Sunday, 20 November 2011

Fuzzy Objectives

I'm sure I am guilty of it as the next person. I'm talking about fuzzy objectives when it comes to developing a brand communications strategy. It's often all too easy to resort to the vague, the wooly, to that that sounds impressive and "high brand" but is, on closer inspection, unspecific and probably not measurable.

Objectives like:
- to strengthen the brand image of being good quality and trusted
- to communicate the brand positioning of uniquely understanding the consumer's needs
- to consolidate perceptions of the value advantage over our competitors.

OK, I don't think I've ever been quite so fuzzy, but you get the idea. So it was very refreshing to read Charlie Snow's commentary on the recent IPA Advertising Effectiveness Awards and see that, even on a relatively small budget, if you think differently, ask the right questions and, most importantly, think specifically instead of in generalities, you can make a difference.

There's the campaign to demobilise Columbian guerrillas in which the right question was "can we change the medium?" and the answer was to bring Christmas to the jungle. And then, a simple idea - can we change the usage occasion? - which worked to get people drinking a traditional bedtime drink, Ovaltine, for a daytime break. Or - can we change the role for advertising? - the Marie Curie Daffodil Appeal did just that by advertising for collectors instead of for donations.

And another commonality between all these ideas is that it's not just about getting people to think differently, or even feel differently, but about behaviour. And as behavioural change is often the trigger to perceptual change, rather than the other way around, it's no wonder that these ideas create effects that are observable.

So let's consign the wool and the Fuzzy Felt to the needlework basket and think about the active, the specific, the behavioural - and not just when the budget is limited.

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