RTL Klub, Nokia, OTP Bank, Tesco and T-Mobile. These are the brands with the most loyal customers on the Hungarian market, according to a survey by advertising agency DDB Budapest Kft.
At the same time, the agency’s leaders say that while more and more research points to the importance of emotional ties between brands and customers, local advertisers still tend to overlook this factor.
“In the light of the survey’s findings, it’s quite sad that 60% of local consumers feel that ads ‘underrate their intellectual capabilities,’” said Renáta Varga, planning director of DDB. “This is a sign of advertisers trying to sell with blatant arguments and heaps of useless info, instead of focusing on brand building.”
In the research, conducted last year for the second time after 2002, a representative sample of 800 people were surveyed on their views and feelings toward 200 local and international brands.
“In several product categories, the connection between consumers and brands has been following a weakening pattern. This establishes a threat to the brands themselves,” Varga stressed. “The most apparent example is that of the FMCG market, where almost all brands have lost their appeal since 2002. Fewer people like, and fewer people consider themselves local consumers of certain brands.”
An important underlying factor is the spread of private labels – i.e. the self-marketed own brands of retail chains. Somewhat paradoxically, however, private labels also contribute to the weakening of the retail chain brands themselves.
“Nowadays, all retailers focus on price in their communication. Every chain is the cheapest, which does not really favor any of them in the long run. Not least because of the fact that supermarkets and hypermarkets can hardly compete with discount chains, such as Lidl, when it comes to pricing,” Varga opined.
She added that according to DDB’s survey, Tesco has the biggest “fan base” – or group of loyal customers – among retailers in Hungary.
As for financial services, OTP is, by a large margin, the brand of choice of Hungarian clients. T-Mobile leads in the telco sector, while Vodafone achieved the biggest improvement in its brand value compared to 2002.
“Vodafone’s local communication is the perfect example of efficient brand building, focusing on consumer ties,” observed Varga. “Vodafone has a straightforward message that consumers can relate to. The brand [of rival mobile firm] Pannon GSM, on the other hand, has been waning recently.”
DDB’s survey states that on the overall market, Nokia and commercial television network RTL Klub have the most devoted consumers. Some 90% of the total population admitted to liking RTL Klub, while 30% of these said the channel is their favorite.
Aside from building its own brand, RTL Klub is also now interested in the success of educational television network the Discovery Channel, after RTL’s subsidiary R-Time Sales & Marketing Kft was commissioned to sell ad time for the channel’s Hungarian feed.
“The independent Hungarian feed of Discovery was launched on March 1. The ‘independent’ nature of the feed means that the local program is broadcast via satellite independent of the CEE region’s other Discovery feeds,” explained Katarzyna Kieli, regional manager and vice president of Discovery Networks Europe. “This enables the customization of the local programming to the country’s specific demand pattern, and also for the program to reach viewers dubbed entirely into Hungarian.”
Perhaps even more importantly, advertisers can also now take advantage of the local Discovery. According to Klaudiusz Gomerski, Discovery’s regional marketing manager, the channel primarily counts on the advertising of car manufacturers, telecoms and financial service providers.
Kieli did not wish to disclose the value of the Hungarian investment, nor the expected ad revenues.
“Last year, we managed to hugely improve our Hungarian penetration,” she stated. “While [rival educational channel] Spektrum TV is available in more households than Discovery, figures of [TV market researcher] AGB Hungary Kft reveal that in some periods of last year, Discovery was the most viewed factual TV channel in Hungary.”
Spektrum TV, a member of the HBO group, is available in 1.7 million Hungarian households.
Discovery Networks Europe is owned by U.S.-based Discovery Communications Inc.
R-Time is also selling ad time on behalf of RTL Klub, Cool TV, Film+, Sport1 and Sport2, A+ and Hálózat TV.
Rival nationwide commercial channel TV2, on the other hand, acts as an agent for Írisz TV, Club and Spektrum, marketing their ad time.
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