Repetition no longer solution to brand building

One of the problems with a mass marketing approach to communications is that they assume that prospects can be made to believe, through advertising repetition of the same message, what offerings can mean to them. It’s a variation of positioning and in the mass economy, when firms could control how offerings were portrayed, it may have worked.

But consumers have been misled, lied to, abused, manipulated, let down and so on. As a result, they no longer believe what most companies say, no matter how many times they say it.

Today, other customers define brands and their opinions and experiences will determine if consumers try a brand. Once they do, it is up to the company to know and understand those consumers and communicate with them with content that resonates with them to keep them.

Failure to do so will determine the success of the brand and not repeating the same message to anyone and everyone.


7 thoughts on “Repetition no longer solution to brand building

  1. I disagree with this post and here is why. Consumers use different shortcuts when determining what product to buy. Shortcuts include an experience bias for a straight-rebuy, or use the halo shortcut (using people consumers like as spokesperson). Some of these shortcuts include brand recognition as a determinant for choosing a product. This is because when determining the purchase of a product a person is unfamiliar with, the first shortcut a person uses is brand recognition which is directly correlated to repetition. This assumes all other attributes are similar and non-exclusive.

    Using repetition is a main ingredient to build a loyal customer base. The other main ingredient is meeting expectations, but that is a different story.



  2. Hi Thomas

    Many thanks for dropping by and for taking the time to comment. I really appreciate you doing so and I like the tone of your response although I wholeheartedly disagree with you!

    You state that ‘repetition is a main ingredient to build a loyal customer base.’ I assume you are referring to repetition of advertising. That is totally wrong. How many brands are you or your friends loyal to because the product or service advertises repeatedly? I’d say none. You are loyal to brands because of the economic, experiential and emotional value they give you.

    Your initial comments sound like fragments of a marketing degree/course/module. The trouble is most marketing degrees/courses/modules bear little resemblance the world we live in today.

    There are so many great brands in just about every sector that if you recognise a brand that you had a terrible experience with and are offered other brands in the same category, will you go with the one that you had a bad experience with? I doubt it.

    Plus there is so much advertising noise and clutter out there that most consumers are shutting out ALL advertising. Anyway, consumers have been lied to so often and for so long they rarely believe what firms tell them in their advertising (here in Malaysia, 60% of Malaysians don’t believe what advertisers tell them). No matter how many times you repeat an ad, you won’t change that sentiment.

    Finally, how many firms can actually repeat the same message, across multiple channels for very long? Only a very few MNCs have the deep pockets required to do so.


  3. I would like to start by stating the greatest benefit of a brand is the set of expectations it sets about the particular product. You ask how many people I know prefer a brand simply because of repetitive advertising, and the answer is obvious. But advertising, repeated or not, is not why people buy.

    I understand your claim “You are loyal to brands because of the economic, experiential and emotional value they give you” and I completely agree with this. But to enjoy the values you describe, a consumer must go through a process to decide which brand to use initially. Before you can have a life time customer you need to have first time customers, and this is where repetition comes to play.

    Let me ask you a question. How many products have you purchased after hearing about it only once? Repetition includes word of mouth and other inexpensive, and sometimes free, avenues of communication.


    1. Hi Thomas

      I think we’re going to have to agree to disagree because generally speaking, as far as I am concerned, repetitive advertising is not the way to get a prospect to try a product or service for the first time. If the brand owner is lucky and has deep enough pockets to repeat the process time and time and time again, almost ad infinitum, then it may generate some interest in a product or service but with so much chioce, so many distractions, so much noise and clutter there are far better ways to spend marketing budgets and that is the crux of my argument.

      My original blog post refers to paid advertising and not word of mouth and/or other conduits. Indeed, I am more likely to try a product based on a personal recommendation rather than a corporate message communicated in an ad. That’s my whole point!


  4. A very interesting discussion. To me the big question is ‘what comprises a brand identity’?…and I think the answer to that is changing rapidly.

    A company may repeat the same message again and again in its advertising, but if the same message is not successfully upheld across the breadth of the customer experience, it eventually fails.

    In that sense, I would say that brand identity based on advertising message is very similar to using special offers to stimulate trial. If the value delivered to the consumer is not net positive (when considering the price, opportunity cost, and range of real and perceived benefits), then the consumer will go elsewhere eventually.


  5. Hi Luisa

    Firstly I owe you a big apology, but we should discuss that offline!

    Secondly, thanks for your comments.

    I think I understand where you are coming from.

    I am of the opinion (and I may be wrong – it wouldn’t be the first time) that a brand identity (I am assuming you don’t include the brand’s heritage) is increasingly unimportant (although country of origin counters that position) in the building of a brand.

    However, this is generalising across sectors and this is a danger when discussing branding. In your space, the brand image is important, as is the brand heritage but I still think the key to the success of the brand is the ability to personalise relationships with customers and keep existing customers happy.


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