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Why the brand will be the last form of competitive advantage

12 Feb 2019  |  Michaela Jefferson 
Why the brand will be the last form of competitive advantage

Adspend will swing back towards brand-building media in the near future and advertisers can expect to pay a premium for it, industry experts have said.

Speaking on a panel at Mediatel's Future of Brands conference last week, MullenLowe Mediahub's UK managing director, Dino Myers-Lamptey, said that although short-term ROI is "luring" to advertisers, the constant disruption of the current market means the strength of the brand is now more important than ever.

"The brand has to be so strong. If you focus too much on the short term, suddenly you open your eyes and it's a different battleground, and you're really badly damaged," he said.

Additionally, with the market increasingly crowded by advertisers who all have access to large amounts of data and can therefore optimise their efficiency, the brand is going to be the last remaining form of competitive advantage.

"It's amazing how much people talk about the efficiency metrics, and not the effectiveness metrics. You might be really optimised but you're missing the bigger picture," Myers-Lamptey said.

"The difference is what the brand can do. That's the magic that we've got to start thinking about."

As advertisers realise the competitive power of the brand, Myers-Lamptey expects to see a surge towards quality media environments - such as newsbrands, magazines and TV - that the industry has "taken for granted" since the growth of digital, with those channels emerging as the "lasting crown jewels."

"The premium of those will go up much higher," he said. "I actually think we'll be prepared to pay a lot more for that engagement. Brands should just hold tight and make sure they're still in the game at this time."

James Wildman, president and CEO of consumer magazine publisher Hearst UK, agreed with Myers-Lamptey, adding that the industry has "definitely lost the magic - the storytelling - in the pursuit of numbers and efficiencies."

"There has been a seismic shift over the last 10 years or so towards those performance metrics, but at what cost?" Wildman asked.

"I assume [brands will] put more focus on the longer term brand-building. I assume they must because if brand values are declining, that's something they must address."

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