Often clients ask about our philosophy regarding branding vs. direct-response. The underlying assumption is that there is a necessary distinction between the two strategies. We beg to differ. In fact, we believe that deciding between branding and direct-response is like deciding between tires and a steering wheel.
Regardless of what you may think, believe, or have been told by other ad agencies, direct-response is not preclusive of branding. In fact, we would assert that all direct-response commercials “brand.”
My favorite definition of branding is:
The symbolic embodiment of all the information connected with a product or service. A brand typically includes a name, logo, images, symbols, sound effects or slogans. It also encompasses the set of expectations associated with a product or service, which typically arises in the minds of customers and employees.
So does the very fact that you choose to show a phone number and URL, as well as suggesting the customer call now, mean that branding is not taking place? Of course not.
By utilizing common images, symbols, sound effects or slogans, you are enhancing recall, while the commercials themselves present the information connected with a product or service while encompassing the set of expectations associated with a product or service, which typically arises in the minds of customers and employees.
As long as you are using these tactics, you are practicing the strategy of branding. As long as you are telling the consumer to take action and providing them with the method(s), you are practicing the strategy of direct-response.
Do NOT be deceived … the only choice you NEED to make is to get rid of any agency who tries to convince you that branding vs. direct-response is an either/or proposition.