Introducing a new product or brand in a competitive marketplace can be daunting. Advertisers need to capture the attention of consumers and quickly be memorable enough to make an impact.
For financial brands, that can be even more of an uphill battle. Between banks, credit card companies, financial advisors, and investment firms, the competition for share of voice and market share is steep.
How advertising works
Les Binet, head of effectiveness at adam&eveDDB, created this simple explanation of how advertising works:
In 2018, a major financial institution launched a new brand. Part of their marketing rollout included AM/FM radio.
To understand AM/FM radio’s impact on awareness and brand images of the new financial brand, Westwood One commissioned a national study with MARU/Matchbox. An 850 person study was fielded twice – during the first few days of the campaign and again following the completion of the campaign.
Here are the key findings:
The AM/FM radio campaign boosted awareness, consideration, and brand images
From September to November, every stage of the purchase funnel, the steps a consumer takes on the path to purchasing, saw increases:
- Aided awareness of the new financial brand grew +26%
- Favorable brand images increased +43%
- Consideration rose +20%
- Association of the brand’s slogan was up +46%
Increasing brand images is essential, especially for brands that aren’t already known in the marketplace. Noted advertising expert Spike Santee says, “The goal of successful advertising is to be known before you are needed. The biggest mistake in advertising is waiting to be found.”
New brands can’t afford to wait to be known. Working to develop strong awareness, images, and consideration from a brand’s early stages sets up future success.
Following the November campaign, key brand associations grew for the new financial brand
Consumers were increasingly able to associate the new financial brand with key brand attributes after exposure to the AM/FM radio campaign. Compared to September 2018, +43% more consumers could associate no charges for fees with the brand, +20% more consumers believed the company to be transparent and innovative, and +47% more consumers thought the brand offered fixed, low rate personal loans. Most significantly, +67% more consumers associated the new financial brand with providing personal loans to people with good credit.
No doubt, the actual sizes of these perceptions are quite small. Images are like glaciers – slow to form and slow to melt. Brand building is harder to achieve, requires greater investment, and is the only path to long-term sales and profit growth. According to Les Binet and marketing consultant Peter Field, “Brand building means creating mental structures (associations, memories, beliefs, etc.) that will pre-dispose potential customers to choose one brand over another. This is a long-term job involving conditioning consumers…so it takes time; talking to people long before they come to buy.”
Awareness and brand favorability grew significantly in the key target 35-64 demographic
Post-exposure to the AM/FM radio campaign, the financial brand saw increases in aided awareness and favorable brand images across the board. However, the most significant jumps were seen among their key demographic, adults 35-64. Aided awareness grew +29% from September to November among adults 35-64. Favorable brand images increased an even more impressive +40% among adults 35-64.
With Boomers working longer, making more money, and, according to Acxiom data, controlling 54% of all disposable income, resonating with adults 35-64 is a smart move for financial brands. AM/FM radio’s impact on aided awareness, brand images, as well as its impressive reach and share of time spent among this age group, makes it a powerful tool for financial advertisers.
Heavy AM/FM radio listeners saw strong growth in awareness, favorability, brand images, and usage
Among heavy AM/FM radio listeners, key brand metrics were higher post-exposure to the campaign. Heavy AM/FM radio listeners were greatly impacted by the AM/FM radio ads with growth in favorable brand image (+71%), usage (+50%), aided awareness (+37%), brand consideration (+36%), and slogan association (+33%).
New brands need to make an impact quick. Fortunately, one of AM/FM radio’s strengths lies in its ability to build brand equity through awareness, images, favorability, and consideration. For financial institutions looking to solidify themselves in the minds of consumers, AM/FM radio should be their advertising platform of choice.
- Advertising works by making the brand easy to think of and easy to buy by creating positive feelings and associations via broad reach ads that people find interesting and enjoyable
- The AM/FM radio campaign boosted awareness, consideration, and brand images
- Following the November campaign, key brand associations grew for the new financial brand
- Awareness and brand favorability grew significantly in the key target 35-64 demographic
- Heavy AM/FM radio listeners saw strong growth in awareness, favorability, brand images, and usage
Pierre Bouvard is Chief Insights Officer at Cumulus | Westwood One.
Contact the Insights team at CorpMarketing@westwoodone.com.