In a recent blog article by Randall Beard, President of Nielsen, North America, Mr. Beard revealed a startling statistic. Based on Nielsen’s study of 1.7 million ads over a 13 year period, 75% of respondents to a survey could not recall the ad and brand of a product/service seen the day before on television. In other words, no matter how powerful the creative, how masterful the placement, the message did not ‘resonate’ with the viewer enough to generate recall of either the ad or the brand. The question is, why did the majority of advertisers fail to gain ‘recall traction,’ or more importantly, what did the 25% of survey respondents see or hear that enabled a reasonable level of recall. What breaks through the clutter? What creates ‘resonance’ with the viewer about an ad or a brand?
First, I refer you to an article I wrote for Dealer Communications 11 years ago, entitled ‘Recency or Frequency.’ In that article, I shared the thinking of media strategist Erwin Ephron, who believes ‘recency and continuity’ are more important than ‘reach and frequency’ in achieving the desired reaction of advertising. In other words, the closer to actual purchase consideration your message occurs, the greater the response and return on investment. If you’d like a free copy of that article ‘RECENCY OR FREQUENCY,’ please email me.
Achieving ‘resonance’ is more than just how close to point of purchase your ad is heard. To achieve the desired reaction, your ad has to stand out in a way that underscores your unique marketing perception. Your intended target may be in an active search mode for an automobile and consciously open to suggestions, but what differentiates your ad, your brand from the multitude of competitive offers?
Consider these points:
- Well written copy. Who is writing your copy? Good copywriting is both an art and a science. Just a few words can sometimes make the difference in thought retention. Copy can often be improved by simply writing LESS…using pregnant pauses for emphasis and better inflection on critical points. You wouldn’t try to sell a customer at 130 words a minute in person. Why try to make a memorable pitch on radio or TV at that rate?
- Test copy. Today we have the opportunity to track advertising effectiveness with clicks driven by broadcast referrals. Careful coordination of media placement and website traffic, along with ‘qualitative’ responses that result in actual sales are the best tools to measure creative effectiveness of copy.
- Test talent. It’s amazing how delivery styles and voices can make a difference in ‘resonance’ of advertisements. Once you find a ‘talent’ that hits the mark, stay with that person. Consistency is another major component of effective recall.
- Don’t use a voice that is overused in your marketplace. There are hundreds of voices and on-camera professionals who can give you a unique position in your marketplace.
- Keep it simple. With the millions of messages and clutter, it is easy to overwhelm your intended marketing target. Don’t advertise more than three vehicles or prices in one ad.
- Be consistent. One of Ephron’s principles is continuity, which dovetails with recency. In a nutshell, rather than running ‘flights’ of ads lasting 3-13 weeks, have some presence in the marketplace 52 weeks a year, varying the frequency to give most weight to key sale opportunity days.
Share of Market. Share of Mind.
For over 30 years, the agency I founded has advocated building brand equity while maximizing the weekend traffic. Share of Market is a strategy for skimming as many potential buyers in the market for a vehicle this weekend, while Share of Mind is ‘positioning’ the dealership brand in the customers mind for future consideration.
Share of Market usually refers to some form of promotional message that creates a sense of urgency in the customers mind. Share of Mind advertising sells your UMP (unique marketing perception) and works best when there is continuity. Preferably, 52 weeks a year of continuity. A balance of Share of Market and Share of Mind contributes to effective resonance with the right creative and media mix because conscious recall is aided by the seeds planted by subconscious programming.
Keep in mind that the standard definition of frequency in media-buying terminology is how many times a potential buyer hears your ad within a short period of time. It has nothing to do with how many ads you may be running during an advertising schedule. Even though you may run 15 ads on a particular TV station in a given week, you may have a frequency of only one or two if your spots are spread out over many day-parts and programs. This is one of the greatest challenges for dealers buying cable television. Often a dealer may feel reach and frequency is adequate because the dealership has over 200 spots scheduled for one week. Unfortunately, (for the dealership) the cable representative may have spread those advertisements over 20 different channels with ROS scheduling that results in a relatively low reach of the cable system’s viewers and negligible frequency.
Monitoring your media buying plans to maximize frequency within your target, in conjunction with your best creative efforts, with ongoing testing, is the key to ‘resonance,’ which of course is the key to ‘reaction.’ Will your ad and brand be part of the 25% of advertisements that people actually recall the day after? If you’d like a free copy of Randall Beard’s blog on Resonance, just email me.