ITB 2023 Special Reporting
Branding - Not Quite Indelible Anymore.
By Vijay Dandapani ~ Hotelier's outlook on NYC, travel and the industry
Wednesday, 12th June 2013
A recent in-your-face decision by the world's largest advertiser to postpone payments to ad agencies has roiled the advertising world with the implicit questioning of returns on brand advertising.

That at least is the take of the UK's Financial Times in its article headlined "Consumers don't care about most brands" with brand owners never being less sure of returns on ad spending.

The financial broadsheet cites a recent Meaningful Brands study put out by Havas Media. It is a study which seeks to measure "meaning" by way of "brands' contributions to individuals' quality of life and to wider society". While a reflexive estimate of a "meaningful" brand may be Apple it actually barely made the top 25 coming in at number 22 while Google, Samsung, Microsoft, Sony and Nestle make up the top 5 in that order.

The FT points out that Havas Media's report has a "deeply uncomfortable message for marketers. Most people around the world would not care if 73 per cent of all brands disappeared." with that ratio reaching a breathtaking 92% in the US and Europe speculating that in these mature markets brand saturation contributes to customer indifference to a brand's attempt at engendering loyalty. 

That indifference to a brand's appeal is found in supermarkets where a plethora of choices exist with little to separating similar products as well as online where comparison sites like Trivago underscore pricing while allowing prospective customers to place similarly situated hotels alongside.

Brands, however, may take heart that millenials have a far greater propensity to be influenced by brands. mobileYouth a UK based research advisory firm focused on the youth mobile market has put out its annual mobileYouth report which addresses issues ranging from customer loyalty to the overall mobile youth economy. 

The UK's Guardian newspaper reviews the report and notes that one prognostication stems from the fact that 69% of youth between 12 and 17  years of age now have a computer which leads to the conclusion that many will be "strongly influenced by the rippling effect of their friends on social media".  The report suggests that as many as 50% of young people recommend a brand "because they have had a positive experience with it, and that 88% of all positive recommendations for a brand are generated by fans who make up 10% of the brand's customer."

Apropos the foregoing, Apple's recent filing of a patent for a  "virtual currency in the form of tokens or coupons with a monetary value that could be stored in a cloud-based digital wallet for use in-store or online as well as topping up mobile services" is one that will set well with the youth market.

Since it is presumed to enable "users to receive the tokens by participating in advertising through from third parties, it represents an opportunity for brands to have a more enduring effect on young customers by rewarding consumers in real time while they view their marketing content. 

Vijay is Chief Operating Officer and part-founder of Apple Core Hotels- a chain of 5 midtown Manhattan hotels offering value and comfort in the heart of the city. Member of the board of Directors - Hotel Association of New York.

Read Vijay's blog HERE
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