4 Minutes of Brand Validation – Attest Performance Brand

Published by Danny Denhard on

Attest The Performance Brand - Danny Denhard

Attest launched their Brand Performance book this week, it’s a great snackable guide to thinking like a performance marketer and applying to brand marketing.

Attest asked me to be part of the validate chapter, the TLDR validate is where you validate your idea with data and use test, learn, and iterate to refrain your brand or brand offering.


This week we ran a virtual launch party (yes it’s 2020 we did it virtually) and each author ran through and provided a teaser of their chapter. I had four minutes to introduce radio ads and my wider recommendation of audio as a pillar of you marketing plan in 2021.


It’s well worth reading my chapter’s co-author Anna Brook‘s section on how she applied this thinking to paws.com and why it was so important to their success.



My Chapters Background: Radio Ads

  • My section is focused around using an “old channel” in radio to validate our idea and build out a stronger brand presence
  • Why? We (JustGiving) needed to increase awareness of crowdfunding (aka peer to peer crowdfunding so that means money to friends, family, and community over charity) as a newer product offering for JustGiving
  • At the time JustGiving had 16-17 years history in the charity fundraising space (known for running a marathon, swimming or giving up drink for charities to receive the money) but not clearly in the crowdfunding space
  • It is hard to shift a long-serving brand product without a larger, further-reaching campaign on a broader network vs always-on campaigns that rely on keywords and knowing about a product or service.

Why Is Validate So Important?

  • Firstly it is essential to remember: Validation is an essential step to any marketing plan, whether you choose to use the insights or data or not.
  • Validation often allows you to fight battles you were not confident you could compete in, let alone battles you need to win
  • In many organisations if you do not get the results you hoped for at the first time – marketing tends to stop work on that campaign, this goes against what Marketing is and should be, allow validate to help you with this
  • For me Marketing is a test and learn discipline, you rarely get a big win the first time, this is what a performance brand and why the performance book is going to be useful.
  • Anna’s example is a great example because they revisited dogs mums a few times to get closer, more refined, and rolled out a powerful brand campaign that the customers wanted and the brand were happy with and aligned with their mission.

A Chapter Teaser… Why Radio?

  • Over 20 million people in the UK listen to the radio daily
    • RAJAR data (worth a read here) will really help you understand the size, reach, and the stations that are powerful
  • Radio enables you to:
    Target the right people at ‘pivotable moments’ (driving, listening to while making dinner, in the shower etc) to take them from: 
    Need state (need to do something about x but can’t decide which or what platform) ➡️ action state (I have to take the action and create a page and raise money).
  • We leveraged national radio ads to target our core demographics in need state (need to do something about a situation that is close to me) to tip them into action state (I have to take action about this problem)
  • We had the opportunity to test multiple ads but doing the research and trusting our partners’ data and having confidence in our idea, we ran in multiple slots we optimised for and targeted
  • The ad was finely tuned (the chapter really breaks down the campaign), we were supplied data and slots and we saw a very successful campaign. Based on data, trust, confidence.
  • It really did work, this was my favourite campaign and I would always look to target radio as an alternative channel to big bang campaigns
  • You could ignore & not run the validate phase, the campaign or idea can still work BUT chances are you wouldn’t have been signed off by 99.9% of company’s leadership teams or an ROI focused CMO
  • The famous example who ignored validate (or went against it) was Red Bull.
    • Red Bull actively ignored all data point and launched and starting a new category disrupted the fizzy drink industry and create (a new) energy drink category.
    • I would say in 2021 this would be thrown out of the meeting and the board rooms instantly. Let’s say this is where validate could make and break concepts and ideas

Remember in most businesses the CFO is the decision maker…
Data is the CFO’s favourite currency, they like to pair it with ROI and ROAS”

Two Motto’s To Help Guide You

I have two sayings:
  1. Always be marketing, Always be auditing

This is a motto that I have applied for years, as you always need to market but you need to committed to finding and discovering the best marketing via data and validation.

Validating what you do falls into marketing and auditing. At any point, you should be able to revisit and refresh your approach. Use this approach to keep you on track and enable you to demonstrate to senior leaders this is really well optimised and thought through thoroughly.


2. Head, Heart, Gut (Marketers)

Head, heart, gut is another one of my saying that applies to stress testing and pushing out marketing or growth campaigns,

🧠 Head is the data driven approach, the modern day marketing approach. Often marketers have relied heavily on the head.
Why? The data is there = you execute that tactic, campaign, or channel, it is almost too obvious to do that action or not to do it.

💖 Heart is the data isn’t definitely supporting it (say 70% there) but I am going to put my all into this and it will work by being creative, working on the area’s that didn’t show up in the data or the numbers, and work channels harder and smarter. Hand crank.

💪 Gut, my gut is saying just because there isn’t data we are going to prove it wrong and will put everything in it to make it work and deliver something unbelievable, this is the campaigns people love to work on and I believe wins awards.

Of course, data and insight is core to stress testing but when the data isn’t quite there or you don’t quite get the results, here is a process to think about:


Review it ➡️ audit it ➡️ tweak it ➡️ go again and ➡️ go harder,


That gut reaction is often the best signal and power that drives you in your career and makes something successful.


A Bigger Concept To Takeaway


🎧 Audio Is A Pillar Of A Performance Brand 🎙

  • “Audio” has always been an underrated medium.
  • From Radio ➡️ to more modern-day Podcasts ➡️ to the much-discussed less evolved than expected voice search and voice assistant space.
  • Audio will continue to be an essential part of the performance brand, especially gaining trust in the validate section.
  • Remember: in almost all businesses in 2020/2021 Marketing budgets and spends are going to go to what you have most certainty in working, so validate is going to be essential
  • Why Audio as a category?
    • Think more than just radio, be inspired by:
      • Podcasts
      • Radio
      • Audiobook
      • Voice Notes
      • Voice Search
      • Voice Assistants
      • & Music
    • All of these channels and the majority of learnings still apply to audio
  • The connection to audio is well documented and well worth leveraging:
    • Easy to remember (repetition is marketing’s 101)
    • An additional connection to the hosts
      • Guest reads are deliberate and highly demanded
    • You feel like you know the host and their personality
    • Audio is habitual, it’s one of the strong habits we have, from background music, to podcasts on our walks, to listening to our favourite DJ on a station

If you have any questions about performance brands and why radio works, drop me an email, DM on LinkedIn or DM on Twitter.

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