaus and are forced to rely on mass advertising channels to scale up. That is why the constant decline in TV audiences should be a worrying trend for any advertiser that wants to build brands to scale, not just make the next sale. What’s available to offset this mass reach decline is a maze of multi-formats and solutions with varying degrees of quality and measurability. You better equip yourself with a lot of patience, media budgets, and detective skills to navigate this complex digital labyrinth. In a digital world built on the promise to understand consumers better, it might seem archaic to praise the role of mass media. Yet here I am doing exactly that, with a twist. I am simply saying that mass reach opportunities are what we all should be hunting for; the only limit is the budget we are playing our game.
But what precisely is Mass Reach? A higher share of voice compared to your market share?
The focus on Share of Voice as a primary metric for the ideal level of your media investment always puzzled me. Let’s face it. It doesn’t really work to manage your media budgets. There are less complex ways to say more investment is better than less, just compare this year’s numbers with the previous year. But why don’t I believe in SOV? As the above image beautifully describes, there is a big difference between correlation and causation. Share of Voice and Share of Market (or growth of the latter one) are at best correlated, but there is no causation between the two. A simple proof: in every category where, Private Labels are growing at the expense of brands that advertise, the relation between SOV and SOM goes opposite ways. “Good old” brands are spending media money to grow their penetration, but sometimes the benefits are also collected by private labels at the point of sale. And that’s because advertising drives category growth on top of brand growth.