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GM - Super-less-Bowl
GM is at it again. A week after cutting the $12M budget for Facebook, they announce that they will not be advertising in the next Super Bowl. (LINK)
Confusion continues to the goal of marketing and branding efforts. Although this sounds like moves made by the newly hired advertising agency to test how "on board" GM is with the methodology.
GM seems to think that getting 7.5M views on YouTube for it's Silverado after the Super Bowl Commercial that ran in 2012, didn't increase brand awareness. At a cost of $3M, the residual branding efforts of those people and the ad's replay value had to not only increase test drives, but also social buzz beyond the 7.5M.
See the ad here:
What else would GM want?
Maybe they are looking to raise awareness of a new product. Oh, they did that successfully last year too. With the Chevy Sonic. What did GM get for this $3M?
The results were that Edmunds.com reported the Sonic was the #3 top searched vehicle on it's the site the days following the Super Bowl. Most would call that a successful product launch.
Assumptions are a risky business, but in this case, let's assume that GM wasn't happy with the bottom line impact of these ads and that's why they dropped Facebook and the Super Bowl.
Maybe -- following this assumption, GM is putting the money into developing products that people will be interested in purchasing instead of just looking at the commercials. Now that would make sense, but they will never come out and say it.
Although the Sonic ads created traffic, people didn't buy because it didn't compare well with other cars in the market. So the marketing drove them to Edmunds and their dealers, but ultimately, didn't bring out the checkbooks. That's not the marketing department's fault.
Or maybe it's a move by their newly hired marketing agency -- the same one that handles marketing for Snooki.
Branding is a marketing strategy that is important for many companies. On a small scale, branding can be in the form of good will of donations and partnering in local events and charities. On a larger scale, branding can be a Super Bowl advertisement, Billboards, and Social Media Campaigns. While Branding may have no immediate impact on the bottom line, it keeps the product or service in the conversation, allowing the "I heard about that" to come into a buyer's mind.
A tangible example is the cola wars that have been fought for decades. Coca-Cola and Pepsi fight it out through ads that help you make the decision on which to buy -- when your thirsty. But they aren't expecting you to hop in the car because you saw a polar bear drinking a Coke or Michael Jackson dancing on stage.
Branding has to be a consistent message where ROI is considered last. It is a constant - something that you can't turn off - and moves with the times, and in most cases, as with a lot of public companies is determined as a percentage of gross income.
Final disclaimer. There is a lot of advertising that requires ROI -- these are time sensitive and traceable. You know when customers make a purchase decision based on Advertising and it directly effects your bottom line. Don't confuse your budget "pie" when it comes to Advertising vs. Branding or else you may be losing a potential impression that you spent years developing.