The new Truth anti-smoking ad has taken a new approach to curbing teen smoking. It represents a move from the grotesque ads of removing skin and teeth to talking about the salary differences between smokers and non-smokers. I find the ad interesting, but it illustrates two problems all to common with many brands today.
Research does not always tell the whole truth
The ad claims that young smokers could earn up to $10,000 less than non-smokers. It backs up that claim by citing the Usual Weekly Earnings of Wage and Salary Workers Bureau for the second quarter of 2016 report by the Bureau of Labor and Statistics. The problem is that particular report says nothing about smokers vs non-smokers. The question of whether or not a respondent smokes isn’t even asked as part of that report. In fact, the words “smoke” or “smoking” are mentioned zero times in the report.
This ad also has a screen shot of an article written in 2013 by two economists from the Federal Reserve of Atlanta who found smokers earn 20% less than non-smokers. However, that finding is a correlation not causation because it does not factor differences between age, race, or socio-economic status. Its like saying people who drive to work tend to have a glass of water before they go to bed.
If Truth wanted to cite real research, it should have cited a recent study by the Stanford University School of Medicine that shows that people who smoke have a harder time getting a job and, yes, they actually do earn less. But the mean age in this study was 48.
I don’t feel like what thetruth.com is citing here matches up with the facts they are citing, even if I personally suspect there is something to this idea. This, unfortunately, is the problem with a lot of research claims. Companies tend to make some pretty big decisions based on what they consider research.
We see brands do it all the time. They ask people about what characteristics they prefer in products or services, and then ask how the brand stacks up in those characteristics versus the competition. They take that data and immediately set forth an action plan to improve their areas of deficiency relative to the competition. Based on that, those brands expect people to switch.
The problem isn’t the research but the interpretation. The best thing a company can usually hope for is being equal to its competition in those values. Companies often cite research that they are not up to snuff compared to the competition on those values, so they work to improve them. That is fine, but those values then become table stakes. They are not what are most important.
This is not to say that all research is misleading or using research to substantiate a claim is bad. Brands just need to be very careful of what they are citing and how they are interpreting it.
Understanding your target market is key
The Truth anti-smoking ad is also completely meaningless because it isn’t an accurate reflection of the target audiences – kids and young adults.
There are a number of sources that show the vast majority of smokers start before they turn 18. The ad is completely ineffective in getting them to not smoke. The argument that the ad presents is far to rational for them. Kids have been trained since birth to believe they can do and accomplish anything. They base their relationships with others on how many likes their social media posts receive. Few kids in high school are thinking about how much they are going to earn relative to their peers.
Kids at this age are earning minimum wage. When they graduate, if they don’t go to college or trade school, they will likely start at minimum wage. These kids see those around them as earning the same as they do. The non-smoker will not start at $5 more per hour than their smoking counterparts.
Smoking is irrational
The choice to start or quit smoking for kids is certainly not about money. The fear of losing money because of smoking is a rational fear. Smoking in and of itself is not a rational act to begin with. So how do you convince them to quit with a rational argument? You can’t.
The decision to smoke is highly emotional. In today’s world, I don’t think there is anyone who would actually agree that smoking was a good idea. The days of doctors promoting the health benefits of smoking are thankfully long gone.
Today, everything is about instant gratification, especially for this target audience. Human beings by their very nature are irrational and smoking is irrational. Getting kids to quit smoking or avoid it altogether requires a gut punch, an immediate and shockingly painful jolt that completely knocks the air out of you. The message has to be so arresting that it stops kids in their tracks and becomes an insidious voice in their heads every time they are tempted to have a cigarette. It’s not a rational message. It’s an emotional one that actually is reflective of them and affects them instantly.
Telling kids to stop smoking because of something that may or may not happen in the future is spitting in the wind.
The new Truth anti-smoking ad fails. was last modified: September 1st, 2016 by Corbin
The winners and losers of Peak TV, and what Apple TV can do about it
We are living in the world of Peak TV, a term coined by FX President John Landgraf a few years ago – and he was right in many ways. We are living in an unprecedented era in which the TV options are more varied, more accessible, better overall and just plain more.
Landgraf coined that term because he believes the industry can’t sustain that kind of production. There are only so many eyes watching screens so how can more than 400 shows exist and networks continue to succeed?
For the first time, networks are taking on the challenges of Peak TV by viewing themselves as brands rather than simply deliverers of content. If you’re just a collection of shows without a guiding principle then you won’t succeed. That’s true in television and it’s true in any business.
How do networks figure out their brand? How does it affect which shows a network airs? And how can brand aid in the battle against (or co-exist with) the streaming giants of Netflix, Amazon and Hulu?
With most of us waiting breathlessly for a groundbreaking Apple TV to fix this problem, what are the networks doing now and what should Apple TV look like? What is the future of Peak TV?
