Marketeers get all loved up to win customer affection
MEDIA & MARKETING:THERE’S BEEN an outbreak of loved-up lingo among marketeers. Courting for Brands is the title of this morning’s conference in Dublin organised by Pigsback.com, with the subtitle How to Win a Consumer’s Affection.
Last week, a packed IAPI event called Seducing the Subconscious heard Dr Robert Heath explaining in persuasive detail that the hidden power of advertising lies in its ability to emotionally engage.
“We all know budgets are tight,” said Michael Dwyer, managing director and founder of Pigsback.com, a site which
offers users coupons and rewards, “but it’s especially a problem for people in the FMCG [fast-moving consumer goods] sector where marketing budgets are being diverted onto in store price cuts as demanded by retailers.
“In the long run that’s not going to build brands. Building a relationship with the consumer is what’s going to do that.”
Dwyer organised today’s conference to mark 12 years in business. He acknowledges there have been “ups and downs” in that time, though September was the best month ever for Pigsback.com, with €750,000 worth of short breaks and offers sold on the site.
“No one is going to come to a site like ours to say, buy a can of beans, but what we can
do for brands like Heinz is create an environment for them that engages consumers by offering competitions or fun polls or coupons.”
He’s preaching to the converted with Michael McCambridge, chairman of McCambridge’s bread, who is speaking at the conference and who has recently begun exploring digital marketing as a way of talking directly to customers.
“We’re looking to establish a direct line with our customers. We are a small business but with a brand with high recognition and we need to build on that,” he said.
“One of the failures of companies starting out in the digital space is that they try to run their online facility with limited resources internally. It’s not possible.”
Earlier this year, McCambridges took on digital specialist Red Ant to manage its online communication.
Digital platform providers such as Pigsback.comlike to boast that as well as directly engaging consumers, their strength is measurability – a subject discussed by Heath in his Seducing the Subconscious seminar.
His theory is that the two most prevalent measurements of advertising effectiveness, awareness and recall, aren’t measuring the right things. Better and more effective, he says, is to measure the emotional connection the consumer has with the advertisement.
Using 02’s abstract and serenely calm launch campaign, with its dreamy blue background and bubbles, he showed how the soft emotional approach in the advertisements helped boost the brand in the UK from number four in 2000 to number one five years later – ahead of Orange, T-Mobile and Vodafone, whose communications were brasher.
Emotive content in advertising is often more powerful than shouty rational messages because, he maintains, they work at low attention levels which is useful because people don’t pay much attention to television advertisements. Consumers are taking in your message without actively realising it.
“Heath was certainly reinforcing what we, who work in the business, know about the power of emotion in advertising,” said Orlaith Blaney, chief executive of McCann Dublin.
“There is a danger that clients will be so focused on putting forward the rational proposition, such as a price advantage, that they ignore the emotional appeal which builds the brand.”
She cites the effectiveness of her own agency’s Bord Bia atmospheric and warm campaign, featuring a rather handsome man extolling the authentic qualities of various Irish meats.
“We don’t give the price of chicken, but we know we get the message across.”
She also named the SuperValu campaign – not one from her agency – as cleverly mixing an emotional engagement with its upbeat television advertisements combined with price-point print advertisements.
“It’s possible in a campaign to be both emotional and rational,” she said.