The past few months have been tough for brands. With Marketing Week reporting an expected 16.7% decline in ad spend year on year in 2020, ending a decade of growth, brands large and small have struggled to survive, let alone succeed.

There finally seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel as lockdown restrictions ease, spending increases and people start to return to the workplace. In the wake of this ‘new normal’, with changing media and consumption habits, organisations begin to look for new ways to re-build their brands to unlock their marketing effectiveness, balancing both the short and long term. Lockdown has effectively been a hard reset for most brands – giving them an opportunity to look inwards for ways to improve.

The effective management of data is a key way that brands can improve marketing effectiveness. Matt Dodd, Dom Boyd, and Lucy Denny from KANTAR recently held a webinar on how marketing organisations can use data engineering and analytics to connect, harmonise and unify pools of data such as sales, campaign spend, social and search data to improve marketing effectiveness and accelerate brand recovery. According to Gartner, this notion of data engineering will be a critical capability for 60% of data platforms by 2022.

There are now many tools out there that help make sense of data. AI tools such as KANTAR’s Olympus AI aim to structure data in a much more systematic way, allowing for much more granular insights. Other tools such as the Customer Knowledge Centre (CKC) can utilise this data to deliver deeper customer insights and better ROI decision making.

But how can this data analysis aid brand recovery?

With KANTAR reporting that the number of adults working from home has increased from 30% to 60%, digital capabilities have become even more important when aiding brand recovery. Current figures suggest that online retailing could account for up to 50% of all goods we buy, 5 years earlier than previously anticipated.

Having tools and knowledge to gauge the market in real time can help brands react quickly to changing habits and behaviours.

1. Mobilising around fast signals – Connecting search, social and website data can give a real time insight into identifying consumer needs. Being agile to these fast signals can help a brand create content appealing to these demands faster than competitors and identify brand ‘power drivers’.

2. Spotting changes in behaviour – Using accurate trend predictions allows brands to stay close to changing behaviours, being ready for when recovery comes. Arming brands through the power of technology helps avoid ‘blind spots’ from assumptions and data proliferation.

3. Having brand clarity across touchpoints is the new battleground – Brands that excel in this space can see a 70% impact on sales. Analytics can highlight where the brand is being diluted across digital channels and experiences. Brands need to be deployed clearly and consistently at every point of interaction.

Connectivity is essential for brand recovery and marketing effectiveness. Having an eco-system where there are no silos of knowledge or data between departments can help drive cost and media efficiencies. With no inconsistencies or anomalies brands can use tools such as KANTAR’s Agile Normative Budget Allocation tool to unlock these efficiencies to sustain revenues (even with reduced ad spend), calculate ROIs, and understand any short and long term impact on key brand metrics. For a data-driven approach to marketing effectiveness to be successful the process needs to be consistent across an organisation and embraced by all employees.

However, even with analytics tools and processes in place, culture and mindset transformation are key to embed effectiveness. To shift the attitudes and motivations of employees, brands need to start a movement of change; being clear on the role they can play and allowing them to think critically can create a workforce invested in the long-term future of the brand.

One thing brands can’t forget is that the consumer is the #1 focus for all that they do. Data and empathy go hand in hand to achieve human-centric growth, improve effectiveness in the market and aid brand recovery.

Insights are at the core of what we do at Space & Time. We work closely with clients to not only track, harvest and analyse their data but to make that data mean something – using it to fuel our strategy and planning. This allows our brands to engage with their audiences in effective and meaningful ways.

If you would like to understand more about how we use data to build effect marketing strategies, please get in touch with a member of our team.

Grant Hilborne, Media Executive