Kellogg’s Bob Arnold Starts ‘Brand Aware’ Column

Brand AwareWelcome to “Brand Aware.”

I’m Bob Arnold, Associate Director of Global Digital Strategy at Kellogg Company, and I have the privilege of penning this column. I’ve been in the digital marketing space for more than 12 years – 10 years at Procter & Gamble and two years at Kellogg.

Having grown up in the “branding” side (as opposed to the “direct” side) of marketing, I’ve always felt that ad tech companies – to a certain degree – have ignored or simply not understood brand marketers. This is evidenced by the lack of innovations that are developed with branding as the main focus.

As a result most large brands only invest a fraction of their budget into the space, despite the mass consumer adoption – a recent AdAge article states, “By the most generous estimates, the all-in costs of digital make up around 10% of P&G’s U.S. marketing outlay and a similar share for P&G’s big global rivals, Unilever and L’Oréal — Nos. 2 and 3 in global ad spending, respectively.” It has become a vicious cycle!

My vision for this column is simple – to help close the gap between amazing technology companies and brand marketers. If ad technology companies understand what keep brand marketers up at night, we’ll be flooded with incredible innovations.

Trust me, brand marketers want to play much more in the space, we just need help getting there. So, while I definitely don’t have all of the answers. I’ll do my best to represent what’s on brand marketers’ minds, our needs, frustrations, etc.

Which brings me to you. Whether you are a fellow marketer or in ad tech, I look forward to your feedback, questions, and, above all, your participation. Please post suggestions for future columns in the comments below.

Google has famously predicted that the display market will hit $200B a year. Clearly we have a ways to go and I want us – together – to do everything possible to make it a reality.

Follow Bob Arnold (@bobbyarnold) and AdExchanger (@adexchanger) on Twitter.

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  1. Chris Karl

    Looking forward to your posts Bob! Great to see AdExchanger continuing add the marketer’s perspective. Agree there is a lot of work to do around defining performance marketing for brands… but all the tools exist. It’s all about execution.

    • Bob Arnold

      Thanks for the post Chris!

      Not sure I agree all of the programmatic buying tools for marketers exist just yet, but that is why I’m pulling this column together to help drive clarity.

      I’ll try and detail areas that I feel are opportunities and look forward to future discussions.

  2. Welcome Bob. I’d encourage you to focus on the big structural things that are keeping brand dollars back – as you said, digital is far too DR oriented, and there needs to be a lot more convos around it.

    We humbly believe the 3 big systemic problems are:

    1) Transactional friction. It’s just too hard to do premium display (9X more overhead cost vs TV)

    2) Creative. e.g. “Whens the last time a banner made you laugh”

    3) Attribution beyond last click.

    • Bob Arnold

      Thanks for the post John!

      Completely agree with your assessment- I would say there are some ideas/solutions that try to address these issues head on, it’s still too early to declare victory just yet.

    • Bob Arnold

      Thanks for your post Peter.

      I enjoyed your panel at the DoubleClick CAB.


  3. Looking forward to this column. I started on the client side (most recently corporate mktg at Thomson Reuters running some branding activities in the global financial community), and then moved to the vendor side of digital marketing when I founded my company. Having seen both “extremes,” I believe the biggest disconnect is that corporate marketers in general (which includes brand marketers) are woefully ignorant of what’s possible in the digital space, nor do they have the time to master or manage new digital tactics & channels. There are all sorts of reasons behind this, and the barriers aren’t easily removed. So, given that many brand marketers are simply unaware of the performance and exposure that digital can deliver, it’s no surprise that those channels are under-used. If I had one suggestion, it would be to go well beyond buzzwords & strategic-speak (plenty of hot air already flying around every corporate marketing org), and dive into some nuts & bolts…information that brand marketers on the front lines (i.e., not upper management) can actually use.

    • Bob Arnold

      Thanks for your post Myles!

      Agreed, very few brand marketers know of this space, let alone understand it. Frankly some of the blame falls on the industry for not understanind the needs of brand marketers. I hope this column will help guid ad tech companies and help them develop better capabilites (and to your point) help them communicate better with brand marketers.

  4. I am looking forward to this column as well. There is a definite disconnect in brand marketing and digital; not only from a technology perspective but also how brand marketers buy digital. Unfortunately, technology has built a sense of right-nowness which has lead to DR focus and for brand marketers, there is a tendency to use traditional buying models (content as a proxy or how a publisher indexes). Best of luck!!!

  5. True innovation is rare and hard.

    The Groundswell case study of your work is a perfect example. You connected with the consumer at the right time on her terms.

    Digital marketers often leave out consumer dreams and desires. Creative firms understand but struggle to leverage technology. Software companies invent great technologies but can’t connect features to critical brand needs. Those that resist are labeled as backward.

    Social data offers a huge opportunity to innovate but there is a problem. Software companies can get at the data but don’t deliver actionable strategies that brands will use to solve million dollar problems.

    Agencies are not good at leveraging technology to support brand goals. Digital marketers are great at technology but mostly expert in a particular channel or expertise.

    In the midst of this confusion brands test the next shiny toy but will not bet the farm.

    I’m looking forward to your next post!