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Business leaders and staff agree company brand identity linked to success

The Gartner Marketing and Narrative Impact Survey of 1,154 business leaders and employees across North America and the United Kingdom in November and December 2023 found that 75% of respondents agree their organization must do a better job aligning external audiences’ views with company identity and direction.

Despite marketing’s accountability for brand, 72% of leaders report their marketing function is not instrumental to their company’s business evolution.

“Nearly all companies are evolving in some way to set themselves up for future success, whether by shifting capabilities or offerings, catching up to market expectations, or reaching new target audiences,” said Dorian Cundick, VP, Advisory in the Gartner Marketing Practice. “This presents a huge opportunity for marketers to bring audiences along to support this journey—fueling revenue growth and helping increase perceptions of marketing as a critical partner in business evolution.”

Gartner research shows that when audiences understand a company’s business evolution, they’re more likely to buy from, work for, or otherwise support that company. In fact, business leaders who report strong audience understanding of their business evolution are 1.4x more likely to surpass revenue objectives.

“Marketing leaders must invest in a corporate narrative to create a bridge between brand and strategy,” Cundick said. “While the story of who an organization is and where it’s going is a powerful tool to support business evolution, it isn’t as effective as it could be – the average employee uses them only about a third of the time. Infrequent use of narrative material is associated with a lower likelihood of exceeding performance goals.”

In order for corporate narratives to achieve their full effect and generate value, CMOs must take a different approach to engaging in narrative efforts

A Gartner survey in November and December 2023 of 180 business leaders involved in moving forward their company’s business evolution found that skewing leadership efforts towards activation relative to development lifts business performance by 23%. When leaders focus disproportionately on activation, they also rate marketing as more instrumental to their company’s business evolution.

“Marketing is most likely to be seen as a strategic partner in business evolution when leaders play a significant role in narrative activation efforts like mobilizing the narrative externally through campaigns, as opposed to development activities like finalizing the narrative framework, or testing it with key stakeholders,” said Cundick. “Leadership involvement in activation helps ensure that narrative materials have ‘fit’ – meaning they’re contextualized for employees’ needs and are more likely to connect key audiences to the narrative.”

The Gartner Marketing and Narrative Impact Survey found most employees are trying to accomplish at least one of three things when they communicate about company identity and direction:

  • 79% of employees want to align, creating line of sight between individuals and organizational identity.
  • 64% want to persuade, influencing others in support of organizational identity and direction.
  • 80% want to connect, building a sense of personal and shared connection to the organizational identity and direction.

Marketing teams should create resources like guidelines, proof points, tools and templates to help employees align and persuade others. For the connect use case, draft messaging and experiences that help employees see themselves in the narrative. Many of these materials can be developed at the same time as the narrative itself is being finalized, as long as different teams coordinate their efforts.

“When CMOs play a more strategic and visible role in business evolution, business performance improves, and marketing’s value becomes more clear,” Cundick said.

Photo by DocuSign on Unsplash

BRAND MONITORING MONTH: Moving from from hashtags towards holistic insights

A brand’s reputation can be made or broken online in a matter of minutes. Digital marketing professionals have come to understand the critical importance of brand monitoring – the process of tracking online mentions and sentiment surrounding a brand. Let’s delve into the fascinating journey of brand monitoring and explore how the solutions available to digital marketers are likely to evolve in the coming years…

From Simple Alerts to Sophisticated Sentiment Analysis:

Early brand monitoring involved manually searching social media platforms and online forums for mentions of a brand name or product. This rudimentary approach was time-consuming and offered limited insights. The evolution saw the introduction of:

  • Alerting Tools: These tools notified marketers of brand mentions across various platforms, streamlining the monitoring process.
  • Sentiment Analysis: Advanced algorithms began to analyze the sentiment behind brand mentions, allowing for a deeper understanding of public perception.

Public Perception Takes Centre Stage:

Social media’s rise has made understanding public perception a crucial component of brand monitoring. Marketers now focus on:

  • Brand Advocacy and Influencers: Identifying brand advocates and key influencers can amplify positive messages and build brand trust.
  • Crisis Management: Promptly identifying and addressing negative sentiment online can mitigate potential damage to a brand’s reputation.
  • Competitive Benchmarking: Monitoring competitor mentions alongside their own brand allows marketers to track industry trends and identify potential areas for differentiation.

AI and Machine Learning Usher in a New Era:

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are revolutionizing brand monitoring:

  • Advanced Topic Modelling: AI can identify key themes and topics within brand conversations, offering deeper insights into audience concerns and interests.
  • Real-Time Insights: Machine learning allows for real-time analysis of brand mentions, enabling marketers to react quickly to evolving online conversations.
  • Predictive Analytics: By analyzing historical data, AI can predict potential brand sentiment shifts, allowing for proactive reputation management strategies.

