Colgate Discusses the Latest on Brand & Performance Metrics

By Michael Berberich

Colgate Palmolive's Renee Milliaressis, chief media officer, and Patrick McGraw, director of global analytics integration, recently sat down with the ANA's Michael Berberich, senior director of content and marketing, to discuss their views on brand and performance metrics.

To learn about similar topics and dive deeper into measurement, check out our ANA Measurement & Accountability Committee, co-chaired by Milliaressis. Hear from industry experts, like McGraw and Milliaressis, who share valuable and actionable learnings on measurement, data, and analytics that will expand your skill set and impact your business.

Michael Berberich: How do marketers like you make the decision to focus on performance marketing versus brand building?

Patrick McGraw: We use a variety of tools to help guide us toward delivering on business results while also growing the brand. In terms of assessing what we should be doing more of what versus we should be doing less of, capabilities like marketing mix modeling are at the center of our decision-making process. This drives where to invest, not just from an ROI standpoint, but also from a brand performance perspective and how our brand is shaped and supported.

Renee Milliaressis: Agreed, it is really all about the objectives which are rooted in the challenges, almost always looking for growth. Those should really reflect where your brand sits in terms of its category, its lifecycle, etc.

Berberich: As technology advances and our mindsets expand, what are some of the newer KPIs you are focused on that are better connected to true brand growth?

Milliaressis: That's an interesting one. I would say there is a lot of attention, pun intended, being paid to attention metrics right now in the industry. Most marketers are exploring and trying to understand what dimensions of attention make sense for them.

Which is interesting because it's also coming at a time of change in the overall landscape. Premium digital video, streaming video, OTT and CTV are all rapidly growing and coming into their own. With those two things going on at the same time, I think better measurement against new versions of older media types will be the next wave of exploration.

Berberich: On that notion of newer KPIs, how are measurement methods evolving? Marketers today have access to so much data, but how do you decide where to place your focus?

McGraw: I think one thing that's kind of come back in vogue, frankly, has been developing a more holistic measurement picture. At some point, we realized that granularity and measuring everything was in fact only painting a partial picture of how people were thinking and behaving.

So, I think measurement has returned to holistic methods, which makes sure context is set to demonstrate how tactics and messaging are working together. Measurement that isn't purely fragmented or single stream, that has become fashionable again.

Renee and I sometimes joke, we've seen some of these things before. What's old is new again, right? I think that is a big part of the picture today.

Milliaressis: You're absolutely right. Another thing we're seeing, is that part of the appeal of the attention metrics is that they are a compound metric which might be more stable or durable over time, versus some of the more granular pixilated metrics that are just a little harder to hang your hat on.

Berberich: How do you assess investments to understand what is going to be effective in the short-term versus what is going to be effective in the long-term. And, how do you synergistically incorporate the two?

McGraw: For all our investments, it is highly important to assess what is going to be effective in the short-term and the long-term. How are we creating long-term impact and buying behavior in our in our markets? That applies to everything we do.

Milliaressis: We're hearing in the marketplace a lot of industry level discussions about branding. People are getting back to the power of brand, the value of brand, the ability for brand to give you pricing power, the opportunity for brand to improve all of your other metrics.

All of the work and charts around this show that when you do branding and conversion tactics together, you do better overall.

McGraw: Renee, I love the fact that you raise the connection between brand and pricing. It is so critical to connect brand strength to pricing, and the ability to gain price, capture price at purchase is so important.

Berberich: What are other things beyond pricing that help you measure brand health?

McGraw: In our modeling, we look at a variety of brand health related KPIs and metrics to understand how our marketing activities are impacting those. Moving those requires a deeper layer of modeling, second stage models, and things of the sort that help us tap into.

Milliaressis: For us, it also varies across brands and is often linked to where a brand is in its lifecycle. So, I would say there is not one set of brand health metrics necessarily. It is the art of strategy and understanding where you stand and what you need to leverage. It is knowing what objectives you need to set to grow that specific brand.

Berberich: Building on that, for a parent company like Colgate, what are the most important or most telling metrics and measurement strategies that you rely on across all brands, verticals, business models, etc.?

McGraw: One of them, especially for packaged goods, is penetration. Are we in more households this year than we were last year? Are we in more households than our competitor? We happen to be a ubiquitous franchise, which is a huge strength for us as a company, but being in a position to grow that buyer-base foundation and replenish natural churn and turnover in franchises is something we watch a lot.

Berberich: Is there anything else you want to mention that we didn't cover? Anything that maybe marketers aren't paying enough attention to or paying too much attention to?

Milliaressis: I would just go back to what I'm hearing. Every day, I'm reading and hearing more and more about the concepts that have carried. After being overwhelmed by the complexity of digital and the speed at which it travels through, I am seeing a resurgence and focus on what has typically been core marketing principles. It is like we said earlier, what is old is new again.

The views and opinions expressed are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the ANA or imply endorsement from the ANA.

Michael Berberich is a senior director of content and marketing at ANA.