Industry Updates

Brands Doing Their Digital Best

29 Mar 2012

Brand Keys’ Digital Platform GPS Unveiled At The 4A's Annual Conference

Advertisers Can Identify Intersection of Brand Strategy on Top Digital Platforms

MLB, Ford, Apple, Coke, Call of Duty, McDonalds, and Facebook among Brands Doing Their Digital Best

The American Association of Advertising Agencies (4As) has chosen Brand Keys, the New York-based brand and customer loyalty and engagement consultancy (, to debut its Digital Platform GPS (DP/GPS) to the advertising industry at the 4As Transformation conference, in Los Angeles today.

The DP/GPS represents groundbreaking research that for the first time links brand strategy with digital platforms to provide brands the ability to match marketing strategy and web platforms in their categories.

“Advertising effectiveness is being stress-tested by proliferating digital options and tighter media budgets,” noted Amy Shea, Brand Keys executive vice president, global brand development, Brand Keys.

“Marketers are struggling to identify the intersection of consumer engagement with their brands in the digital space. All brand stewards recognize the need to market in digital, but what they should do remains largely enigmatic.”

“As pervasive as digital media is, surprisingly there was no single source that identified how various digital platforms engage,” said Shea. “Brand Keys sorted the top 500 digital platforms by usage into 14 specific categories, which describe how people actually behave in the digital space."

Brands Best at Digital
Among the 598 brands and 14 digital platforms examined, the following brands were identified as having the greatest consumer impact on these specific digital platforms:

Blogs: Major League Baseball and Netflix
Brand’s Own Website: Macy’s and
Browsing Portals: Samsung (Flat-Screen TVs) and Inter-Continental Hotels
Classified: Hyundai, FORD and Southwest Airlines
Digital Magazines: Home Depot and Clinique
Digital Newspapers: Expedia and Vanguard Mutual Funds
Email: AT&T and Costco
Gaming: Coors and Patron Tequila
Mobile Apps: Apple (iPhone) and Facebook
Music: Coke and Diet Coke
Online Video: Kindle and Call of Duty
Search: Hilton Hotels and Walmart
Shopping Portals: Sketchers and Abercrombie & Fitch
Social Networks: Coke and McDonald’s

The 14 digital platforms surveyed
Blogs, Brand’s Website, Browsing Portals (I.E. Yahoo), Classified, Digital Magazines, Digital Newspapers Email, Gaming, Mobile Apps, Music, Online Video, Search, Shopping Portals (Like Amazon), and Social Networks.

"CMOs recognize there is no one-size-fits-all approach to digital communication but what’s really fascinating when we look at specific findings we see how digital communication platforms are category-dependent, and exactly where each digital platform intersects with the drivers of consumer behavior,” noted Shea.

“Armed with this knowledge, brands, for the first time, can communicate in digital space with an understanding of what strategy to use – what to do and what to say.”

“There are amazing differences in digital dynamics when you also look at consumer involvement through a category lens,” said Shea. "Consumers with top 20% digital category involvement see the world very differently. What they expect brands to deliver on those platforms is vastly different and that knowledge can impact branding and messaging success.

We’re calling consumers in that top 20% of digital category involvement ‘Higitals’ but the way digital marketing and adoption is accelerating, when it comes to brand strategy you might as well call them ‘the future,’” added Shea.

The Brand Keys Digital Platform Engagement Index survey comprises 49,000 customer interviews, M/F, 18-65 years of age, drawn from the nine US Census regions.

Respondents self-classified for category and brand participation in 83 categories with 598 brands, and reported time spent weekly on any or all of the set of 14 digital platforms.

Results are generalizable at the 95% confidence level using a methodology that has been independently validated. The DPEI provides a unique perspective on digital usage, platforms, category, and brand, and offers marketers the following:

  1. Category-specific identification of ranges of Digital Involvement, i.e., time spent weekly on any/all of a set of digital platform archetypes (Social media networking, blogs, mobile apps, etc.).

  2. The ranking of each digital platform in each category, based on the percent-contribution the platforms make to engagement and loyalty, offering a hierarchy that can finally inform where to best allocate resources in the digital space;

  3. Exactly how those digital platforms connect with the emotional and rational drivers of consumer decision making in each category, allowing advertisers to customize content when using those digital platforms.

  4. How consumers with high-digital involvement see each category versus the general population to help steer brands into a digitally-pervasive future;

  5. Identification of electronic devices providing the “best” interaction with each of the digital platforms for each category.

Contact: VISIBILITY – Len Stein: Mobile: 914 527 3708 /