- Mon, December 05 2011
- Filed under: Marketing essentials
My friend and award-winning blogger Jono Smith authored today’s guest post. He shares some thoughts on the two essential ingredients of good ads (creativity and emotion). For more from Jono, check out his Event Fundraising Blog.
By Jono Smith
Is your advertising engaging or persuasive?
The suggestion that the creative and emotional content of your advertising might materially impact its effectiveness is not new, but until recently there was little data to support this claim. In Katya’s recent blog post, 7 Totally Surprising Brain Tricks to Sell Your Cause, she highlights examples from neuromarketing expert Roger Dooley’s new book Brainfluence on the role of emotion and creativity:
Just 150 milliseconds after seeing an image of a baby, people’s medial orbitofrontal cortex – the part of the brain associated with emotion – becomes abuzz with activity. Pictures of grown-ups don’t prompt the same effect. An experiment in Scotland showed babies also make people more altruistic. Wallets were planted all over Edinburgh with one of four photos: a baby, a puppy, a happy family or an elderly couple – or no photo. Nearly 90% of the baby wallets were turned in, followed by 53% of puppies, 48% of families and 25% for the older couple. Only one in seven of the other wallets without photos were turned in by good Samaritans. Does your cause involve babies in any way? Put them front and center on your site and in social media. And just in case you ever lose it, in your wallet, too.
Is it really true: that to achieve disproportionate advertising effectiveness, one must first embrace creativity and emotion?
A recent report from the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising, the UK’s leading trade association for advertising, media and marketing communications, concludes that there is a very strong link between creativity and advertising effectiveness. While creativity cannot be defined or prescribed, creative ads tend to be enjoyable and involving, and different to other advertising. They tend to stimulate an emotional response.
The report finds that creatively focused advertising campaigns grew market share 11 times more efficiently than creatively non-focused campaigns, and the more creative awards a campaign earned, the more effective it was likely to be. Campaigns used in the analysis were from the airline Virgin Atlantic, bread and flour brand Hovis, HSBC bank, the Barclaycard credit card, mobile phone network T-Mobile, confectionary brand Cadbury’s Dairy Milk, and the Australian lamb campaign.
While nonprofit marketers don’t have the advertising budgets of a T-Mobile or Virgin Atlantic, there are some pearls of Robin Hood Marketing wisdom to be gleaned from these findings.
• Advertising that generates a strong emotional response has two benefits. First, it can help the emotions transfer to the brand, shaping the brand perceptions. Second, it can help generate engagement and memorability. While advertising can generate negative emotions to help create drama, for most brand advertising this needs to ultimately result in a positive emotional takeout.
• When your goal is to influence people in a way that has a direct impact on their behavior—for example, to volunteer or donate—there are five key factors which will dictate how successful you will be. To achieve a strongly persuasive effect, your ads need to communicate something new, relevant, believable, differentiating, and emotional.
• According to companion research from Millward Brown, the variety of different emotional responses obtained by effective advertising highlights that there is no one emotion to trigger for successful advertising. Rather, the successful ad triggers the emotion that is relevant for that brand and positioning.
In other words, creativity and emotion are no longer a luxury if campaigns want to achieve financial success. Creativity fuels effectiveness, and ads that engage emotionally are more likely to be rewarded. Of course, direct response isn’t the only role of advertising. People are more inclined to give to causes they know something about, rather than to organizations they have never heard of, so you will still need to do some brand building activity to help maximize your direct response advertising.
The bottom line: communication such as direct mail, direct response advertising, email marketing, search marketing, and social media advertising are designed to create immediate uplifts and are usually judged on this basis. But if communication is to immediately impact revenue, it must have an emotionally powerful, relevant, new, believable, and differentiating message. And none of these factors may have enough weight by itself to compensate for poor performance by the others. Rather, they are conditions which all need to be met if an ad is to generate the motivation necessary to change people’s behavior. It’s like a cake: if just one of the main ingredients is missing, then the final result will not be very appetizing.
What conclusions do you draw from this research?