The Future of Brand Monitoring: A Holistic Ecosystem

The future of brand monitoring promises a more holistic approach:

  • Integration with Marketing Automation Platforms: Seamless integration will allow for automated responses to positive mentions and targeted engagement strategies.
  • Visualisation and Reporting: Advanced dashboards will provide clear and actionable insights for marketers,enabling data-driven decision-making.
  • Focus on Customer Experience: By analyzing customer conversations across platforms, marketers can identify areas for improvement in the customer journey.

A Listening Post in the Digital Age:

Brand monitoring tools have become indispensable for UK digital marketing professionals in today’s dynamic online environment. By embracing the power of AI, machine learning, and data analysis, marketers can gain a 360-degree view of their brand’s online presence, fostering stronger customer relationships, mitigating crises, and ultimately, building brand loyalty in the ever-evolving digital world.

Are you searching for Brand Monitoring solutions for your organisation? The Digital Marketing Solutions Summit can help!

Photo by Slidebean on Unsplash

CALL FOR SPEAKERS! Are you an expert in online payments?

If you’re a marketing professional working in eCommerce and would like to share your knowledge, case studies and best practice with peers, then please get in touch – we have speaking opportunities upcoming at the Smarter Payments Summit this September.

This long-running and unique, invite-only event is attended by senior eCommerce professionals and leading suppliers, offering a great environment for networking and knowledge sharing within specialist seminar sessions.

Among the topics we’re looking for thought leadership on are risk, chargebacks, checkout trends, payments tech, fintech, AI and more.

The Smarter Payments Summit takes place on September 24th at the Radisson Blu Hotel Manchester Airport.

So, if you would like to deliver a talk sharing your experiences and knowledge with delegates, please contact Natasha Cobbold at or visit

FINAL CALL: Last chance to secure your place at the eCommerce Forum!

The eCommerce Forum provides an excellent chance to connect with innovative, budget-friendly suppliers for your upcoming eCommerce initiatives, network with industry peers, and stay updated on the latest industry trends and insights.

July 2nd 2024

Hilton London Canary Wharf

Your free pass grants you access to insightful seminars by top speakers, including Rachel Aldigheri, Managing Director of DMA UK, & ConversionWise, who will be presenting “Destination, Conversion: How to Turn Clicks into Customers.” Click here to request the full seminar programme.

Confirm your place via our online booking form – you have the option to attend for a full day or a half day, depending on your schedule.

If you’re unable to attend, could a colleague join in your place? Let us know their details, and we’ll forward the information to them.

The biggest digital marketing skill gaps in 2024

By Anjana Jayasena, Analytics Manager at Semetrical 

Today’s marketing world demands technical savvy like never before. Many of our clients face challenges in mastering key technical elements, such as smoothly implementing consent mode v2 and ensuring data flows seamlessly for actionable insights. With Analytics enquiries on the rise, it’s clear that businesses must prioritise bolstering their skills. It’s not just about staying ahead of the competition; it’s about empowering brands to make confident, data-driven decisions that drive real growth. Here are some of the biggest digital marketing skill gaps this year:

  1. Analytics 

According to MarketingWeek*, ‘Data and Analytics’ are the biggest skills gap faced by the marketingindustry in 2024, an issue currently experienced by over one third (36.9%) of brand-side marketers. This presents an increase from last year, where data skills were lacking in 34.4% of marketing teams, showing a widening of the gap.

The inability to effectively gather and analyse data is proving a significant barrier for brands and poses a serious area of concern for businesses. We’ve witnessed these challenges among our clients, increasingly so in the past year, with a much greater number of prospects coming to us with Analytics, specifically GA4 related enquiries. According to our Sales team, analytics issues currently make up the largest proportion of our enquiries!

  1. Performance Marketing

Interestingly, one of the most integral elements of Performance Marketing is the ability to analyse data. As such, it’s no surprise that Performance Marketing comes in second place after Data and Analytics.

While you don’t need to be a data wizz, it definitely helps to feel comfortable around large data sets in order to track and analyse the effectiveness of your campaigns and leverage data to deliver highly targeted campaigns too.

  1. Content

In 2024, 18.1% of marketing teams* report a skills gap when it comes to ‘Content and Copywriting’ skills. Providing augmented writing assistance and even content generation, generative AI was used by 76% of marketers** for basic content creation and copywriting in 2023, helping in some way to fill content gaps.

