Unisono is built on a firm belief that strategic thinking pays greater dividends than… well, not thinking. But does making your customers think about your brand and advertising increase recall, impact and ultimately sales? Do conceptual adverts have better ROI than the regular ‘stock shot and headline’ or are admen trying to sell us art in disguise? Is there any science to support the claim that advertising which makes you think actually sells more products than advertising that doesn’t?
The idea for this post came about recently as I was helping a person redecorate their home. An odd connection but bare with me. I was with them helping them with their selection of curtains at a very well established haberdashery in Bahrain and was taken with how professional the firm was. Good interiors, well trained staff. Clearly the firm was streets ahead of many of it’s rivals. We got the curtains and blinds sorted and the house was starting it’s transformation, job done.
It was on the way to the office that something struck me as odd. I was looking up on the highway and noticed a billboard with the stores brand emblazoned across it (large logo and lots of type); you can imagine it. It didn’t really register until I was across town in another district and I saw another billboard. Clearly the firm believes in the power of advertising and little did I realise until then, that curtains are fast becoming a new FMCG sub-sector in the Kingdom!
Now I am in the industry so I look out for these kinds of things; billboards and brands fascinate me in the way that can bore dinner party guests to abstraction. What struck me as odd what that now I knew about the brand and what it sold I was seeing them everywhere. Now I was on the inside, a customer, a knowing participant in their brand, I was conscious of their advertising. It is money very badly spent as the best spent campaign money is to get people in to your store and spending, not to remind those that who have just completed a sale of your existence.
If I was in the market for a new set of curtains I could not have told you about the firm; I would not have known about them despite the fact that I was seeing their advertising all over the place. To find out about a suitable curtain seller i would have to phone a friend in the interior design business to ask them for advice. Doubtless they would have told me about the store but what total waste of advertising spend.
Looking at their billboards it is easy to understand why I had no consciousness of the brand or their offering. The billboard didn’t make me engage with them at all. I did not think of them for a second. Their advertising didn’t make me think. The brand was in the background of my life and I saw them a lot but I didn’t register them once. They were like cream blinds in an off-white room; there but also nowhere.
So how can you remedy this – how can a curtain store make customers notice them? Like all good advertising, they have to tell a story whose narrative engages the brain of it’s customers. Perhaps they could build a campaign about life without curtains? To make us think about the things we most certainly take for granted? Or perhaps they could take a romantic and emotional route and talk about the love affair of a window and it’s beautiful counter part.
If you don't capture imagination, you shouldn't be surprised if your advertising fails to impress. Make your audience think a little; it won't hurt them and will help them remember who you are.
Culture eats strategy for breakfast (but don't let that stop you feeding it).Anon.