What makes brand attachment the most valuable metric to consider at UNC?

A Sit Down With JoAnn Sciarrino, UNC


JoAnn Sciarrino is Knight Chair, Digital Advertising and Marketing, at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the School of Media and Journalism. Prior to joining the University of North Carolina in 2012, Sciarrino was Executive Vice President of BBDO North America, where she advised global clients for more than a decade in brand science from research, analytics and modelling - most notably AT&T, Starbucks, FedEx and Hyatt. She and her team led measurement innovation within the agency, such as advertising claims substantiation, message mix modelling and measuring social media brand attachment. 

Sciarrino says herself that she is in love with the metric brand attachment. Having studied it for seven years, she told the audience at the Digital Marketing Innovation Summit in New York that she has never seen a metric with a stronger correlation to sales.

We sat down with JoAnn following her presentation to discuss the take aways from the talk and what she would like to see at events in the future.

Can you give us a brief overview of what your presentation was on?

While the theory of brand attachment has been widely studied, very little research has been done to study the number and breadth of digital interactions for those brands with strong brand attachment versus those with weak brand attachment. Moreover, determining if brand attachment has a mediating impact between loyalty (willingness to recommend) and digital interactions, as well as measuring the relative impact of specific digital interactions on brand attachment, can help marketers allocate resources and shape plans.

A quantitative study of fast food industry brands’ usage, digital interactions and brand attachment was undertaken. Ultimately, the results of this research suggest that that loyalty alone is not a significant predictor of digital interactions. Furthermore, social media interactions were seen as the highest contributor to brand attachment, proposing that a consumer with strong brand attachment will have a higher proclivity to follow a brand on social media and subsequently share and create branded content.

What was the one point you really wanted to audience to take on board from your talk?

Loyalty alone is not a predictor of digital interactions (and ultimately conversions). Marketers should strive for brand attachment---which has a strong, positive mediating impact on digital interactions.

Who gave your favourite presentation over the two-day event?

BuzzFeed & Vox!

What speakers / companies / themes would you like to see next year?

I'd love to have more on measurement, and in particular two themes in measurement: (1) measuring behavior and impact across screens; and (2) measuring revenue contribution and ROI impact from content marketing. For #1, ESPN is doing some fabulous work in cross-screen measurement. For #2, Marketing Attribution Partners are doing some wonderful work in designing new, innovative measurement in this space. 

Missed out on the Digital Marketing Innovation Summit 2016? Join us at the Chief Marketing Officer Summit in Seattle on May 25-26, or the Digital Marketing Innovation Summit in LA on September 7-8. 

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