Guest article: How Brunner continues to innovate with the help of Roku
Note: This article originally appeared on the Roku website as a partner spotlight feature about Brunner. Republishing with permission.
The Pittsburgh-based marketing agency, Brunner (pronounced “Brew-ner”) has partnered with Roku to offer their clients access to Roku’s OneView, the ad platform built for TV streaming, to help performance marketer’s fuel growth through TV streaming ads. This partnership has helped Brunner deliver streaming success for their clients and redefine possibilities to achieve their awareness and conversion goals. The partnership has been so successful for their clients that Brunner is consolidating their spend from other large ad platforms into OneView.
Brunner is no stranger to being nimble with an eye towards innovation. Since 1989, Brunner has adapted their business model to stay in front of the consumer decision journey and meet the needs of their clients’ business goals. This has meant evolving from a small creative shop to a full-service marketing agency with a specific focus on developing their performance marketing services. As they saw consumer media consumption behaviors changing and the need to find a post-cookie solution, it only made sense to identify strategic partners, such as Roku as a next step in their evolution.
We sat down with Ryan Bopp, associate director of channel marketing at Brunner, and Rachel Rock, display manager, to talk about their partnership with Roku and what convinced them to make such a major commitment to OneView and Roku.
What makes Brunner special?
“I think it’s our willingness to grow and evolve as an agency.”
The team at Brunner works to remain adaptable to the ever-changing marketing ecosystem. They have a culture of experimentation that enables them to learn fast and evolve to keep up with developments in media. “Although our core focus is on understanding our client’s target audience and pairing those insights with the best channel mix to achieve their goals, we always leave room for innovation as it’s in our DNA to keep an eye towards what’s next,” Ryan explained. “We have teams focused on developing everything from virtual reality (VR) apps and non-fungible token (NFT) projects to customized data warehouses and client facing BI reporting systems. We’re always pushing the norm of what a marketing agency is, especially on the digital side. What makes us different and fuels our culture is our people, or what we like to call the A-Team. We cherry-pick from the bigger media firms and corporate organizations, focused on people who embody that hunger for change, intellectual curiosity, and a solution-oriented mindset. You can find technically skilled people who rest on their laurels anywhere, we strive to be better. Our clients deserve better.”
The agency has remained small deliberately—with fewer than 200 employees between two offices–to preserve an authentic culture built upon relationships, both professional and personal.
Why partner with Roku?
Evaluating a partner involves more than crunching numbers and ticking boxes. When Brunner looked at Roku as a potential partner, they found a media company with a commitment to innovation much like their own and a deep understanding of what their customers need and how to deliver it.
“There’s a very close, 1-to-1 comparison between who we are and what we stand for and what Roku is all about,” Ryan explains. “Performance is excellent and the platform is easy to use, which are phenomenal things, but more than that we feel like Roku invests in solutions before the need comes up. You anticipate our needs and that makes it feel like you’re a true partner of ours.”
Brunner needed a marketing solution for a post-cookie advertising model. Roku was right there with a solution—a direct consumer relationship, less reliant on cookies or mobile ad ids. This new approach empowered Brunner to evolve their performance marketing practice to meet this new advertising paradigm.
Ryan put it this way:
“Roku moves just as fast or faster than the marketplace, and that gives us the confidence to go to a client and say, ‘we have a great TV streaming partner, and they solved this issue for you’.”
“A perfect example: Roku had solutions for a cookie-less world when some people weren’t even talking about that future. Without naming names, we’ve worked with the dinosaurs of the DSP OTT CTV world. They’re producing the same thing they’ve been putting out for 10 years and presenting it as the solution for a different problem. Working with Roku has addressed that frustration.”
Another must-have for Brunner was ease of use and a hands-on customer success experience. Once again, they found a perfect fit with Roku.
“Roku has the most customer-centric reps we’ve ever worked with. Ease of use is a big deal for any agency. We are always looking for cutting edge platforms, but adoption is usually a problem because training can put an unneeded stress on media teams. When we found Roku, we had one person on it—Rachel. She was able to handle all the onboarding, learn all the ins-and-outs quickly, optimize the set up and then train everybody else.”
For Rachel, ease of use includes ease of testing. Being able to evaluate and quantify the effectiveness of new tools is a priority for her. Through her experience testing OneView, she not only validated its performance but got involved in Roku’s own beta tests and user experience (“UX”) iteration process to help make it even better.
