Wednesday, 30 May 2012

9 Es of Advertising

Ernest Vincent Wright might have written the novel Gadsby: A Story of Over 50,000 words without Using the Letter “E”, but it is not possible to advertise without considering the Es. Having worked and being heavily involved in the advertising industry, I could not keep myself mum when I went through an article in an Indian magazine 4P which dealt with 5 Es of Advertising (Engage, Empower, Educate, Entertain and Enrich). I have added few more Es to the list and poured in my views on each of the Es. I hope you would find them interesting.

If you have experienced more Es in advertising, you are welcome to add to the list. Here goes my list of Es.

Engaging with the consumers should be the prime focus of the advertisement. If you don’t engage with your prospective and current consumers, then you are losing their insights, suggestions, inputs and feedback to you and your product.

You must have seen the message in the bottles and packs of consumer items with the toll-free number and email ID for consumer feedback and suggestions. It was the only way to interact in the past with the consumers.

Now you have got Facebook – create a fan page of the product and interact with your consumers. A Twitter account will help you get your message regarding the product to your consumers who follow you and your product. The Pinterest boards are also gaining popularity where you can display your products and their attributes.

However, just being in the social media platform is not enough, make sure that you are there to interact with the consumers, reply to their queries in real time.

There’s more than engaging with the consumers. Educate them, but make sure not to be a teacher. A blog about the product, its features, and its benefits will attract more of your consumers to your product, provided you are offering what you are preaching.

If you are launching your product that is ahead of time, you need to make sure that the consumers are educated about the product. It’s a must. I remember eating dumplings in a Delhi restaurant “Belle Momos” a long time ago. At that time, the proper Delhites were not used to eating dumplings. So, to educate them they had hung framed advertisements teaching “how to eat momos”. It was hilarious for dumpling fans like me but was an eye opener for the starters.

Make the consumers feel that they have a stake in their favourite product. Listen carefully to what they say, what they suggest and don’t even leave behind any crazy suggestion that comes your way. Some of them might lead you and your product to innovation which your competitors might not even think of.

Many fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) are coming up with innovative advertising campaigns empowering their consumers, in the process building brand loyalty. Earlier this was restricted to the FMCGs asking for recipes from the consumers and putting the snaps of consumers on the packages (Remember the Kurkure and Maggi campaigns?).

Now crowdsourcing has gained momentum, not only in raising money and for a cause, but also for collecting individual opinions and advices on a subject. Summarising the opinions and views and picking up the best can lead to innovative ideas to reckon with.

The Times of India’s Lead India campaign was highly successful in motivating the youth to becoming leaders to change the fate of the country.

Enrich the customer experience. Make them walk along with you while you are advertising and building the brand. It all depends on how you communicate the experience behind the product you are offering.

There’s a famous Nepali bottled water brand “Aqua Hundred”. In its advertisements it asks the customers to visit the factory premises and observe how the water is purified. This gives not only a sense of security to the consumers but eager ones can see on their own how the water is made safe for drinking.

Make your advertisement interesting and make sure it entertains the audience. P S Mann, the Creative Director at RR Swamy BBDO in an interview to 4P says, “If an advertisement is just an advertisement, the consumer will develop a defence mechanism and not watch it.” “So it’s extremely important to deliver entertainment. Engagement comes from entertainment and from entertainment comes attention.”

To entertain the consumers you should create advertisements which are original, interesting, creative and of course entertaining. Just have a look at the Fevicol advertisements created by Piyush Pandey and you will get an idea of what entertaining is.

Evolve with time. Change is the name of the game. Be aware of the ambience and what your competitors are doing and offering. You must be able to change yourself accordingly. Creating an advertisement with old setting won’t work (It might work sometimes but only for a short duration).

Use the modern techniques, tools and medium to reach the audience. Rise above the above the line and below the line advertising. Target cloud advertising – get online and attract the online customers.

Have you ever wondered why the guy in the television advertisement resembles you? Because the advertisers are targeting the customers like you! Study the demographics, psychographics and lifestyle of your target audience and create your advertisements according to their tastes, interests and aspirations. They will like your product if a character of their class is shown preaching about the product.

Evaluate your efforts and redo the campaigns and advertisements to suit the customer preferences. Do the cost-benefit analysis and pour in more money sensibly if your efforts are not generating customers.

There is no dearth of crazy people with ideas these days. With decent spend you can get a good team of creative people who can come up with compelling campaigns.

Last but not the least, don’t leave any stones unturned to entice your customers. This doesn’t mean that you should splash skin all the time like all the deodorants do. Sex obviously sells but it should not be made the main means to attract the customers all the time.

Leave no stone unturned to entice your customers.
You must have heard that a poor guy sued the deodorant “Axe” after he wasn’t able to attract any girl after spraying it all over himself. However, the help of sensuousness can be taken to advertise your product like the “Aamsutra” campaign which shows a Bollywood actress (Katrina Kaif) devouring a mango enticingly while advertising a mango drink Slice.

Now it’s your turn to add to the list of Es!

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Advertise, advocate and sell your ideas

Bolne ko pitho bikchha, nabolne ko chamal pani bikdaina” (One who advocates can sell even a lowly rated commodity like flour, but one who doesn’t speak can not sell even a highly rated commodity like rice) – the Nepali proverb says you should advertise – tell others about your product to sell it. The age old proverb simply asks to preach about the product and advocate to the prospective buyers.

