Protecting your Brand

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It’s two years since Google changed the brand rights rules and allowed advertisers to freely bid on each other’s brand terms. But, if the user is looking for that brand then surely they want to find that brand, and not alternatives? When is it about choice, and when is it about competition and spend?

Today, brands operate in a crowded marketplace, both online and offline, all jostling for number one position. In order to stand out, advertisers must invest in enhancing the customer experience, giving them choice while protecting their brand online. Search marketing is one of the most powerful weapons in the online marketing armoury. However, with the integration of site links and universal search results, the bulk of natural results are finding themselves being pushed further down the page, meaning even greater eye balls on paid search activity.

Search marketing facilitates all aspects of the customer user journey, from research to brand engagement, to, ultimately, purchase intent. Despite many brands now engaging more with understanding the broader mix of advertising, and wanting to understand the contributions made along the user journey, last click is still the primary model adopted.

Search marketing galvanises customers who have already made a decision to buy a product, many of whom type in the advertiser’s brand term to make the final purchase. But can that user be drawn away? Even at that last minute when they are ready to buy? The answer is yes. Competition exists on the engines throughout the buying process, and advertisers will gladly pick up your prospective customers, given half a chance,

So, if you, as the advertiser, are only able to feature your paid search ad once, this means there are up to nine advertisers potentially vying for ‘your’ customer, on your brand term. So how can you overcome this, and minimise leakage to your competitors? We addressed this exact problem with Premier Inn. By tapping into our strong innovative and technical expertise, we developed a strategy that would involve building a site, to complement Premier Inn’s own site.

Once built, the hotel locator site – – offered travellers easy access to location and route information for all of the 570 plus hotels across the UK. Working with Premier Inn we set out to simplify the whole selection process, by providing location and journey-planning information based around one simple destination question. The site is divided between a destination search and a route planner. Information is then provided on both areas for each Premier Inn selected, including price of accommodation, address details, directions as well as a booking link through to the main Premier Inn site.

By playing to our strengths in the digital performance arena, Found has been able to provide Premier Inn’s prospective customers with a really useful, innovative tool. And, by providing extra value to the consumer, we are also able to invest in search marketing, bidding on brand, and brand variations, to help secure greater eye balls on Premier Inn.

There is always the risk of simply taking sales that would have gone to the brand direct, but the strategy was built to ensure we actually contributed to revenue as well as protecting the brand. The investment was managed tightly, to ensure we did not negatively impact Premier Inn’s search spend, and drove incremental bookings, along with the added value of offering multi-messaging opportunities for Premier Inn. With the site now firmly established, we are looking at how we can broaden the strategy to encompass more generic activity.