Thursday 17 January 2019, Nottingham

At the latest East Midlands PM Forum event, hosted by Shakespeare Martineau in Nottingham, Lee Grunnell, from Thirteen, ran an interesting session on marketing communications and the difference between brand building and sales activation.

Lee kicked off the session by discussing how marketing communications can perform two different activities – brand building and sales activation (or targeting to drive sales). Marketing communications should first be used to build brand awareness with everyone in the market and then used to encourage your target audience to buy from you.

Lee went on to explain that these two activities work in different ways and over different timescales. Brand building focuses on long term sales growth, whilst sales activation is focused on short-term sales.

The group discussed reach and how the broader the reach the broader the effects, with the key take away being that it’s important to ensure a wide reach for brand building purposes. Whilst for sales activation, the chance of success is likely to be higher if you have a narrower reach, focused on your existing clients.

In terms of campaign specifics, Lee shared his insights on how emotional campaigns tend to be more effective than rational campaigns for brand building as “emotion is the gateway to attention.” However, when it comes to sales activation the opposite is true and a more rational focus achieves better results.

Lee also discussed the importance of defining your objectives and taking in to consideration how people’s brains work differently depending on whether they’re in active buying mode or not.

He then moved on to discuss choosing your channels and how most channels excel at either brand building OR sales activation and that it is vital that in both cases it’s important to use multiple different channels – “more is always more where channel selection is concerned.” However, Lee suggested that keeping things simple and not including too many messages in one communication to maximise impact.

The group also discussed the importance of allocating budget correctly and in all cases more budget should be allocated to brand building rather than sales activation, before being split across the most appropriate and relevant channels. These being the ones actually used by the target audience and not those who marketers and agencies think that they use!

During the session, Lee shared some fantastic case studies, of brand building and sales activation, along with some interesting stats to demonstrate effectiveness. Case studies included:

  • Mischon de Reya LLP – 100% growth in revenue and profit in 10 years
  • Hiscox Insurance
  • EY
  • Accenture
  • Keystone Law
  • Berwin Leighton Paisner
  • KPMG – 70% year-on-year uplift in revenue, from 4th to 1st for brand awareness, 5,284% ROI

Lee concluded the session by providing a useful summary of the key points covered, consisting of:

  • Define the objectives
  • Pick and mix channels
  • Allocate budget correctly
  • Doubt yourself and agencies

Overall, Lee provided an extremely informative and thought provoking session, with lots of useful tips and examples for the group to take away.

Jemma Taylor-Smith
Marketing Consultant, V Formation