Monday, 13 January 2014

Graven Images

Most retail or service brands that I worked on in the past sooner or later came up against the dilemma:

How much of my communications budget do I put behind my brand image?

And how much should go on directly driving traffic?

With British Airways, for example, most of the money as well as the blood, sweat and tears went on building the image, with rather less outgoings on advertising special prices and offers, especially in those early days of CRM. However, my colleagues down the corridor who worked on Currys and Dixons spent very little time worrying about anything as lofty and pretentious as image. It was roll-your-sleeves-up-and-get-stuck-in time.

I'm rather pleased that the huge changes in media in the last few years have put paid to this kind of compartmentalised thinking. The point is, that no car, motor-bike, pony-trap or any other kind of traffic (can you tell I hate that word in that context?) is going to drive itself to your store or your website if your brand is a grey nonentity. And conversely, if you spend your whole time pontificating about your Vision to 2030 without letting anyone know what's new this season or when your sale is, people aren't going to turn up in droves, either.

All advertising should be an invitation to your store or website, if you are a retailer - communications that convey some mysterious, ethereal image that is detached from who you are and what you sell are money wasted.

Communications work in three ways - through the mind, through the emotions, through the senses (or persuasion, involvement and salience as laid out originally by Hall & Partners in 1991.)

And modern brands are tangible and substantial, not just a collection of images in "the consumer's" mind.

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