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Even if you’ve never stepped foot in Las Vegas, chances are you have heard of Caesars Palace, the hotel and casino that has served as a backdrop for Oscar-winning movies and popular TV series.   

Most marketers would do anything for that level of brand awareness. But as parent company Caesars Entertainment realized, just because someone has heard of your brand doesn’t mean they’ll become a paying customer. Sometimes, to achieve that, a brand also has to shift audience perception.

The business took a multifaceted approach to its challenge. Caesars renovated rooms, reinvested in entertainment, and dreamed up an innovative video ad campaign to help tell the story. The ad campaign centered around personalized messages tailored to its audience’s interests.

By using this approach, Caesars Entertainment drove a 15% increase in brand favorability and a 200% increase in search lift among its target audience.1 Here are three steps the team took that other marketers looking to shift brand perception can emulate.

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1. Understand how people really see your brand

The first step in any attempt to change how your brand is perceived has to be understanding how people currently view it. To do this, Caesars Entertainment used Google Consumer Surveys and User Explorer to collect feedback from its target demographic.

By asking questions like “Which Las Vegas resort would you describe as most modern?” the brand learned that millennials and Gen Zers were having trouble seeing Caesars Palace for what it really was.

The results of the survey also helped the team gain a deeper understanding of its core demographic, including their interests and passions.

2. Align your brand with audience passion points

The next step involved connecting its audience’s passion points to its brand. To do this, the marketing team conceived a video campaign anchored around travel, food, sports, and music. The ads showcased all the amazing things guests can do at Caesars Palace — from fine dining to entertainment — using #LikeACaesar as a rallying cry to potential customers.

Using YouTube Director Mix, a tool that enables mass customization of a single creative asset, the team created a 30-second video asset with a brand message that could be easily customized to appeal to different audience interests with a simple copy change.

The result was more than 150 variations of the messaging. For example, several versions of the creative capitalized on trending topics and relevant upcoming events, such as Coachella and the NHL Stanley Cup.

3. Break through with a timely, personalized message

With hundreds of creative variations in place, Caesars Entertainment built a media plan to ensure that each message reached its intended audience. For example, the team used affinity audiences to reach people who had demonstrated an interest in nightlife or were foodies, and served them up a related ad. They also used custom affinity audiences to find people who had recently searched for relevant event-related keywords, like the Country Music Awards, Coachella, and the Stanley Cup Finals.

Caesars drove an impressive 60% view-through rate, well above the travel category benchmark of 42%.

By serving skippable TrueView ads to users with whom the message had a good chance of resonating, Caesars drove an impressive 60% view-through rate, well above the travel category benchmark of 42%.3 All in all, the video ads generated 11 million minutes of watch time.4

By getting real people to answer critical questions about its brand, Caesars Entertainment was able to diagnose its perception problem and course correct with hyper-relevant video ads geared toward audience passion points. The company also emerged with a new way of thinking about its marketing, explains Jeff De Korte, vice president of e-commerce and digital marketing at Caesars Entertainment. “As a result of #LikeACaesar’s powerful results, personalized digital content and experiences are now a core part of our growth strategy.”