While it is debatable whether AI can be classified as a solution to replacing content skills, the general consensus among digital marketers – and Google – is absolutely not.

  1. Social media 

Surveys* show that 14.8% of marketing teams lack Social Media skills, which is particularly shocking given that 77%*** of businesses use Social Media as part of their marketing strategy

According to HubSpot****, the biggest challenges faced by marketers in Social Media include creating engaging content that generates leads, reaching their target audience, growing and retaining followers, as well as keeping up with trends and algorithm updates.

  1. E-commerce 

It is reported that 12.1%* of marketing teams are suffering from a lack of eCommerce skills, encompassing a variety of areas.

Much like Performance Marketing, eCommerce Marketing is heavily reliant on data skills in order to understand consumer behaviour, improve customer experience, track sales, and optimise strategies. Again, this reiterates just how critical analytical skills are in your marketing teams.





Photo by Elio Santos on Unsplash

Cash-strapped Gen Z wants brands to recognise social issues

Gen Z expect brands to demonstrate purpose beyond profit, even in the face of economic instability, as they report the highest concern (90%) of all generations about social issues, which has a clear impact on their purchase decisions.

That’s according to Dentsu’s 2024 Read the Room: Pursuing Happiness report, which finds that 75% of Gen Z are more likely to buy from brands that give a portion of their sales to charity and 70% say they prioritise brands that demonstrate emotional intelligence in their advertising – both findings are the highest of all generational cohorts.

The research also finds that Gen-Z donates the highest proportion of their salary (5%) to charity compared to other generations. That’s despite more than half (57%) of Gen Z reporting that they are extremely anxious about their finances in the immediate future. An additional 78% agreed they would be more likely to purchase from a brand that makes its products sustainably.

The research delves into the influences behind buying decisions across a wide range of generations and industries – from Boomers to Millennials to Gen Z – to give brands insights in consumer mindsets in 2024 and beyond.

It finds that Gen Z, those born between 1997 and 2012, view charitable donations and social activism as a core pillar of their personalities, with brand identity linked to personal value systems. Gen Z want to buy from brands that are actively doing good for society, not just through words, but through authentic action.

Even among Boomers, more than a quarter now prefer to buy from a brand exhibiting a strong sense of purpose. Consumers will ultimately move away from brands that fail to back up sustainability and social initiatives with evidence. Brands must gain deep knowledge of their customers’ value systems, and then communicate clearly how they are delivering on those values. In doing so, brands can create new consumer demand, unlocking new value in new spaces.

Angela Tangas, UK&I CEO dentsu, said: “In another economically challenging year, a people-centered   focus must be a priority for brand strategy and business growth. Our insights reaffirm that understanding both consumer and customer behaviours, anticipating their needs and creating new ways to meaningfully and authentically connect is critical. We can clearly see that consumers, especially Gen Z, expect more from brands in terms of environmental sustainability and social impact, at a time when technology is enabling new experiences and cultivating new behaviours. The demand for purpose means authenticity is paramount, which will be key to unlocking wins today and preparing for tomorrow.”

Photo by Zana Latif on Unsplash

Akinfenwa, ULEZ and Nationwide: Inside 5 of 2024’s banned adverts

Every year, plenty of brands find themselves in hot water over their ad campaigns. Whether it’s for making unsubstantiated claims in their adverts, inadvertently supporting harmful stereotypes or marketing age-restricted products in a way that’s appealing to underage viewers, there’s more than just one way to get your advert removed from the air.

In the UK, in the instance of financial adverts, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) regulate promotional material to make sure they comply with rules and treat customers fairly. Financial promotions must be fair, clear and not misleading regardless of the form the advertisement takes.

With the news that Dominic West’s Nationwide advert has been banned for making false claims, the experts at Anglo Scottish, one of the UK’s leading commercial finance companies, have taken a look at some of the banned adverts we love to hate.

Fourteen adverts across different media platforms have been banned since the turn of the year for various reasons. Here are five of 2024’s most high-profile banned adverts across radio, TV and print, and the reasons why they were banned…

Why are certain adverts banned?

The ASA is the UK’s regulator of advertising. They are responsible for administering the UK’s Advertising Codes, which are written by the Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP). The codes consist of the BCAP Code (The UK Code of Broadcast Advertising) and the CAP Code (The UK Code of Non-Broadcast Advertising).

These codes establish rules for advertisers, agencies and media owners to follow when promoting their product or offering. The ASA and CAP are jointly responsible for ensuring adverts conform to these codes.

LeoVegas’ BetUK advert

During a radio advert for online sports bookmaker BetUK, retired footballer Adebayo Akinfenwa stated he was a brand ambassador for the company.

