Ryanair, P&G, Facebook: 5 things that mattered this week and why

From the ongoing PR disaster at Ryanair to Philips leading a review into the way it buys media, here are five of this week’s biggest marketing stories.

Ryanair brand shows strain after cancellation crisis

Let’s face it, Ryanair’s decision to cancel more than 2,000 flights, affecting some 315,00 passengers, has been an undisputed PR disaster.

And according to new YouGov BrandIndex data, the Irish airline’s brand health is now feeling the strain. Over the last two weeks, the period in which the crisis has played out in public, Ryanair’s consumer purchase intent has fallen 2.9 points to a score of 7.9 – a statistically significant decline.

Its consideration score, which is a calculation of how likely British consumers are to consider spending money with the brand, has suffered an even steeper drop, down 7.2 points to a score of 18.8. Ryanair is the only airline on a list of 28 brands to suffer a decline across these two metrics over the past week.

Ryanair’s discount positioning has helped it to differentiate in the airline space and even if its customer service scores poorly, the airline’s low prices have typically kept Brits coming back for more. However, even this discount positioning has taken a hit since news of the cancellation crisis spread.

Just two weeks ago its value score, which represents consumers’ perceptions of brands that offer good value and typically favours discounters, sat at 0.1 points. It is now at a much bleaker score of -16, which places Ryanair firmly bottom of a list of the UK’s 28 biggest airline brands.

These numbers are important as they show having a nonchalant attitude to customers – something Ryanair has pushed constantly in the past with its “we’re nice enough” mentality – can only go so far before there’s a backlash.

READ MORE: Ryanair’s key brand metrics nosedive following cancellation crisis

P&G makes advertising more accessible for blind and deaf consumers

Procter & Gamble says it has “overhauled” its advertising to become more inclusive to blind and deaf consumers.

The FMCG giant has introduced changes that include adding audio descriptions to ads, which sees an audio narrative placed on top of the content to describe what is being shown, and said “most” of its ads are now more suitable for blind people.

This move comes after Sam Latif, a blind special consultant of inclusive design, began working on inclusivity with P&G two years ago with the aim of ensuring the maximum number of people can consume its ads.

“Captioning is something P&G introduced 10 year ago, but only last year we decided to make our advertising more inclusive with audio descriptions that help two million British blind consumers enjoy our ads,” explained Latif.

“Last September was the first time I watched our Flash ad (see above), through which I could hear the song Flash by Queen. What you don’t know if you’re blind, is that it’s a dog singing that song. Only when I watched it with audio description did I really understand the ad and the humour of it. It completes the picture and makes it much more meaningful to people.”

It’s an important step by P&G to make its advertising more inclusive and one you’d hope other brands would follow.

READ MORE: P&G rethinks advertising to make it more accessible

Philips makes changes to the way it buys media

A shot from Philips’ new advertising campaign

P&G wasn’t the only major brand to “overhaul” its marketing this week, with Philips also announcing significant changes.

The consumer tech brand said it has reacted to the brand safety scandal by taking areas of media buying in-house. It has done this by placing its media agencies at the start of the creative process to push them to be “much more strategic”

A review, led by its global head of digital marketing and media Blake Cahill, has led to several notable changes. For example, Philips has brought all data management in-house, and now optimises its ad placements twice daily.

“No one is [giving] an extra billion euros of advertising dollars to us, so what we are spending has to be as efficient as possible. Whether it’s placement or click through, whatever the goal of a campaign is, we want best practices in-house,” Cahill explained.

Philips is also doing a lot of work around brand safety, an area that Cahill describes as “still so grey”. To increase transparency, Philips is reviewing its media buying on a market by market basis. For example, earlier this year it pulled its advertising from Dutch website Geenstijl after it published “inflammatory” content that clashed with its brand values.

The Phillips move is testament to a wider shift in the industry with brands becoming more and more accountable for their media spend to combat growing fears around ad fraud and brand safety.

READ MORE: Philips overhauls media buying to make it ‘much more strategic’

Half of marketers believe brand safety scandals affect brand affinity

The move by Philips comes the same week as a new report revealed the extent of how brand safety scandals can negatively impact a brand.

According to the CMO Council and Dow Jones, which surveyed 300 senior marketers, 78% said the Google brand safety scandal had hurt their brand’s reputation with 50% believing it had impacted brand affinity.

And 78% of the 300 senior marketers questioned believe that unintended associations with unsavoury content, images, topics, audiences or conversations will hurt their brand’s reputation, while 67% believe the adjacency could undermine brand qualities and values.

According to Liz Miller, SVP of the CMO Council, brands are taking on more responsibilities, with 50% developing new guidelines for agencies and networks and 34% taking steps to better track and monitor digital advertising internally.

“Brand marketers are looking at agency partners and saying this is your responsibility,” she said. “They still expect the efficient and effectiveness that programmatic has brought to the table but now they need to look at other options as well to make sure it is also safe and secure.”

The report reinforces the notion many marketers are now becoming more accountable and that can only be a good thing.

READ MORE: The brand safety fallout: Three in four marketers say brand reputation has taken a hit

Tech brands dominate world’s most powerful brand rankings

Facebook has climbed the ranks to become the world’s eighth most valuable brand, breaking into the top 10 for the first time. And according to Interbrand’s 18th annual Best Global Brands report, technology companies now account for 50% of the world’s 10 most power brands.

Consumer tech giant Apple secured the highest rank as the world’s most valuable brand for the fifth year running, while Google retained its second place for the fifth year in a row. The top 100 brands, meanwhile, have a combined total value of $1,872bn, an increase of 4.2% from 2016.

Apple’s brand value grew by 3% to $184.2bn, and Google’s brand value increased by 6% to $141.7bn. But it was Facebook that saw the biggest growth over the past year, with its value up 48%, followed by Amazon (29%), Adobe (19%), Adidas (17%) and Starbucks (16%).

“Half of the 10 brands at the top of the BGB 2017 list are in the technology sector. They have mastered creating experiences through technology that reinforce the value of the brand itself,” said Interbrand CEO Jez Frampton.

“For all 10 brands, nothing is invented for the sake of it. New innovations merge seamlessly into an ecosystem of other experiences, totally oriented around the brands themselves.”

READ MORE: Facebook enters the top 10 global brands for the first time