Spread your idea like fire.

With the advent of advertising, the “talking to the prospective consumers” has leapfrogged and every day the advertisers are coming up with innovative ideas to attract and arouse interest among the consumers.

Rather than going for the “saying on the face” trend, the advertisers are resorting for subliminal forms of selling. Product placement is one among them. Now the advertisers won’t tell you to drink a fizzy drink. However, you will notice your favourite actor drinking it on screen in one of your best movies. Consumers are enticed to purchase the products after seeing their idols using them.

Besides, stealth endorsement is catching up where the celebrities are asked to wear merchandise or talk about the product in public forum. This indirect form of endorsement keeps audiences guessing whether the celebrities are endorsing the products.

Likewise, through cross-merchandising the advertisers market different merchandise prior to the release of a film. Many Hollywood and Bollywood movies utilise this technique to create interest about the forthcoming films among the audiences.

Another form of advertising which is quite popular is ambient advertising. Marketers these days put the advertisements everywhere from shopping mall floor to metro and public vehicle bodies. The moving vehicles carrying the advertisements reach thousands of consumers. The old tradition of putting hoarding boards at crossroads (still in practice these days) is being taken over by innovations like 3-D hoarding boards, rotating boards, display changing boards etc. As I mentioned in my previous article this form of advertisement is gaining popularity.

Organising events is another big hit these days. Won’t you be enthralled to know that your favourite beer is bringing Snoop Dogg to your city? Obviously, lot many consumers get to know the brand sponsoring such mega events.

So, next time you plan to advocate your cause, remember the above forms of advertisements that will sell your idea to a larger audience.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Revitalising the media multiplier effect

A decade ago, it was the buzzword and everybody used to talk about the multi-benefits of media multiplier effect. It is pounding the consumers with the same marketing message through all channels at the same time – so that a consumer sees a brand displayed on a hoarding while passing through a major junction, hears the product jingle in FM radio, reads the message in daily newspaper and watches the product commercial in television. However, with the onset of the 21st century and the advent of social media, the concept is being sidelined. With the evergrowing Web 2.0 and the fascination for the social networks, the marketing and advertising concepts have completely changed and so has the media multiplier concept.

The three famous buttons
You must have noticed the three famous buttons splashed everywhere at the end of any online article – share this through Twitter, Facebook or Google Plus. More buttons are being added to the list, LinkedIn and Pinterest being the most prominent ones. In a way these buttons are replacing the traditional media multiplier effect efforts. It’s quite easy to click these buttons and share the news, advertising or any other piece of writing to your followers and acquaintances. If the stuff is interesting, they further share the same with their followers and acquaintances, thus, spreading the word much faster than expected.

BTL versus online marketing
Below the line (BTL) refers to non-classical ways of communication and promotion in opposition to classical advertising through mass media. The hoarding boards at prime junctions and promotion materials at the point of sales still do the trick of promoting your brand. However, the consumer has to walk the extra mile to see your brand. Suppose they don’t get to see your message – it means they will be unaware of your brand and its benefits.

To bridge the time gap, the internet has come to the rescue of marketers. Media and specifically online advertising can be powerful in creating consumer awareness and attracting them to the product websites. Social networking sites as well as specific product-related blogs, open forums, online guides, wikis and consumer communities are fast emerging and provide opportunities to initiate positive word-of-mouth publicity and strengthen brand recognition and loyalty.

Consumer marketing versus cooperative marketing
Consumer marketing includes activities that are directly aimed at reaching end-consumers and stimulating interest and ultimately demand.

Cooperative marketing includes joint advertising, joint media and press relation activities, cooperative publication of promotional leaflets, sponsoring of client events and distribution of promotional materials, and developing joint budget allocation to share costs for activities among partners.

Cooperation makes work easier.
Joint marketing provides a clear financial advantage, as costs for marketing activities can be shared among marketing partners. Moreover, joint marketing may have the advantage of increased consumer awareness through brand alignment and mutual brand endorsement.

Collaborating with strong brands help to build trust and brand credibility for the upcoming brand, among consumers.

You can develop ideas for creative, innovative and fun campaign concepts (i.e. including a consumer competition component) that initiate participation, high involvement and viral distribution through word-of-mouth, social media and online channels. Establish strategic marketing partnerships with industry partners, interest groups, associations and brand companies and develop joint/cooperative marketing activities.

Media versus public relations
Journalistic media coverage including features on TV programmes, print magazines and newspaper articles can be influential in creating awareness and inspiring consumers in their purchase decision. Strategic and targeted media relations and PR are therefore important.

Develop and implement a media release programme with quarterly media newsletters. Pitch stories around the product to media representatives through one-on-one media calls (face-to-face, email, phone). Use networking events to initiate media contacts and organise specialised media events such as press conferences and press events. Develop a press pack with background information including a fact sheet. Initiate media cooperation and media promotion activities such as reader competitions.

Celebrity endorsements versus events
It still bears a question mark – whether celebrity endorsements work or consumer targeted events work better. However, there is no harm to appoint a celebrity who matches your brand persona. S/he will at least pull her/his followers to your brand. Plan interactive events involving your celebrity and you will see the hordes of increasing consumers.

Now put together all mentioned above, squeeze out the best ones and remember to place your message everywhere, in each media, targeting all your consumers – and you will see your media multiplier effect bearing results!