Wednesday, June 07, 2006
Facil Cosa E Farsi Universale
The headline above is a quote from Leonardo Da Vinci’s notebooks. It translates to “it is easy to make oneself universal,” and it came to me when I heard that Wendy Clark, VP of advertising for the new AT&T, thought that their new ad campaign was “the most ambitious and aggressive brand campaign we've undertaken in more than 120 years." The key, apparently, to the campaign’s success was research, which is something we’d normally be thrilled to hear, since it’s what we do best.
Assisted by an enormous branding company, intensive research was conducted with over 15,000 consumers. The insight that ensued? The AT&T logo was easily identified but perceived as a bit dated.
No really, that was it! “A bit obvious,” you say. “Did they really have to do research to know that?” I hear you ask. “How did they know it was a success?”
Well, the issue of whether they actually needed to do a massive research study to determine that an old brand that was dated years ago needed to be updated today notwithstanding, the campaign success is being based on the fact that awareness is at 80%! No, really.
Someone ought to explain to Ms. Clark that awareness really isn’t a leading indicator you’d want to bet the farm on. It’s wonderful that they’ve updated the “look” and are working on trying to make the brand mean something, but high awareness as a measure of success? That’s not campaign success, that’s just ad tonnage.
It’s not just us that feel that way. The Advertising Research Foundation jettisoned awareness and the Hierarchy of Effects model too. Before you boast about how “successful” your campaign is, you ought to be able to answer the following questions:
* Did sales increase?
* Did AT&T’s brand equity (its ability to meet or exceed customer expectations) increase?
* Were more consumers engaged by the campaign?
* Are customers more loyal?
* Is the customer base growing because of it?
80% awareness for a 120-year old brand? One would have actually thought it should be higher.
Hmmm. Maybe the campaign isn’t working as well as they think!