Advertising, Pay-Per-Click, Reflexion

Internet: an amazing advertising medium… from a branding side?

I previously published an overview of internet advertising growth over the past 5 years – let’s now address the branding issue of online ads.

To complete my Master’s degree, I defended my thesis about Emotional Marketing. I first looked at the marketing history and the related advertising mediums:

Then, looking at the current period, here is how I built my presentation:

  • In our hyperchoice society, the advertising landscape is saturated, competition is fierce and price war is harsh.
  • The Brand engagement concept makes more and more sense: customers are looking for a genuine and trust-based relationship with brands.
  • Integrating emotions into advertising can be a source of sustainable competitive advantage for brands, since it’s an intangible and hardly imitable resource.

Let’s just take one example: Nespresso. User experience is at the heart of the marketing strategy: capsules look like jewelries, finest ground Grand Cru coffees awaken new feelings and the machine itself becomes a unique decoration item. Making coffee, or the art of turning a banal act into an elegant ritual…

Moving into the web marketing world, I have been particularly interested in the e-advertisers’ role. Considering that brand marketers have worked on the psychological part of the customer’s decision-making process, have they also been able to convey such a « Brand engagement » concept online?

Are online advertising networks good mediums to convey emotions?

Emotional branding can lead to more market opportunities if marketers successfully engage their customers to be the best advocates for their brand. This requires a connection to their day to day emotions and feelings. This is a big challenge since emotions are really complex: branding is not only about love but also envy or greed for instance.

In this context, to what extend can digital advertising accelerate brand engagement, participation, leads and sales?

Internet has three major advantages over traditional mediums, which have resulted into higher media consumption in general:

  1. Internet users can be reached across the working day
  2. They often consume more than one medium at a time, such as Internet and TV
  3. E-advertisers can track Internet users’ actions in detail through web analytics and optimize their campaigns

However, to me, online advertising faces one big issue which is inherent to text ads guidelines. If image and video ads naturally allow space for creativity and emotional branding – like posters or TV spots -, text ads have editorial constrains that make it much harder to convey emotions. That said, I notice that web analytics only measure the direct response value of ads but they ignore branding value.

I have tried to find counter-examples to this prejudice and I found evidences that efforts of creativity can be made to convey emotions through text ads. Here are some best practices:

  • Apple’s motto is strong and innovative enough to convey the brand positioning and the product image in the message:

Apple – Think Different
You’ll See Why 1984 Won’t be Like
1984. Apple Comp Unveils Macintosh.

  • A clever headline is key to distinguish from competitors:

A Diamond is Forever
The Honeymoon is Only the Beginning.
Diamonds She’ll Love at De Beers!

  • A dynamic text structure with a strong call to action can also make the difference:

Your wedding checklist
Dress.Check. Family.Check. Friends.
Check. Ring insured. Apply now!

  • Simplicity and humility can result into brand engagement and lead to participation:

Give to charity
No donation is too small or large.
You can make a difference.

In conclusion, I truly believe the Internet provides huge opportunities for advertisers as long as they take up the challenge of moving two major trends closer:

  • Internet keeps growing and it is certainly the advertising medium to invest in.
  • Emotional branding is a proven sustainable marketing strategy that engages a daily connection to customers and leads to a long-term engagement and sales.

About Charlotte



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