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Brand vs. DRTV: The Boardroom Battle

By Alison Gordon, Senior Producer/Account Manager

It’s an honorable fight – one that we have seen far too often over the past 25 years as a direct response (DR) agency. It’s Brand vs. DRTV. Time and again we have seen savvy direct marketers just like you get excited about kicking off a DRTV campaign only to end up waylaid in brand limbo, struggling to overcome internal confusion about the difference between brand advertising and DRTV advertising. Sound familiar? Are you fighting to convince your brand protectors to take the DRTV leap of faith? Arm yourself with these six insights as you prepare for your next boardroom battle.

  1. DRTV isn’t: “Our Brand Campaign – the Sequel”. Its main focus is not to raise awareness about all of your key messaging and brand attributes – you are smart and already getting this messaging out in other ways. DRTV is not the time or place to revisit your complete company manifesto.
  2. DRTV is: Simple messaging, clear graphic reinforcement, and a strong and compelling call to action. It’s repetitive, easy to understand, and it’s all designed to elicit an immediate and trackable response from your target audience. Simply put: it’s your brand creative on a diet, making it a lean, mean, response machine.
  3. There is nothing to fear: Don’t panic, brand protectors. No one is suggesting that you ditch your brand identity and core messaging in favor of an all new approach. Your brand should be 100% present within your DRTV campaign. The look, feel and tonality should all be on target and your messaging should be present – just not to the same extent as it appears in your other marketing materials. The key is to keep it simple and focused on the offer.
  4. Keeping it simple isn’t stupid: As the saying goes, your creative and offer can’t be everything to everyone. Remember: in DRTV, it’s all about results – not detailed brand education. The more information you try to force into the creative, the more diluted and confusing the messaging becomes. You want your audience to understand your offer and act. It must be kept simple. That’s smart.
  5. Let the results speak for themselves: Not even the staunchest brand advocates can argue with results. The numbers don’t lie. The fact that you can track your conversions makes DRTV a best bet as part of your existing marketing mix. I would take those odds every time.
  6. Together we stand: This is great news for brand protectors. You don’t have to give anything up – you can just add to your current mix. Several marketing efforts working in tandem are better than any one element working all by its lonesome. Any DRTV campaign can and should be integrated with your current brand efforts – whether on television, or through online or direct mail. The two can co-exist peacefully and with great success.

The bottom line is that while many people are still uncomfortable with the ways in which DRTV will differ from their existing brand campaign, both can be respected and integrated. Together, they will pack a powerful punch, raise awareness and drive qualified leads.

So get out there and fight the good fight – the results will be worth it!