Editor’s note: Margaret H. Blair is president of rsc The Quality Measurement Company, an Evansville, Ind., research firm. Hans-Willi Schroiff is vice president market research/business intelligence at Henkel KgaA, Dusseldorf, Germany.

This article will review the empirical evidence which demonstrates that there is no such thing as brand building for tomorrow, without brand building and sales today.

1. Brand-building: advertising that results in a brand’s market performance (that is, sales) at some point in time.

2. Today: business results or sales occurring some time between seven days and six months after exposure to the advertising stimulus.

3. Tomorrow: market outcomes occurring at some time after that, from six months to five or more years after exposure to the advertising.

4. Awareness and recall: poor predictors of advertising’s impact on market performance.

In numerous industry studies, recall has repeatedly failed to show a strong causal relationship to sales or share. In his 1982 Journal of Advertising Research article, Harold Ross concluded that “recall is a very poor measure of a commercial’s effect on consumer purchase.” A year later, Larry Gibson (1983) found that “the evidence for the validity of recall is - to be charitable - ‘checkered.’” In 1989, one of the top five global advertisers concluded from its studies that “related recall has no proven relationship to business measures.”

In his review of the “How Advertising Works” study, Josh McQueen (1991) stated: “Did the recall wins match the in-market results? No. In 10 of the 16 results the answer was no. Less than flipping a coin.” Finally, in a 1994 JAR article, The ARS Group stated: “Recall’s track record is not much better than the 50/50 toss of a coin at identifying sales-effective advertising” (Blair et al., 1994).

Henkel has also observed the poor predictability of awareness measures. Exhib...