Copy Testing as Marketing Communications Tool: The Millward Brown Example

At the vanguard of providing clients with effective advertising, marketing communications, media and brand equity research is Millward Brown. With its latest innovation, this world leading research agency is set to rule the advertising world. LINDA UGWUOTI reports.

How effectively will your next advertisement or campaign perform for the brand? What impact will it have on sales? These days, when marketers are held more accountable for their decisions than ever before, you simply cannot afford to leave these questions unanswered. Only by taking every available step to maximize the power of the creative idea can you hope to ensure that your advertising investment delivers the best possible return.

In the light of this, Millward Brown’s Link family of copy testing solutions have established itself as the evaluation tool of choice among the world’s leading advertisers.

Millward Brown has stepped into the advertising landscape with meaningful innovations for advertising effectiveness. In the words of Nigel Hollis, chief global analyst, Millward Brown, “true innovation is the ultimate high-octane fuel for brand growth; when realised, it presents significant opportunity to differentiate the brand, grow market share and improve margins”.

With the latest innovation from Millward Brown, there is no doubt that advertisers will get greater value for their ads and grow their market share. Tagged Link, this world’s favourite evaluation tool provides a more complete understanding of advertising effectiveness.

With Link, nothing can give advertisers a clearer picture of how ad campaigns will perform once it reaches the marketplace, whatever the medium or combination of media.

Link’s greatest value is that it provides guidance and recommendations on how you can improve that performance, building on the creative strengths and rectifying any weaknesses. Put simply, creative ideas fulfill their commercial potentials with Link.

Link copy testing draws its strength from Millward Brown’s vast experience. For more than 30 years, Millward Bronw’s work with thousands of leading brands all over the world has enabled them to acquire an unrivalled understanding of how advertising works-in terms of both short term consumer response and long term effects on sales and brand equity.

According to Ugo Geri-Robert, managing director, Millward Brown, “in recent years, we have worked with leading neuroscientists to ensure that our learning takes into account the latest advances in understanding how the brain processes information and makes decisions. We have learned, for example, that a creative idea that is truly engaging can hugely increase the power of advertising and that it is perfectly possible for an execution to be 10 times more engaging than another. A brand achieving this is getting a 10 times better return on its media spend than a competitor which fails to make itself engage. We have also observed that ads with powerful news can be especially effective in driving short term sales. And we have found that the ability of an ad to communicate its key intended message can vary from zero to 99 per cent. Crucially, it is an empirical understanding of advertising effectiveness that underpins our suite of link approaches”.

The effectiveness of individual ads or campaigns cannot be accurately gauged in isolation. As such, Link works best as part of an “end to end” development and evaluation process that will usually include quantitative and qualitative work on strategy development; idea and execution development and subsequently, market tracking of consumer attitudes and sales.

“Accompanying our clients throughout this journey enables us to ensure that link forms part of a bigger brand picture and to this end, we always recommends that the qualitative researchers who worked on the development of the ideas are involved in both the design and interpretation of the quantitative research”.

When seen in this light, as an integral part of the brand building process, the value of link becomes clear. It is absolutely not about subjecting ads to a one-off test, which they either pass or fail. “On the contrary, our experience shows that, if the right work has been done at the strategy and idea development stages, then it should almost always be strong enough to run. Far more often, the vital role of link is to clarify what aspects of an ad work well, why they work well and how they could even work better”.

Often, this learning can be applied immediately to increase the campaign’s effectiveness. Additionally, in many cases, the analysis and insights provided by link proves of great value when carried forward into the development of subsequent executions or campaigns. “We acknowledge that advertising works in different ways and we know that brand associations in the brain are built on: knowledge, experience and emotion. Every campaign, depending on the brand strategy, will be trying to achieve a different mix of these things. Working closely with both client and agency, your Millward Brown Link team can greatly improve the chances of converting great creative ideas into the most commercially effective communications”, she added.

By harnessing this knowledge, link can provide you with a rounded view of how every part of your campaign will perform, together with real insight into what makes each execution as effective as it is and which media will best maximize that effectiveness. Unlike most copy-testing approaches, Link does not rely on artificially replicated real life viewing.

This means that one of the key advantages is that Link is equally beneficial for all media, from TV to digital and beyond. Link is transparent as there is no attempt to mislead respondents about the nature of the test they are taking part in. It works equally well with ads in a finished or unfinished state.

“In fact, over 40 per cent of all ads in our database have been tested in unfinished form. The obvious advantage is that, at this stage, there’s wider scope for development of the final execution. But whatever precise form your link project takes, we can guarantee to provide you with clear guidance and insight on which areas of the ad campaign viewers respond to and which ones serve to achieve the end goal. Link can also play a role in channel planning decisions. It can guide levels of spend behind different executions and different media. Our team can advise on the benefits or opportunities for cut-downs. We can even advise about the potential effectiveness of the idea in channels not currently under consideration”.

Millward Brown is a global leader in brand, media and communications research and provider of Link, the world’s most widely used ad copy-evaluation and optimisation tool.

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