Brand size, creativity main drivers of effectiveness


Brand size and creativity are the two most important contributors to marketing effectiveness, according to analysis that included thousands of entries to the Effie Awards among its data sources.

Mark Ritson – a consultant who has worked with brands like Johnson & Johnson, De Beers, and Sephora, as well as undertaking duties in academia and the media – assessed several-thousand submissions to the Effie Awards.

Coupled with third-party research, industry wisdom and his own professional experience, he used this dataset to outline the core drivers of effectiveness.

And the top-ranked factor is “how big you already are,” he explained at the Media, Marketing & Effectiveness event convened by thinktv, a marketing and research association dedicated to commercial television in Canada. (For more, read WARC’s in-depth report: The top ten drivers of marketing effectiveness from the Effie Awards – and beyond.)

Why is this the case? Because large brands have developed – among other things – a substantial “share of mind”, “share of shelf”, and equity level with consumers.

“They have deeper pockets [and]bigger existing salience,” added Ritson. And one of the primary reasons for building a brand is that “it gives you an unfair advantage in future effectiveness”.

For smaller brands, there is a clear lesson: “Unless you’re prepared to bulk up, unless you’re prepared to scratch your way up the league table, you’ll never get there,” Ritson said.

Exceptional creative can help brands – big or small – make an impact, and this claimed second spot among the most important effectiveness drivers as identified by Ritson.

In 2010, and in the Effies cases before this date that Ritson analysed, creative was the dominant theme that was discussed in award submissions.

From 2011 to 2015, media assumed heightened importance – a shift prompted, he suggested, by the rise of digital, the growth of programmatic advertising, concerns about brand safety, and so on.

For submissions in the 2016 and 2017 Effies, it was either creative or a joint emphasis on media and creative that received priority treatment.

A recent study by marketing consultant Peter Field also has warned that short-termism is leading to a decline in creative effectiveness, while Orlando Wood, from research firm System1, has argued that TV ads are skewed towards “left-brain” traits that are linked with immediate results, not long-term growth.

“Creativity drives so much of effectiveness – and we’ve all forgotten it in the last decade,” Ritson affirmed. “We now need to remember it for the decade that comes.”

This article first appeared in

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