“It’s our responsibility to test the viability of our client’s media mix, and with that it means testing the viability of the tools we use to manage the client’s business. We need to use the best tools available to us. With factors like the deprecation of the cookie, it becomes essential to seek out new tools. That was the origin of our conversation with Roku. There have been fresh challenges coming up every quarter since then, but with Roku it feels like we have a partner who shares a genuine interest in helping our clients succeed.”
“I personally have done several interviews with your UX teams, I’ve participated in every beta I’ve been able to, and that’s because you are genuinely interested in making this the most user-friendly DSP out there. The same just can’t be said for everybody else.”
How did you decide to invest so heavily in OneView?
“We were seeing better prices and better performance in OneView, so that was the starting point. We proved the performance first, and then we were able to add things on. Remarketing off of the view of a video ad in streaming TV to run a display ad. So then, we see performance drastically out-perform traditional display ads. At that point, it was time to talk about moving all our display ads over to OneView.”
Brunner found that OneView drove cross channel results, causing a 300% lift in paid search. The platform’s precise insights allowed his team to be specific about what was causing this cross-channel effect.
“It’s not just that OneView works, it’s that it’s easy to prove what works,” says Ryan. “It’s easy to prove in-platform but also in terms of your bottom line when you’re looking at your whole media mix model of what other channels and cross channels are affected by it. Streaming and linear TV are traditionally designated as awareness (channels) but we’re also seeing our branded paid search lift substantially (300%) by running an awareness campaign. At that point, is it awareness, or are you running a conversion campaign? And that’s what we’re able to do in the platform.”
How did you drive client success with OneView?
OneView gave Brunner an out-of-the-box TV streaming and cross-channel ad solution they were excited to take to clients. Rachel told us about how brands she worked with were able to adapt Roku’s Core 6 framework. OneView and the Core 6 framework helped Brunner deliver creative to match streaming customer’s viewing habits.
Cross-device capabilities made it possible to reach TV streaming audiences on any device they use, and incrementality testing–to evaluate how much each element of a campaign contributes to its overall results–proved these methods were delivering results for clients.
“When you’re talking first-party data, the ability to attribute site visits or other actions taken on a client’s site to OTT exposure is a massive, new opportunity. It’s one of the biggest reasons clients have been excited about running their media in OneView. For things like discovery commerce and consumer-focused identity, it’s a no-brainer that those have been excellent in terms of performance for us. Roku’s scale, first-party, third-party audience data segments, and household ID policy. These things make it that much easier to reach our audience.”
On top of that, the team can run incrementality testing and measure the success of the Core 6 framework for their clients.
“Brunner has increased spend in streaming 10x in OneView since we began working together, and that’s due to the results we’ve seen from implementing Core 6.”
3 Success Stories From Brunner and OneView
The Home Depot Rental
The Home Depot Rental saw 60% of its total rental contractor conversions last year come from non-obvious attributes that Brunner layered into their typical targeting.† Those were attributes they learned from their first TV streaming flight with in OneView.
Rachel explains, “The Home Depot Rental is opting for a full-funnel strategy this year. They’re going to prospect, lookalike, and remarket. They’re looking at interactive ad units and moving to an evergreen presence rather than just focusing on peak season. That’s been huge for them.”
Edgar Snyder & Associates
The personal injury law firm of Edgar Snyder & Associates was a pioneer user of traditional television to market legal services.
As Rachel told us, “Last year, we helped them through a massive shift, moving 30% of their budget to OTT. They have since seen a major increase in search brand-lift traffic, an average decrease of 65% in their cost per site action, and a decrease of 80% to their cost per site visit.”‡
That increase in search is having a positive impact on other marketing practices. They too will kick off a full-funnel strategy this year.
TV streaming led to 300% increase in search lift for Mitsubishi Electric.**
That lift was one of the first big streaming wins for Brunner and their clients. Those results have helped Ryan and his team prove the impact of streaming and sell it to new businesses.
† Roku Internal Case Study, Home Depot: Q2 2021 – Q2 2021
‡ Roku Internal Case Study, Edgar, Snyder, and Associates: Q3 2021 – Q1 2022
** Roku Internal Case Study, Mitsubishi: Q1 ‘2020