According to a recent ‘Zenith Advertising Expenditure’ report, global advertising spend is expected to hit US$669 billion this year, US$40 billion more than what was spent prior to Covid’s arrival last year. Pulling focus on what that looks like in Australia, the report predicts ad spend to grow throughout 2021 to a whopping $13 billion.

The increased weight of advertising makes it increasingly difficult for brands to stand out.

In other words, there is more clutter to cut through in order to be seen or heard.

To be successful, marketing campaigns today must be as relentless as they are relevant, and this requires discipline and determination. Not something for the faint of heart.

There are of course frameworks that enable the production of consistent marketing communications. Centre to which are the development of ‘Content Pillars’ which organise the multiple proof points used to persuade customers to consume your product.

Identifying the themes most relevant to your audience enables the creation of content most likely to drive sustained interest in your brand. Often referred to as content ‘buckets’, they are designed to continually catch the attention of your sought after shopper.

One way to start constructing these pillars is to decode what the smart folk at the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute describe as ‘Distinct Brand Assets’. Every brand has their own signature look. A colour, shape, silhouette, catchphrase, sound or logo. Over time, the consistent representation of your brand builds a unique ‘memory structure’ – something which your customers easily recognise and associate with your brand. In the essential marketing book ‘How Brands Grow’, author Byron Sharp explains the essentials of attaining ‘mental availability’.

In other words, the task for marketers everywhere is to make it as easy as possible for potential customers to ‘think’ of their brand when in the moment of purchase consideration.

By using your brand’s distinct brand assets, you provide a trigger that reminds your audience about your brand at precisely the right moment to drive a sale.

Once correctly defined, content pillars guide all marketing communications in a consistent and deliberate fashion ensuring every time your brand turns up, it turns up in a way that is instantly recognised and capable of motivating a purchase consideration.

Set with a clearly defined visual and audio identity – time now to bring your communications to life. An approach we use when designing any campaign adheres to three key ingredients.

In order to stand out, content must be ‘strategically true’, ‘creatively brilliant’ and ‘expertly crafted’. Achieving all three is essential and will give your marketing the ability to stand out by grabbing the attention of your shopper.

On top of this, the secret sauce that elevates brands above and beyond – is the absolute confidence they possess. No doubt. No half measures. Only utter confidence. By being confident, campaigns become bolder, clearer and infinitely more effective.

It’s worth keeping in mind that being ‘bold’ does not necessarily mean being ‘loud’. On the contrary. Sometimes it is the ‘quietest voice in the room’ that garners the most attention. By avoiding common conventions, your brand will stand out in a sea of sameness.

We know that retail is competitive. Bloody cut throat and ruthless at times. We also know that to be able to cut through the clutter, marketing must be bold, it must be remarkable, otherwise it runs the risk of being invisible and unseen.

Let’s take a word of wisdom from the accomplished author and marketing commentator, Seth Godin:

“In your career, even more than for a brand, being safe is risky. The path to lifetime job security is to be remarkable.”

And that, my friend, is outstanding advice.


David Flanagan
Director of Content & Strategy

Zenith Advertising Expenditure published in CMO July 2021 (Link)
Australia’s Robust Advertising Expenditure article (Link)

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