A complaint lodged against LeoVegas suggested that it was not appropriate for the advert to promote gambling, as Akinfenwa was likely to be of strong appeal to those under 18 years of age. BetUK argued that a player of Akinfenwa’s profile was unlikely to appeal to the youth, given that he spent much of his playing career in Leagues One and Two.

However, the ASA established that Akinfenwa had an unusually large profile – he had become a cult hero on the basis of his ranking as the strongest player in the FIFA series of games. Following this, he was given the nickname ‘The Beast’ and became the subject of an Amazon Prime documentary.

An analysis of his social media following ensued, with at least 157,000 of his social media followers found to be aged under 18. Given the star’s platform amongst teenagers, the advert was deemed to be unsuitable for use by the ASA and was banned.

Mous’ Phone Case advert

Mous, the phone case manufacturer, also fell foul of UK advertising law this year. The brand’s TV advert depicted 50 people throwing their phones – with Mous cases on – into the air. After picking their phones up from the ground, these people assessed their phones to find no damage and the phone functioning as normal.

A complaint was made by a member of the public who felt this advert exaggerated the protective performance of a Mous case. Their phone had been damaged after a short fall, despite having a Mous case on.

Mous appealed that the advert had been put together based on real test data that the company had accrued over a series of intensive tests. The Mous team said the advert did not exaggerate but demonstrated a “genuine record of over 50 simultaneous drop tests.”

The watchdog, however, found that the advert had displayed people dropping their phones from a greater height than the drop test. It was also found that many of the phone’s features were not tested during the drop test. Mous therefore was asked to pull the advert in its current state.

John Mills Ltd.’s Hurricane Spin Scrubber advert

Another 2024 advert was removed from TV for perpetuating harmful gender stereotypes. This advert, which promoted John Mills Ltd. (JML) Direct’s Hurricane Spin Scrubber, showed women using the cleaning tool in bathrooms, kitchens and other areas of the home.

The advert featured four women who described their experience with the tool, with a male host and female assistant demonstrating the product.

Joint CAP and BCAP guidance states that ads “may feature people undertaking gender-stereotypical roles, such as women cleaning,” but the ads must take care to avoid suggesting that the acts shown were not: “always uniquely associated with one gender; the only option available to one gender; or never carried out or displayed by another gender.”

Watchdog guidance indicated that the ad’s male host – seen as an authoritative figure, and not demonstrated actually using the product in the home – reinforced the negative stereotype that the product’s intended use is suitable for women only.

Nationwide’s Branch Promise advert

In perhaps the most high-profile ad ban of the year, one version of Nationwide’s satirical TV, radio and print ad campaign, starring Dominic West, was removed by the ASA. The ad featured West as a representative of a fictional rival bank, which was prepared to close their in-person banks in order to cut costs.

The advert sought to differentiate Nationwide from the fictional bank, with the claim “Unlike the big banks, we’re not closing our branches.” It was this claim, however, that caused 228 complaints to be made, predominantly by customers who had recently experienced their local Nationwide branch closing or cutting opening hours.

Nationwide argued that its advert was intended to be forward-facing and fell in line with their ‘Branch Promise’ that they would not close any branches between the time of the ad airing and 2026.

However, the ASA ruled that the advert was misleading because, though Nationwide had closed fewer branches than any other financial institution in the ten years leading up to the campaign, it had still closed branches during that time. The ASA also stated that the advert implied a longer-term commitment to not closing branches than the actual Branch Promise provided.

As a result, this version of the campaign was removed from the public domain.

Greater London Authority’s ULEZ advert

A radio ad, heard on the air between February and March 2023, which promoted the expansion of London’s Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) was also removed from the air by watchdogs. The ad made a claim that “one of the most polluted places in London is inside your car,” leading to a number of complaints from members of the public.

A claim like this required plenty of supportive evidence, which the ASA extensively reviewed. The Greater London Authority (GLA) had pulled data from ten reports examining pollution levels, a video from The Guardian and King’s College London and the Chief Medical Officer’s 2022 report.

The ASA’s review of the evidence established that proximity to the source of pollution (in this case, the car exhaust) did increase exposure. It also confirmed that car users are exposed to air pollution while inside their vehicle and the fact that London’s air is generally polluted.

However, the evidence did not establish how polluted the air inside a car is in relation to other areas of London, meaning the claim that a car’s interior is one of “the most polluted places in London” could not be substantiated. The ad was therefore pulled.

