Imagine scaling 2,000+ brands across hundreds of digital platforms while trying to keep advertising consistent, efficient, and effective.
Nestlé is the world’s largest food and beverage company. For the last 50 years, they produced television-first advertising, All of their marketing practices were based around linear TV. In the past few years, however, they’ve overseen a digital transformation. Now, over 50% of their marketing budget is spent on digital, and that percentage is rising every year. It was time for Nestlé to modernize their marketing.
Faced with a monumental challenge, Nestlé turned to something reliable and scalable: data-backed, standardized creative best practices.
When it comes to scaling a brand today, whether big or small, haphazard creative guidelines don’t cut it. Without data and automation to back them up, marketers struggle to know if their brands - and their creatives - are complying with their brand guidelines. Worse yet, they don’t even know if those guidelines are actually effective in helping achieve their goals.
Top companies of today are finding a better way to complete their scaling and digital transformation without the massive risk: they’re using data to develop standardized creative best practices they can confidently and automatically ensure all of their brands, partners, and agencies follow on every single creative execution.
With participation in more 186 markets and upwards of 2,000+ brands to coordinate, not many companies are as intimidating to scale new advertising practices as Nestlé. Yet that’s exactly what Nestlé’s Global CMO Aude Gandon was facing, in order to update Nestlé’s marketing for the new realities of a digital-first world.
“For the past 50 years, we were really TV-first,” Nestlé Global CMO Aude Gandon explained. “And now we have to change our practices to reflect the reality that over 50% of our marketing investment is in digital—and that’s accelerating. So the idea was to be digital-first and audience-first.”
Gandon overcame this daunting scaling challenge by working with CreativeX to design and disseminate standardized creative best practices.
Gandon and CreativeX identified nine simple “creative hygiene” best practices by examining commonalities between thousands of Nestlé’s top performing creative ads. These best practices were entered into an AI platform that would automatically crosscheck each subsequent creative execution—across all 2,000+ brands—and assign it a Creative Quality Score based on how well it complied with these defined, measurable hygiene factors. The hypothesis was: the higher the score, the more efficient and effective the media spend.
Nestlé quickly proved this hypothesis correct: “We got the data back, and Nestlé ads with the higher Creative Quality Score scored 66% higher on the ROAS (return on ad spend),” Gandon shared. “It’s pretty dramatic the impact it has. It has rallied the entire marketing organization behind one goal.”
Mondelēz coordinates over 70 global brands, including signature products like Oreo. To do that, they work with creative partners all over the world. Historically, it has proven difficult for Mondelēz to ensure all of these creative partners were working off of a single, standardized set of brand guidelines.
“Everything we’re doing with [the new standardized creative best practices], we could do before with our digital partners, but it was done manually,” Global Digital Senior Manager Laetitia Lacour explained. “What these new practices enable for us is to scale.”
Mondelēz worked with CreativeX technology to develop nine creative guidelines proven by hard data to maximize the effectiveness of their creative across brands. Then, they plugged each and every one of their creative partners into the tool, so it could automatically verify compliance with these nine guidelines, assigning a Creative Quality Score (CQS), and help determine campaign effectiveness before launch.
“It’s very important for us that our creative partners and agencies use the creative best practices provided by CreativeX,” Modelez said. “CreativeX is a tool that’s fully embedded into our creative excellence ecosystem. We can use it to evaluate effectiveness before we even launch the campaign. We’ve managed to accelerate our creative excellence rate [CQS] by 55 percent.”
Heineken is 150 years old, and their branding has always been a major differentiator. However, these days they operate in more than 190 markets with more than 300 brands under their name. Even though they still had a handle on the core elements of advertising that worked for them, they were increasingly unable to actually measure the success of that work, much less keep it consistently excellent across all sub-brands and product lines.
“There was no real way to measure at scale and drive accountability at scale,” Global Smart Creative Lead Bram Reukers explained. “We sort of knew what would drive success, but finding a way to measure it at scale, all look at the same data, and drive that accountability was the key problem we wanted to solve.”
Without that accountability, as Heineken Global CMI Manager of Communication Effective Sander Bosch added, “We hadn’t fully been able to embed that thinking and that knowledge across the full business at scale for all of our brands.”
Heineken used CreativeX technology to analyze hundreds of Heineken’s image and video elements across 190 previous campaigns, looking for 15 key creative elements Heineken’s experts identified as the best signifiers of creative quality.
From this performance data, Heineken was able to derive four creative hygiene best practices, which they could then automatically disseminate across brands via CreativeX, to ensure all creative produced by all brands was compliant with these now-standardized creative best practices.
“Since the launch and implementation of our four key hygiene factors, our creative effectiveness score rose by 50%,” explained Reukers. “And knowing that each of those factors are major drivers of business impact, I’d almost leave it to the audience to calculate what that means for their business. It’s been a big impact on our end.”
These big brands aren’t the only ones who can standardize their creative best practices to grow and scale without fear of sacrificing effectiveness.
This is a multi-part, weekly series exploring — through data — how marketers can deliver brand consistency and some common pitfalls to watch out for.
Part one spotlights data on the value of brand consistency, part two explores the science of brand consistency, part three explores the value of Distinctive Brand Assets, part four unpacks how to develop brand consistency, part five highlights why brands are adopting Creative Quality, part six looks at brand alignment, part seven breaks down the importance of scale, part eight reveals how brands are managing scaling challenges, part nine looks at how brands are scaling their marketing efforts.