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As consumers become more divisive, merchants are charged with curating unique and purposeful ad messaging. The “Advertising: Make a Lasting Impression” report released by market research firm Kantar Millward Brown explains that brands that strike harmony in communication, branding and entertainment will fare the best against multiplying, stiff competition.

Marketers armed with robust research on its target audience are able to accurately devise authentic messaging. “Emotional meaningfulness is about a brand being more liked by consumers than other brands, and emotional difference is about a brand behaving in a way that makes it seem more dynamic or progressive than other brands,” the report said. It recommends that marketers regard the full picture of its consumer — not just her shopping preferences — to inform new initiatives that are emotionally meaningful.

This requires that messages be succinct and impactful. The authors of the report note clandestine, subliminal messaging doesn’t go far with today’s distracted and multitasking consumer. The report said, “When developing ads based on an idea or feeling you want to communicate, make sure these can easily be grasped. An idea or impression has a better chance of landing and influencing what are often superficial future purchase decisions.” The more messages in an ad, the more convoluted the messaging, it noted.

Messages that contain a clear idea or feeling will deliver the most ROI, the report said. “An idea or impression has a better chance of landing and influencing what are often superficial future purchase decisions,” said the report. According to the firm’s global database, the top 25 percent of brands that succeeded in expressiveness benefited from the largest sales shifts.

Expression and messages based on a storyline stay with consumers longer, the report suggested, which later informs purchases. “Ads that use storytelling are more involving, more noticeable and more memorable, all of which contribute to sales,” the report said. “They are more likely to generate smiles; and we’ve seen that ads that make people show emotion on their face generate more short-term sales than ads that don’t.”

And though striking a chord with consumers will likely benefit sales, those that aren’t consistent with brand DNA will deliver the exact opposite results — especially with Millennials and Gen Z-ers.

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