Don't lose branding

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Many DRTV campaigns today look like they were created in some alternate universe, far removed from the company's marketing strategy and brand platform. This is a huge mistake. Regardless of how effective they are from a ROI perspective, DRTV campaigns that are not on-strategy and appropriately branded are counterproductive and potentially damaging to a company's long-term marketing efforts.

The initial step in creating a successful brand response campaign is understanding not only the marketing strategy, but also the thinking and research that support it. This will provide you with answers to essential questions, including: What are the corporate objectives, and how are they supported by marketing and sales objectives? Which consumer segments often purchase this product or service, and why? Is this a product or service consumers understand, or do they need to be educated?

Next is understanding the brand. Ideally, the brand material will reveal the product's unique and ownable equity in consumer-friendly terms that differentiate it from its competitors.

Product differentiation makes safety-conscious car buyers seek out Volvos, and savvy shoppers flash their Costco membership cards.

Needless to say, understanding the brand also means understanding the brand promise (what the product or service promises to consumers) and brand character (how the personality of the brand is articulated and expressed).

The final step is to integrate the brand into a DRTV campaign without sacrificing the response power of the medium. This is a challenge. Spend too much time articulating the brand position, and there will be no time left for those techniques that drive sales, such as benefit-driven copy, graphics and offers.

There are two elements involved in solving this dilemma. First, utilize the best production values, including art direction, animation and talent. Although DRTV campaigns are tactically different from brand campaigns, they should look and feel the same. Second, avoid the common mistake of separating the branding from the selling. The creative should sell hard from start to finish. Make the brand positioning an integral part of the selling proposition.

Brand advertisers are hungry for the powerful, measurable attributes of DRTV; however, to create DRTV campaigns that deliver an attractive ROI and protect the brand, these campaigns must be linked to the overall marketing strategy and be appropriately branded. It takes time, effort and determination, but the results are well worth it.

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