Mix it Up!
I read a study that analyzed social media comments (in particular, tweets) about advertisements. While one intuitively knows that the data will be cranky (what other purpose is there for social media than complaining?!?), it is instructive when considering the themes of the comments.
I found two of the outcomes informative. First, that repetition is a problem and second, that there are many inappropriate placements of ads. Let’s consider the first here, and the latter in a future post.
Repetition… it’s what makes a pop song a hit, right? It doesn’t matter what it sounds like, as long as you play it enough, it will become a hit. At least that’s the old school methodology. And it can be true, because annoyance through repetition can make something memorable. So if you run the same ad over and over… ad nauseam (pun intended), people will remember your product.
Sure, they may not like it, they may tweet their displeasure, but they’ll remember it. Those high negative reactions probably won’t make them a fan, or a customer, either.
So how do the best brands get you to remember their product without being annoying? How do they build your knowledge of the product without being boring? How do they make you remember them when it comes time to consider buying in their category? They use repetition, but they creatively mix their messages and content to keep the viewer engaged. Let’s call this practice “Rotating Repetition”.
The best marketing delivers a solid value proposition or explains a brand attribute. It gives a promise of what benefit the customer receives or the feeling that a purchase will elicit. Good advertising does this. When you communicate your value and brand well, and mix it up with different creative, you’ll not only be memorable, but also will generally have high likeability/approval ratings (i.e. the majority will not be trashing you with tweets).
Easy examples: Progressive and GEICO insurance companies. Both these companies define their value proposition and brand attributes clearly in their advertising. Save money, simple process, quickly get a quote. Both have used advertising to create highly recognizable icons for their brand (Flo and the gecko). They also continually evolve and rotate their spots to avoid the creative becoming stale. GEICO has completely gecko-less spots (the caveman, the motorcycle spot, etc.). Progressive continually moves Flo from the white Progressive showroom to a home, camp, road, beach, and so on.
Now, I’m not saying all customers love these campaigns (speaking of pop songs, doesn’t Taylor Swift say that haters are always going to hate?). I’m sure they get their share of criticism on social media. Still, the strategy of “rotating repetition” served both well. They are memorable campaigns which do deliver the key value and brand propositions. Anyone who consumes media, when they face an insurance decision, can’t help but think of having these companies in the mix for consideration.
So how do you accomplish rotating repetition when you don’t have millions of dollars to spend on media time, a paid actress spokeswoman or a CGI lizard? The principle still is valid. No matter the media used (an email newsletter, website, billboard, salesperson, whatever!), by delivering your value proposition and brand statements in different ways while always hitting on the two or three key elements, you’ll deliver informative content that will be less likely to be ignored (it’s never possible to eliminate ignorance :-).
Any business can do it. It requires some planning, forethought and a little creativity. We’ll touch on those themes in future posts. In the meantime, if you’d like to try some rotating repetition and need some help, let us know… we can help.