Advertising: Is Your Industry Getting It Right?

26 March 2021

You’ll know from our previous SBBlogs the importance of getting your brand imagery right. In this blog, we discuss the secret to truly engaging with your audience, which ultimately lies in ensuring your visual and verbal identity are consistent across your whole brand.


Marketers are constantly looking for the best ways to connect and engage with their audiences. Effective brand management requires ultimate brand consistency across all facets of a business. How can we ensure we're getting it right? Testing imagery against a brand's core values allows us to gain a deeper understand of campaign effectiveness, emotional and visual potency and consumer's intent to purchase. When a brand begins to ensure it has a consistent visual and verbal identity, they will increase brand trust and loyalty and ultimate boost overall ROI and success.


For the purpose of our industry-wide benchmark study, the Perception Index®, we measured image perception against key marketing values/KPIs, in order to deepen our understanding of how campaign imagery aligns with the brand message and if brands were successfully evoking the desired emotional response.

During our initial research it became obvious that while most marketing targets are the same across most industries, there are some sectors that value certain perceptions over others. To keep the PI study plan as consistent as possible, the insights team chose to have 5 key values measured, including 1 specific to each sector. This what we refer to as the sector value. 

Sector values are marketing metrics, specific to each industry, that we can measure to understand campaign effectiveness. So what sector values did we measure and how can we ensure brands are staying in line with them? Let's break down our findings…


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Industry Insights



As an industry, Automotive brands are constantly launching the latest and greatest in design and technology - vehicle performance being a definitive goal, driven by customer desire, competition and technological advancements. Therefore, the auto sector value is high performance. Our research showed this was a key automotive value across campaign and brand messaging. As the SUV is the most popular car model, our PI focused around the perception of performance for these models.

Insights: Overall, our findings concluded that the imagery tested has a very weak association with high performance - driven by younger audiences (under 40s) having a relatively low perception of high performance.


EI Blog - PI Auto



For the Cosmetics industry there is no denying that being trusted is integral to brand success. This has become one of the key factors in driving consumer decisions, as consumers look for increased transparency in brand's ingredients, hygiene, testing and supply chains.

Insights: The Cosmetics imagery ranks #1 across the whole study, including trusted - this is driven by respondents having relatively strong associations, across all metrics, with the product shots. As the Cosmetics industry has invested so much in building trust with their target audience, this is a very positive result.


EI Blog - PI Cosmetics




For Fragrances, all the campaign messages were aimed at increasing femininity across their targeted audience. This allowed us to define the sector value as feminine.

Insights: Unsurprisingly, both men and women perceive this sector as feminine. As image creators, this is a fascinating finding as it allows us to look at the composition, colour and messaging on these images and identify what is stylistically more feminine or masculine.


EI Blog - PI Fragrance



In the Watches sector, we selected bestsellers and latest launched timepieces. This is a sector that relies heavily on celebrity endorsements and is powered by sporting or transport partnerships to deliver campaigns showing desirable lifestyles as its USP. Most of these collaborations and brand messages focus on high performance as the core message.

Insights: Despite Watches scoring high for distinctive imagery, the product shots are seen as the least premium quality imagery across the whole benchmark. This is a concern for this sector that advertises high quality, luxury goods and high end prices.

EI Blog - PI Watches




In the Beverage sector, there is a generally a correlation between alcoholic drinks and gendered marketing. Traditionally, alcohol brands are generally tailored more towards men than women, e.g. Jameson’s and The Famous Grouse have a predominantly male customer base. However in more recent years there has been an attempt by these types of brands to shift their consumer bases to include women.[1] This is why the sector value we tested for the Beverages sector was feminine.

Insights: Our findings however, showed a very low perception of feminine - even though more beverage brands are trying to engage more women, they are not achieving this yet.
We also tested non-alcoholic beverage brands, e.g. Innocent Smoothies and Robinsons, which had less gendered imagery. These brands did score higher for feminine, but despite this the sector as a whole fails to achieve feminine. Perhaps alcoholic beverage brands can learn from non-alcoholic brands’ image styles to engage more women.

EI Blog - PI Beverage


Media Spend Insights

We are also able to understand the impact of different image styles on different metrics, meaning we are able to tailor your creative choices to whichever metric your brand is looking to drive. We tested the types below in each sector.


Brochure image Creative background Product shot
Brochure Shot Creative Shot Product Shot


In conclusion, it is key to define your sector values and tailor your campaign imagery to this in order to successfully engage your audience. Whilst there are specific marketing metrics which are applicable to every campaign regardless of sector or location, such as appearing distinctive and progressive, brands need to have a deeper understanding of what their customers expect from their sector, products and subsequently their creative, and measure specifically against that. 

This gives your brand a distinct advantage amongst direct competitors and has been shown to help drive other key metrics across marketing, such as brand trust, which ultimately can drive towards campaign success.


Through the power of neuroscience, we are able to show which campaigns succeed in different industry sectors and why, and it doesn't stop there - we can conduct competitor research, brand building testing and use Engagement Insights® during campaign production. Whatever your challenge, our insights team will tailor a study plan perfect for you. 

Find out how we can elevate your brand's visual identity.

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All results in this blog come from the Saddington Baynes Perception Index®. A benchmark ranking 50 brands across 5 sectors including: Automotive, Fragrance, Cosmetics, Beverage and Watches, giving brands across the world previously hidden insights about the campaign and image effectiveness. We are keen to share more detailed insights with you around this concept so get in touch with Callum, Head of Insights, for more information. 

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