Welcome to day two of Advertising Week. Talks this morning have focused heavily on data and diversity, but a common theme runs through them: any message that doesn’t hit the mark won’t just fail to drive sales—it can cause long-term damage to your brand.
Keith Weed, CMO of Unilever, opened the discussion on Monday with an anecdote about a failed ad experience. “There was an advertiser in the U.K. – I won’t say which one – that advertised in the middle of my run,” he said. “Who would not only advertise in the middle of a run but also give you a five-point question? We all need to think as advertisers a little more about where people are when we advertise to them.”
While research shows that 95 percent of those surveyed considered themselves loyal to brands they like, there’s little protection for brands that lose the support of their base: 78 percent of millennials believe that they have the power to influence large brands.
Jeremy Randol, Pandora’s vice president of sales strategy, picked up the thread at The Next Era of Programmatic panel discussion: “Ninety-two percent of Pandora’s userbase is on the ad-supported model,” she said. “Ads need to be relevant or people will jump.”
Panelists at Woke, Lit & Ready: A Perspective On Black Twitter & The Ad Industry also commented on the harm that can come from improperly-implemented messages—especially toward minority communities: “It’s better to not try at all than miss the mark,” said Jasmyn Lawson, culture editor at Giphy. “You need to start from scratch. If you haven’t done it yet, don’t half-ass it.”
While hostile to brands that reach out poorly, speakers emphasized the simplicity of crafting the right messages. “If you think about what tone-deafness really is, it’s laziness,” pointed out Tiyale Hayes, senior vice president of consumer insights at BET.
“You can buy goodwill,” he added, “just by crediting original creators in the community.”
Overall, the best solution to reach consumers is inclusion. Across the board, panelists urged to marketers and agencies that the easiest way to reach consumers is to hire people who understand their experience.
“Step number one,” said Hayes, “is you have to see the beauty in every member of the community.”