How Programmatic Works with Creativity in Branding

As programmatic progresses from being just a workflow tool to automate formerly manual processes to an integral part of a branding campaign’s creative thrust,  it’s good to keep in mind that for branding, programmatic works best paired with creativity.

In addition to making the media buying process more efficient, brands now know that programmatic, used correctly, can also improve targeting. Ad tech can help reach the right person on the right channel, and even at the right moment. But what’s the good of that capability of the messaging is wrong?

That’s where creativity enters the equation. People who measure these sorts of things (insofar as they can be measured) insist that high-quality creative can drive up to four times the response as low-quality creative. When Kellogg evaluated the success of its advertising programs as an entirety, the company decided to bring the programmatic buying function in-house:

The ability to harness and protect data came up several times. Fetters, director of the Insights and Analytics Solutions Center at Kellogg Co., said that Kellogg’s in-house operation brought the company into better touch with its “first party” data (meaning: its own). “We’ve learned a lot about the value and power of first-party data,” he said, citing customer relationship management tools and a brand’s own website as sources of important information ready to be tapped.

Using its own data, Kellogg has improved its targeting and the viewability of its online ads. It has even investigated optimal online ad sizes.  But at the end of the day, “thirty percent is the media; seventy percent is the creative, as far as I’m concerned,” said Jim Kiszka, the company’s Senior Manager for Digital Media, North America.

Kiszka has decided that, while programmatic technology still surpasses its art, it’s best to start with the brand and the consumer, and not the programmatic buy.  What does the consumer need, and how can the brand provide it? How do consumers use the brand now?

Only then does Kizska move on to finding the right channels, the right time, and the right level of investment to bring an effective message. Because we are moving on from a one-size-fits-all approach to a highly targeted, individualized advertising world, marketers are going to have to think about how to take the individualized data they have about customers and deliver creative messaging and images that still work programmatically at scale. For example, it is probably not appropriate to reach a middle-aged man with a beer ad while he’s in his doctor’s waiting room. You may have the right demographic and the right channel, and even the message, but…

Programmatic offers the power of one-to-one marketing, but only when the creative complements the contextual environment.