The use of symbols, relationships and emotions in advertising has grown over the years, and so has the level of sophistication. There is less text and more association. From a research perspective, the complexity of evaluating advertising and measuring its impact has increased considerably. Emotions and symbols are harder to gauge than persuasion or salience.
Salience is measured by metrics such as top-of-mind, spontaneous and aided brand awareness. Persuasion is usually measured in terms of pre/post shift in disposition to purchase brand. Note, however, that claimed disposition to purchase normally turns out to be higher than actual behaviour might suggest. What consumer claim they will do is usually not the same as what they actually do.
The likeability of an ad is usually measured in terms of rating on a set of attributes that relate to affinity. Imagery can be measured using the methods described in Chapter Brand Sensing. Symbolism however is relatively hard to gauge because it is often non-verbal and difficult to describe. As such, it is not always feasible to assess the full significance of symbols.
Consumers’ relationships with brands are complex in nature, and consequently difficult to describe or measure. And with regard to emotions, verbal responses do not usually elicit their true nature. Moreover, consumers often find it hard to verbalize emotions, and they may not even be conscious of their existence. In light of this, indirect interviewing methods and non-verbal, physiological approaches are gaining acceptance. Details about these measurement methods and the prevailing techniques in advertising evaluation are covered in Chapter Advertising Analytics.
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