Branding e-volution, the main results of the research project

The event "The sense of the brand and the future of advertising" (24 September) was the first event dedicated to the presentation of the results of the research project Branding e-volution, born from the collaboration between UPA, which brings together the most important investors in advertising and communication in Italy, and the School of Management of the Politecnico di Milano.

The aim of the research is to offer the market a concrete and innovative contribution to understanding the opportunities and criticalities of brand development in the digital ecosystem.

The "Branding e-volution" project is supported by a pool of key players (GFK, GroupM, Inmediato Mediaplus, Integral Ad Science, Kantar, LinkedIn, Nextplora, Rai Pubblicità, Sensemakers, Teads, WebAds )

The second part of the research was presented at a second event, entitled “Data and measurement tools as an asset for the brand” (1 October).

The research involved both branded companies and communication players, highlighting their respective different approaches to current market dynamics.

The survey was an opportunity to reflect on the value of the brand today, in a context challenged by the health emergency, with important effects also on the marketing and communication industry.

Companies are aware of having to adapt to a more demanding consumer in terms of the symbolic value of the brand. In particular, consumers belonging to the new generations take functional value for granted, but demand greater immediate satisfaction and a connection with the brand built on an emotional level and on the value of social use. The approach to the relationship with the brand is more fluid and ephemeral than in the past. At the same time, individuals expect firms to take a stand and that it is consistent with their expectations.

A trend that clearly emerges is represented by the greater attention and sensitivity of companies towards brand purpose. Despite a 47% of respondents saying that the role of the brand's purpose has remained the same, 39% of respondents on the other hand believes that the health emergency has led their companies to give greater importance to investment in support of initiatives that testify positive impact of brands on society. A trend that, in the opinion of 49% of respondents, will continue even after the Covid emergency is over.

Brand equity is unanimously recognized as a fundamental element for determining business performance, although there is less awareness of the strategies and tools aimed at building and maintaining adequate brand equity.

Over the past three years, 32% of advertisers have increased their investments in research activities aimed at measuring brand value, while 11% have decreased them. This indicates a growing attention of companies to the theme of branding and marks a return of communication to long-term sustainability. Communication players have a more negative view than advertisers: only 20% say that in the last three years, client companies have invested more resources to measure brand value.

Brand tracking (75%), digital analytics (67%), and pre / post test (58%) are the tools for measuring marketing and communication initiatives most used by companies.

With regard to Media Transparency issues, Brand Safety is the most relevant issue for 68% of the companies interviewed. This is followed by Viewability (56%) and the transparency of the cost related to the media spaces purchased (50%). On the issue of viewability, in particular, it emerges that according to advertisers customized definitions of viewable impressions are more correlated to the dimension of Brand Equity.

Another area of research analysis has been the use of precision marketing by companies. This is a rapidly growing trend: 80% of advertisers (and 85% of communication players) expect that in the next three years the percentage of investment in digital media dedicated to precision marketing activities will increase significantly.