Brann Concept Leverages Brand Value With DM

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Aiming to help clients regain control of the brand-building process, direct marketing agency Brann Worldwide has developed a new "Across the Line" marketing concept.

"By making the brand relevant to discrete segments through unique messaging and appropriate channel selection, direct will do a better job at what it does best -- driving sales and building relationships with best customers," said David P. Finkel, president/CEO of Brann, Wilton, CT.

"In short, what the brand does -- customer experience -- must be consistent with what the brand says -- the brand promise."

This shift affects the entire organization.

"We're incorporating this approach in our internal training and disciplines and are creating proprietary tools and techniques we'll use to develop programs and measure success," he said.

The approach also affects client relationships and how Brann partners with general agencies focused on branding work.

Brann has created three tools to identify and measure the effect of its programs:

• Brand Relevance Mapping is a qualitative approach that lets the agency explore up to 25 brand dimensions to grasp the motivational power of each element or a combination.

• Instant Connection is an online survey tool that gathers information for conducting primary research, validating a hypothesis, recontacting a database or helping maintain contact with a regular panel of consumers for trend benchmarking.

• Proving Ground is a laboratory built around Brann's online e-mail engine.

"[It] allows us to test the ROI impact of campaigns in a fraction of the time required for conventional in-market direct marketing testing," Finkel said. "Basically it uses the Web as a test laboratory for offers, messaging, list segmentation and/or positioning. You can do it over the Web very quickly at a fraction of the cost."

Across the Line marketing addresses two challenges. One is increased pressure on agencies from clients for accountability on marketing investments. Another is the realization that long-term gain comes not just from product, price or brand, but ultimately from strong relationships between brand and consumers.

"This approach ensures that the huge investment clients make in advertising and generating awareness is not sabotaged by disconnects that occur later on while the consumer moves through the buying process or subsequent experiences with the brand," Finkel said.

"We actually call this 'Return on Integration,' a different way of defining ROI."

Brann accounts include Pizza Hut; Sears, Roebuck and Co.; Visa; E*Trade; Guinness; Cadbury; Peugeot and Long John Silver's. Worldwide billings last year were $1.2 billion.

The agency is already putting its new way of thinking into work, Finkel said.

"We're putting this new approach into practice immediately for all new business work, where we see real opportunity to leverage this as a point of differentiation," he said. "In addition, we'll be bringing this thinking to current client relationships as we begin to move into planning cycles on each business."

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