TM: Are brand-oriented keywords to be avoided then?
RC: There’s no doubt having a brand presence is a tremendous value in search. It allows you to understand behavior at a different level. Even looking at the gross amount of search around your brand compared to a competitor can give you an overall performance indirectly of your brand weight. So, it really changes the scale at which you can address your program. Usually brand words work very well, so it can be a cost-effective thing. But there are some risks with marketers being exposed at a point in the consideration cycle that might be a fairly good time for conversion.
TM: Any other advice you can offer to brand marketers?
RC: You just have to have a robust search program. There are other opportunities that are starting to emerge that shape brand message around early consideration points in search. I’m talking about getting there early, whether or not you get the click, but actually using the vehicle as a brand opportunity—like a media, except that you can strategically place your brand message around a behavior that might be a precursor to something that relates to your brand or your company’s products and services. [Leveraging brand in SEM] is about … really quantifying your brand presence a little earlier than you might think of now, rather than focusing on head keywords. It’s a cat-and-mouse-and-dog game, with the search engine also in the mix.