Search and Branding: A Crucial Couple for the Corporation
When it comes to search, the greatest emphasis is often put on sale conversions. But search can have a significant impact on companies' branding efforts, too. In a panel session during the Search Marketing Expo East conference in New York Oct. 6-8, a panel focused on key branding initiatives and search's impact on their branding efforts.
Discussing his company's approach to search, Bob Tripathi, search marketing strategist at Discover Financial Services, said Discover emphasizes TV's presence and its relationship with search conversions on all matters related to search.
Discover's approach to search, Tripathi noted during the session, emphasizes the following six points:
1. to be the search marketing champion;
2. to start a small search pilot program;
3. to provide search intelligence to the branding team;
4. to integrate campaigns across all media;
5. to leverage social media; and
6. to "rinse and repeat, because you don't search after every brand-building campaign you start," he said.
For the cell phone manufacturing giant Nokia, search and branding take on an entirely different meaning. "Branding is a big deal for us — one of our core assets," said panelist David Wharton, director of digital marketing, services and software for Nokia. "Our brand stays in motion all the time, and search is one vehicle we use to keep it turning all the time."
Because Nokia phones are sold through service providers, such as Verizon, the company has no direct-to-consumer model in its traditional cell phone business. So Nokia has to increase awareness of its latest devices, Wharton said, so that when consumers go into phone stores, they ask for specific Nokia phones.
Nokia makes its phones easy to find in searches. "We know that we have to keep our brand in front of you," he said. "If we don't, it'll be remarkable for its absence."
Also speaking on the panel, Theresa LaMontagne, Yahoo's research director, sales and media, discussed a recent survey Yahoo conducted with 6,000 consumers regarding branding through search. She presented three key conclusions from the search/branding survey:
- Search and branding go together. The survey showed that exposure to search listings raised top-of-mind awareness across all categories tested.
- The way a brand executes a campaign matters to marketers in two ways: The position matters, LaMontagne said, because the greatest lift in key measures, beyond mere brand awareness, happened with first position exposure. And what you say matters, because brand consideration was more likely to move in the categories where the message resonated with consumers.
- Being present in search results "is like being on a store shelf," she noted. When brands are absent from search, mindshare immediately is ceded to competitive brands. "If a brand is out of stock, it can't be bought," she added.