How Indirect Pursuits Can Help You Reach Your Goals
Sometimes the most effective way to achieve a desired goal is to pursue it indirectly. Think of sailing, where you need to tack back and forth to reach your destination, rather than point directly at it. Similarly, in advertising, focusing on achieving fame or emotional impact can be a way of delivering against an array of goals, such as shifting brand perception, increasing awareness or creating a specific association.
Being indirect in advertising doesn't mean you are ignoring the primary goals of a campaign. Instead, you are finding creative ways to achieve those goals, by focusing on the metrics for success. An indirect approach simplifies the ask, and creates the focus needed for impact. By taking an indirect approach, marketers can often achieve more vs pointing directly at multiple goals.
We can simplify objectives by looking at three focus areas that impact brands: fame, emotional impact, and memorability. Fame connects to a brand's recognition and salience. Emotional impact connects to the ability of an advertisement to evoke strong emotions such as joy or surprise. Memorability considers how advertisers create content that maximises longevity and recall. By focusing on these factors, advertisers can effectively capture attention, drive sales, and build loyalty, for ultimate business success.
Binet & Field - Take a long term view and aim for Fame & Emotion
"The Long and Short of It" by Binet and Field is a comprehensive study of advertising effectiveness that shows emotional, fame-building, and brand-building advertising to be the most effective ways to drive long-term growth.
They advise against pursuing purely short-term sales activations and instead focus more on brand fame through evocative brand advertising that resonates with audiences. Binet & Field found that fame-driving campaigns outperform others on all business metrics studied: sales, loyalty, market share, price sensitivity, penetration, profit. They also found that campaigns that prioritised emotional messaging consistently outperformed more rational ones.
Their findings showcase the long term performance benefit of creating emotional, fame-building campaigns that resonate vs focusing on short-term sales activations.
Orlando Wood - Storytelling through right and left brain creative
Orlando Wood's "Lemon" presents a compelling argument for the power of emotional advertising, using the concept of left-brain and right-brain thinking to illustrate his point. Wood suggests that modern advertising has lost its balance between left-brain thinking, which prioritises rationality, logic, and analysis, and right-brain thinking, which emphasises intuition, emotion, and creativity. Wood suggests that this imbalance has led to a decline in advertising effectiveness, as campaigns fail to create a meaningful impact on consumers.
Wood argues that advertising must create an emotional connection with consumers to be effective and Wood challenges marketers to rethink their approach and create campaigns that appeal to both the left and right brains, stressing the power of storytelling to create emotionally resonant campaigns that connect with consumers on a deeper level. Advertisers should aim to tap into the emotions and aspirations of the target audience, creating an emotional resonance that lingers long after the campaign has ended. By avoiding over-reliance on data and rational arguments, advertisers can create campaigns that balance reason with emotional resonance and creativity, leading to campaigns that stand out in a crowded market and drive meaningful results over time.
Robert Heath - Understand Memory
Robert Heath's "Seducing the Subconscious" explores how advertisers can use storytelling to create emotional connections with their audience and influence their subconscious minds. Heath argues that by tapping into people's deep-seated desires and beliefs, advertisers can create a narrative that aligns with their brand messaging, and this can then create emotional resonance with their audience that makes their brand more memorable and appealing.
Advertisers need to create memories that are both durable and easily retrievable and Heath emphasises the need to have a practical understanding of how our memory works to create campaigns that can do this more effectively. Heath describes two types of memory: explicit memory and implicit memory. Explicit memories are conscious and deliberate, such as factual information about a product or service. In contrast, implicit memories are unconscious and automatic, such as the emotional associations people make with a brand. He suggests advertisers focus on creating implicit memories that tend to be more durable and have a greater impact on consumer behaviour and that the most effective way to achieve this is by creating consistent, emotionally resonant brand messaging. Heath argues that stories are more effective than traditional advertising because they engage multiple parts of the brain, making them more memorable and persuasive.