Brand Responses

10/11/2021 0 By indiafreenotes

Brand Response is the marketing communications industry’s Genius of the And. It sounds too good to be true. It asks us to live with two apparently contradictory ideas at the same time. It can be defined simply as a strategic and executional campaign approach where brand building drives response and this response in turn builds the brand in a virtuous circle of effectiveness.

Brand or Response

Marketers make a choice between two discrete activities. Brand-building and other longer-term activities are separate from short-term sales or response-driving activities. They are generally delivered by different campaigns through different channels. Typically, TV is used for ‘brand’ and direct marketing used for ‘response’. The majority of the IPA cases from the 1980s reflect this thinking.

Brand and Response

The two elements are treated as distinct but complementary activities within a campaign helped by some executional links. The Grand Prixwinning Tesco case of 2000 used Every Little Helps, and a consistent tone of voice across different campaigns for brand and tactical work.

Brand Response

A seamless blend of both types of activity is delivered through a single campaign. The purpose of all activity is to drive response (both short and longer term) while building the brand.

Building brands and driving sales are no longer mutually exclusive activities: they are now symbiotic. Critically the two elements create a powerful virtuous circle where brand helps build response, and the response itself helps build the brand through experience.

Number of metrics with brand response marketing, including:

  • Gross Rating Points. A measure of exposure, calculated by multiplying the percentage of the target market reached by the exposure frequency.
  • Cost Per Thousand Impressions. The total cost of a thousand impressions of a single ad.
  • Cost Per Point. This is the cost of buying one point, or one percent of the target market’s attention.
  • Rating Points. The size of a live audience, expressed as a percentage of the entire potential audience at any given time.


Call to action

This one seems like a no-brainer, but without a call to action, there won’t be a “response” in brand response. But the power of brand response is in the integration of its elements you can’t just tack an end card and a promo code to anything and hope it works. Defining the exact action you want the spot to generate is paramount, and must be the guiding thematic touchstone that guides everything in the spot, otherwise the story elements can feel arbitrary and actually hinder the elements that sell.


Brand response also requires an actual story, over and beyond a problem/solution, a how-to, or a testimonial. These are great DR tools, but they’re functional and they feel like a pitch. You need to show, not tell. A testimonial spot doesn’t become brand response simply because the speaker is wearing a funny costume, a good brand response will actually illustrate the narrative with beats that cause actual emotion. A good guideline for story is to make sure the plot actually sounds interesting when read without detail, and then make sure there are moments in the story that are calibrated for maximum humour, pathos, or whatever else you’re going for.


The moment of transition from the story elements to the harder working sales information needs to be carefully considered. A classic strategy is to spend 15 seconds showing an amusing scene, scenario, or vignette, then underlining the exact problem it’s describing, and cutting to 15 seconds of more classic DR, once you’ve earned the audience’s trust and attention. However you transition from storytelling to sales, you want the transition point to feel organic, surprising, and rewarding. Ideally the actual announcement of what product the scenario is advertising gets the biggest and most rewarding laugh.


It’s well known that benefits to the customer are more persuasive than product features, but on a deeper level, benefits are connected to customer aspirations. Brands know this, and tie their values and messaging to the deeply felt aspirations of their key demographics. In addition to the stated CTA, brand response should be an illustration of that: a more organized life. A more successful life. A happier life. In the end, all aesthetic choices pale in comparison to how a spot makes the audience feel, and clearcut aspiration is the key to making people feel motivated to heed the call to action.