Blending brands means forgetting traditional marketing theories, says BMF planners

The distinction between short-term sales activations and long-term brand building is often over emphasised; brands should look to blend the two using customer knowledge and company goals, and not contemporary marketing theories, BMF marketers told guests at Mumbrella’s Retail Marketing Summit.


Hugh Munro, head of innovation planning at BMF and Ali Tilling, head of brand planning, discussed the differences between retail and brand advertising and how to blend the two together in the ‘Breaking Down the Barriers Between Retail and Brand Advertising’ session.

Munro said there is a 60/40 rule in advertising – 60% of effort, time and money should go into brand building while 40% should go into sales and retail activity.

However, according to the BMF planners, this rule may not always work as organisations may not be left with enough money for the media buy after spending extra on the creative campaign.

“Brand response campaigns around a brand idea that drives both long term preference and short term behavioural action achieves the best of both worlds.

“Yes these two things can compete and conflict with each other, but if you think about it in the right way they can actually work together to give you a more effective outcome and an outcome that’s easier and more practical to work with,” Munro said.

“Theory and brand are such different things, we always end up treating brand and retail separately even if we don’t mean to,” Tilling said.

However, the brand focus and the retail focus should be blended more than it currently is within many retailers.

This can be done with three key factors: owning a distinct tone of voice, the imperfect perfect and knowing the consumer.

“If you have a strong tone of voice you can own, you can then stretch that out across brand, retail – wherever you want to go; it gives you that strong platform to blend different objectives,” Tilling said.

Munro said: “You don’t just need to separate out the objectives, which are short term and long term, it’s convenient to do so but it’s important to be aware of how these things are blending together so you don’t set yourself up for conflict between a short term and long term goal. Actually going after these together at once, that’s what can lead to some really good success for brands and campaigns.”

The ‘imperfect perfect’ was listed as the second factor, giving brands cultural tension to own.

“You can use the products and the prices to answer that tension, to give a solution back to the shopper, that’s what gives it a really good blend,” she said.

Thirdly, knowing the consumer is crucial as it allows businesses to blend their long term brand preference objectives with short term sales objectives.

“You’ve got to know what’s in peoples minds, you’ve got to know what they’re worried about, you’ve got to know what they’re excited about.”

Working to suit the consumer path to purchase rather than your own agenda is a key aspect to successfully blending brand with retail.


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