The fourth annual Brand Barometer Survey, conducted on behalf of Brand Council SA (BCSA) by Columinate, has revealed that the brand marketing industry is still not being taken seriously at board level because it is perceived to be focusing more on creativity than on business results.

The survey assesses the state of brand marketing in SA across various areas, highlighting the industry’s strengths and weaknesses.

The key findings focused on a number of issues, including the fact that though the quality of talent joining the industry has largely improved, once new people are in the industry there is a distinct lack of training and development. Therefore, talent development and transformation must become a focus for industry players if the industry is to create effective solutions.

When it comes to transformation, the survey revealed that the majority of the industry doesn’t understand the BBBEE marketing, advertising & communication (MAC) charter – a state of affairs that will have to change if the industry is to have any influence on social change.

One of the key focus areas of the survey is how the SA industry measures up to international standards. Findings indicated that local brand marketing is perceived to be on a par with, or below these standards. There has been a general improvement in the way in which certain sectors view themselves and are viewed by other industry players, but these perceptions are not always the same. A case in point would be the way brand ambassadors view themselves versus the way the industry views them (in fact this represented the highest mismatch). And though SA thought leadership is seen to be improving, it’s not yet on a par with global standards.

When it comes to measurement and return on investment for brand marketing campaigns, the survey shows that advanced analytics, as well as increased sales or new business are the best measures of success and return on investment.

What the survey highlights, says BCSA CEO Leigh-Anne Acquisto, is just how important the role of brand marketing is becoming. Branch architects and owners, she says, can have an influence on the national mood by conducting business in a way that adds value to the wellbeing of society.

The big take-out: According to the latest Brand Barometer Survey the brand marketing industry is not being taken seriously in the boardroom. The industry has a low level of BBBEE compliance, needs to provide more training and development, and ensure a greater focus on business-orientated solutions.

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