Stuart Wilkie, Head of Commercial Finance at Anglo Scottish, commented: “Staying within advertising laws is easier said than done. The urge to stand out in a crowded marketplace often leads brands to rely on differential messaging, which can walk the line between legitimate and unfounded. Given how intricate and detailed the CAP and BCAP Codes are, it’s important that business leaders understand exactly how their messaging fits into the guidelines.”

Photo by Joshua Hoehne on Unsplash

Just 6 weeks to go until the eCommerce Forum – Register today!

This event provides an excellent chance to connect with innovative, budget-friendly suppliers for your upcoming eCommerce initiatives, network with industry peers, and stay updated on the latest industry trends and insights.

Your free pass grants you access to insightful seminars by top speakers, including Rachel Aldigheri, Managing Director of DMA UK, & ConversionWise, who will be presenting “Destination, Conversion: How to Turn Clicks into Customers.”

Click here to request the full seminar programme.

Confirm your place via our online booking form – you have the option to attend for a full day or a half day, depending on your schedule.

If you’re unable to attend, could a colleague join in your place?

If you specialise in Brand Monitoring solutions we want to hear from you!

Each month on Digital Marketing Briefing we’re shining the spotlight on different parts of the print and marketing sectors – and in June we’ll be focussing on Brand Monitoring solutions.

It’s all part of our ‘Recommended’ editorial feature, designed to help marketing industry professionals find the best products and services available today.

So, if you specialise in Brand Monitoring and would like to be included as part of this exciting new shop window, we’d love to hear from you – for more info, contact Kerry Naumburger on

June 2024 – Brand Monitoring
July 2024 – Web Analytic
Aug 2024 – Conversion Rate Optimisation
Sept 2024 – Digital Signage
Oct 2024 – Brochure Printing
Nov 2024 – Creative & Design
Dec 2024 – Online Strategy
Jan 2025 – Content Management
Feb 2025 – Lead Generation & Tracking
Mar 2025 – Email Marketing
April 2025 – Digital Printing
May 2024 – Social Media

Photo by Alexander Shatov on Unsplash

How to promote your online event

Corporate events are crucial for expanding your customer base and fortifying customer loyalty. Whether it’s a virtual webinar, an internal briefing, or a festive gathering, maximising the visibility of your events is paramount.

Understanding how you can promote your online events is the key to garnering more positive attention and increasing your audience reach.

Here are some tips on how to promote your online event…

  1. Implement SEO

Ensure you implement SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) when promoting your online event. Implementing SEO enhances its discoverability on search engines, driving increased traffic and participation.

By optimising event titles, descriptions, and keywords, you improve the likelihood of your event appearing prominently in relevant search results. The heightened visibility attracts a larger audience, boosting event attendance and engagement.

  1. Send Out Email Campaigns

Email campaigns are a critical tool for promoting online events, offering a direct and personalised approach to engage potential attendees. To ensure a successful email campaign, segment your audience based on interests and demographics for targeted messaging. Compelling subject lines are essential to capture attention and convey the value and urgency of attending the event.

Create engaging email content highlighting the event’s key benefits and speakers to entice participation. Integrate mobile optimisation to ensure seamless viewing across devices, maximising accessibility.

Personalise the email by addressing recipients by name and customising content based on past interactions, fostering a sense of connection. Finally, implement a follow-up strategy with reminder emails, updates, or post-event resources to maintain engagement and drive attendance.

  1. Create an Event Brochure

Utilise an event brochure when promoting an online event. The brochure should provide comprehensive information in an interactive format. It will serve as a centralised platform for detailing event agendas, key speakers, and registration links.

When creating an event brochure,  Integrate dynamic multimedia elements on your brochure to captivate audiences, foster excitement, and drive anticipation. Ensure the brochure is easily accessible online for easy sharing across various digital channels, amplifying reach and visibility.

  1. Build a Good Website

A well-built website is crucial for promoting an online event. It is where attendees can refer for information about the event and includes a link to register. The website will serve as a professional and credible platform to showcase event details and speakers, instilling confidence in potential attendees.

With intuitive navigation and responsive design, it ensures a seamless user experience across devices, encouraging them to register. Additionally, it facilitates SEO optimisation and integration with other promotional channels, maximising visibility and attracting a wider audience.

  1. Use Social Media

Social media is one of the most effective tools for promoting an online event due to its unparalleled reach and engagement potential. Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram enable direct interaction with target audiences, facilitating the dissemination of event details, updates, and engaging content.

Leveraging social media enhances visibility, encourages audience participation through likes, shares, and comments, and fosters community-building around the event. Additionally, it allows for targeted advertising and influencer collaborations, amplifying promotional efforts and driving registration and attendance.