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Is ROX the new ROI
Is ROX the new ROI?

In today’s digital environment, brands interact with customers across multiple touch points, on multiple channels and along unique journeys. In fact, customers are increasingly involved in helping co-create the brand experience when they share on social media. Traditional metrics, such as return on investment, no longer capture the variety and breadth of interactions created by today’s marketing activities. Instead, many marketers are turning to a new measure, return on experience (ROX), to better quantify the impact of their activities. 

What is Return on Experience (ROX)?

Metrics like return on investment consider revenues and costs, but don’t calculate intangibles created by storytelling, social sharing, event engagement or the multiple other touchpoints that may impact a customer’s purchasing decisions. As a result, too much attention on ROI may lead marketers to prioritize less effective tactics. How should you compare the return of a banner ad campaign to branded entertainment if you don’t also calculate the opportunity for social media sharing and customer interaction? 

PWC’s John Maxwell, who leads the company’s Global Consumer Marketing industry sector, wrote an article that discusses the importance of brand experiences. “To keep up with accelerating changes in consumer habits and to acknowledge customer importance, companies need to focus on — and measure — people’s experiences with their products and brands.” 

Consumer habits are constantly changing, and technology is evolving at high-speed rates; “a revolution in technology has created the devices and interfaces that allow people to interact with companies anywhere and anytime and has enabled customers to influence a global audience with their comments or “likes.” 

Meaning that traditional ROI metrics are no longer enough to determine the success of a company and their marketing initiatives. “Evaluating whether your value proposition, capabilities, and portfolio of products and services will create shareholder value requires laser focus on how well you’re meeting higher expectations around the customer experience.” 

With new technologies and services being added daily, company’s need to thoroughly understand the consumers’ purchase journey  and determine what the key touch points and factors are that drive experience. Upon doing so, a brand can determine where in the company needs to invest more.  

Brands need to move the needle on those interactions during the consumers purchase journey and yield measurable results or return on experience (ROX). 

ROX also needs to address whether the company is driving the behaviors in the organization that are key to designing and delivering better online and physical experiences.

Now of course that doesn’t mean that traditional ROI metrics are to be thrown out the window; however, companies need to focus on both ROI and ROX. For example, in  PWCs Global Consumer Insights Survey, they asked more than 21,000 consumers in 27 territories around the world what type of advertising they thought was the most influential. 

“About 35% said traditional TV advertising, the highest percentage among all the choices. This might seem like good news for the world’s biggest companies, because that’s where they still spend the bulk of their advertising dollars. But, dig a little deeper, and you’ll see the  desire for experience  staring us right in the face.” 

When looking at the millennials who have responded to the survey, it’s no surprise that they preferred social media advertisements that allowed them to have some type of interaction with the brand. “Although many companies partner with athletes and entertainers to market their products and services, respondents said that testimonials from real people who have authentic experience with a brand are more influential. Just 17% of survey respondents bought a product because of a celebrity endorsement, but 32 percent did so because of positive reviews on social media.” 

Understanding these statistics, it is evident that they are clear indicators of ROX and that, “investment into traditional advertising campaigns needs to be supplemented by enhancements to customer experiences along the purchasing journey.”    

Incorporate Emotion to Affect Brand and Business Positively

“Word of mouth has always been more valuable than advertising, but now there are billions of opportunities for word of mouth — through social reviews and sentiment — to make an impact.” – Matt Egol 

Don’t Cast a Wide Net

Global phenomenon Carmilla, produced in partnership with U by Kotex®, focused on reaching a tribe rather than a demo.  This approach allowed us to create content that resonated and spoke on a deeper level to this group. It also allowed this tribe to reach out to other members of the tribe and share the content. When people love your content and share, others will become interested and start watching it, too.

U by Kotex’s® branded web series Carmilla had such an incredible impact on its viewers, that they crowd-funded a movie.  Read the Case Study

This is ROX! Customers involved in the storytelling and creating an experience relevant to them while the brand gains consumer loyalty.


Maxwell ends off with this, “Consumers are focused more than ever on the attributes that make up the totality of their experience, it’s time for all types of companies to lose the ROI blinders and begin focusing more on ROX.” 

Find out how  Shaftesbury Branded can bring you a greater ROX and read John Maxwell’s full article  here.   

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Carmilla, Shaftesbury’s global digital phenomenon, recently received the Brand Content of the Yearaward from MIPTV. The award was presented at the MIPTV conference in Cannes, France on April 11, 2018.

Carmilla stars Elise Bauman and Natasha Negovanlis were on stage to accept the award, and were soon joined by Shaftesbury Chairman and CEO Christina Jennings and Shaftesbury SVP, Branded Entertainment Kaaren Whitney-Vernon for a panel discussion of all things Carmilla and branded content, hosted by Drew Baldwin, Founder of online video curation platform Tubefilter. U by Kotex® Global Sector Leader Fiona Tomlin also joined the discussion via pre-recorded video.

During the discussion, Elise and Natasha shared the history of Carmilla, and how it become a true transmedia brand and put branded entertainment on the map. Kaaren added that Carmilla’s origin really came from U by Kotex®’s desire to step away from traditional advertising to try and reach their target audience of young women.

“People don’t want to see ads,” Kaaren said, “but as brand managers, that’s been our go-to for years: we just create 30-second ads, we get our reach and we tell people how great our product is. We can’t do that anymore with young people.”

With Carmilla, the idea of entertaining an audience first instead of just telling them about a product was the goal: creating great characters and great stories and drawing people in instead of just pushing out product.

Christina added that Shaftesbury began developing the Carmilla concept as a throwback to sponsored soap operas from the 1960s, and the partnership with U by Kotex®, with their desire to be bold and different, made perfect sense.

Check out the full video for more including:

  • How Branded Entertainment delivers better, more qualified metrics, not just vanity metrics
  • How to develop brand awareness and recognition without product placement
  • Fiona’s five key takeaways for developing successful branded content

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At SXSW on Saturday night, Adweek honored the finest brand storytellers of the past year. The Arc Award winners represented brand names like Wendy’s, CNN and Land O’Lakes and lesser-known brands like Dutch confectionery company Tony’s Chocolonely.

During the event, Adweek caught up with the honorees to talk about what makes great storytelling and why it’s so important for brands to listen to their customers.

“Its really about understanding what your customer is looking for ,” said Kaaren. “and what the audience wants to hear”

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Shaftesbury SVP, Branded Entertainment Kaaren Whitney-Vernon recently appeared on Melinda Wittstock’s podcast, Wings of Inspired Business. Kaaren and Melinda spoke about networking and educating an audience on shifting their marketing approach.

Kaaren mentioned to Melinda that it’d been a “tough grind” to help people understand what branded was, and what it could do for them. The biggest challenge, she said, was ensuring that people really took the time to understand the branded entertainment approach, as well as the effort that it takes to do branded content right.

Asked to talk about advice for women entrepreneurs, Kaaren immediately pegged networking as the number one activity. “You’ve got to put your face in as many places as possible,” she said.

Give the podcast a listen to hear the rest of Kaaren’s advice including how you never know where your next—or first!—client might come from.

Listen to “87 Wings Of Advice: Kaaren Whitney Vernon” with Melinda Wittstock right here.

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