Brand Building vs Performance Marketing: The Creative Effectiveness Crisis

With ‘performance marketing’ on the rise, is an obsession with metrics harming our ability to take creative risks? We asked 250 marketing leaders for their thoughts on how performance marketing helps or hinders brand-building efforts, and whether or not we’re facing a crisis of creative effectiveness.

Brand Building vs Performance Marketing: The Creative Effectiveness Crisis

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What’s inside?

  • Data from 250 marketing leaders on how being results-focused is affecting creativity
  • How ‘short-termism’ is impacting the bigger picture when it comes to brand-building
  • The brands that are doing creativity right, according to marketers
  • Why you shouldn’t sacrifice creativity for sales activation, and a look at the ‘creative effectiveness crisis’

Still not sure? Have a read…

Creative advertising awards are a familiar part of life for marketers. Whether or not you’ve been in person, the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity remains a regular feature in the calendar for marketers and branding experts year in, year out, running for almost 70 years now.

But is the shine finally wearing off marketing awards like this one? Is Cannes becoming more of an excuse to drink rosé in the south of France, than a chance to really celebrate, reward and be inspired by the best creativity our industry has to offer? While we think rosé is an excellent addition to any event (😂), some marketers are starting to think so…

In June 2019 the IPA (Institute of Practitioners in Advertising) published a report written by Peter Field, titled: “The Crisis in Creative Effectiveness”. Inside this report, which Field hoped he “would never have to write”, Field takes data from 600 case studies, analysed over a 24 year period, 121 of which picked up major creative awards. The results showed that awarded campaigns are now less effective than they have ever been over the 24 years of data. In fact, Field concluded that awarded campaigns are no more effective than non-awarded ones.

He cites awards like Cannes for inspiring bad practice. Creativity is being misused; It’s being used to pursue short-term sales activation over brand-building that can lead to effective marketing in the long-run. Pursuing sales activation is resulting in a wider trend of declining effectiveness of all IPA campaigns; creativity is used to prompt action, rather than building durable brands. As Field notes, “Creativity brings more value [to brand-building campaigns] because it’s good at creating emotional memory structures”.

“I think that there is a definite crisis in creative effectiveness because creativity is not awarded any more to the extent it was before. Simply put, a campaign that is super creative will barely have any improvements over a cookie-cutter campaign that you spent an afternoon on. I see an increasing number of marketing managers simply copying others’ campaigns and strategies because not only does it save them time, it actually works. After all, why risk doing something creative if something that already exists performs really well? This crisis will continue developing until the customers who consume content become fed up with the lack of creativity.” Olga Mykhoparkina, Chief Marketing Officer, Chanty.

At Attest we wondered, do marketers agree? How do they balance long term brand-building with short term performance or sales-activation, and how do they use their creativity as a force for good? Read on to find out what our research revealed.

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