The streaming networks changed everything
Let’s start answering those questions by addressing the elephant in the room: Streaming networks. They have significantly changed the landscape because it took the power from the networks and gave it to viewers. No longer would consumers be beholden to what the networks offered and when they could see shows.
The viewer emerged as the one in control.
Consumer control is now the way of the world. The days of being told that you could only watch a limited offering at a certain time are gone. That is the single biggest reason why the streaming networks have succeeded.
Sure, their offerings have often been stellar. But that’s only a small part of it. Netflix, which started as a mail order DVD rental service, didn’t really take off until it jumped into streaming with content that was early seasons of current and past shows from other networks.
The success of Netflix was in giving customers control, thus positioning TV networks as out of touch and even arrogant. The idea that you could only watch what you wanted under somebody else’s rules created images of TV execs sitting in their offices and smoking cigars like Mr. Potter in It’s a Wonderful Life.
Netflix also structured its services as subscription based instead of on a pay-per-view basis. I’ve always thought that one of the reasons Apple has struggled with its online services is because it is not subscription-based. In music, Pandora and Spotify have overtaken the industry because they’re subscription based. When Apple finally released a subscription-based Apple Music, it was too late. (That and other problems.)
Subscriptions add the illusion of control because, subconsciously, the viewer (and listener) believes they are watching (and listening) for free. When you charge on an individual basis – like what Louis CK did recently with his critically acclaimed series Horace & Pete – many commentators were outraged that the comic would charge per episode. How dare he?
The advantages of being a cable network
Before we go any further, let’s put this out front. We’re not going to examine the broadcast TV networks: NBC, CBS, ABC and FOX. Those networks still air shows that get high ratings and bring in tons of money even if their ratio of failure is enormous. In fact, they are the ones hurting the most from Peak TV.
We’re more interested in the networks that have upped their sophistication, matching the tastes of the television watching public and critical landscape. Let’s focus on the cable networks.
Within them there are subsets. There are the prestige networks like FX and AMC (for my money, the two best networks on TV). Then there are the niche players, ranging from a powerhouse like ESPN to The Food Network, Bravo and Nickelodeon. We’re not going to get much into the niche networks but just note: They should not be ignored. HGTV’s Fixer Upper, for example, is a ratings juggernaut.
A third subset is the premium channels like HBO and Showtime, which have a different delivery and payment system than the rest.
What are the advantages to each? For FX and AMC, they have each created a prestige brand based on the success of its shows. Breaking Bad and Mad Men made AMC. The Shield provided liftoff for FX.
Both networks then became known for high-level, gritty programming that led for FX to roll out Justified, The Americans, Fargo and The People vs. OJ Simpson. All are terrific.
AMC had original programming before the double whammy of Mad Men (July 2007) and Breaking Bad (January 2008) gave it the identity it has now.
What’s interesting about each is that they both started as niche programmers. AMC was the place for cheesy moves from the 70s and 80s. AMC, after all, stands for American Movie Classics. (Although its definition of classic was different than mine.) FX was the place for special effects-laden action movies that had completed their theater and premium channel runs. (The name FX was actually supposed to mean FOX +, of a sort. But the movies they aired suggested otherwise.)
Therefore, each had to overcome pre-conceived notions about themselves.
To do that, each rebranded itself with an actual meaning. AMC rebranded under the theme of “Story Matters Here,” which immediately set it apart from both its past history and other networks. (The less said about its current theme, “Something More,” the better.)
FX added the theme of “There is No Box” (meaning, think outside the box). Soon, the programming each offered fulfilled their promises – that they were different and better.
Could they work as a streaming service? Well, each has a streaming app today and they are two networks that most rely on so-called second-day ratings, meaning viewership measured by DVR recordings, cable on demand and streaming from their apps. Sure, it could work as a streaming service.
But part of the advantage of being on a cable (or satellite) system is increased awareness and brand recognition. You have the ability to promote your new shows during commercial breaks of your current ones. While cutting the chord is becoming increasingly popular, only about one in seven Americans have actually done it.
There’s another advantage that needs to be addressed. The Internet, specifically, the online press. The critical TV landscape changed when some sites, like the now defunct Television Without Pity, began recapping shows that aired the night before. Those recaps started out as funny jibes (the recaps of Survivor on TWP were freakin’ hilarious) but have now become serious journalism.
Any website that covers TV in some fashion now has re-cappers – and that includes The New York Times.
While those re-cappers do write about the streaming shows from Netflix, Hulu and Amazon (AV Club is probably the most robust of them all), it’s what has aired to the nation the night before that gets the most ink and attention. There’s a different immediacy when recapping the day after most viewers have watched that program.
In the age of Peak TV (or, as Hollywood Reporter critic Tim Goodman rephrased it, “Too Much TV”), generating that kind of chatter and momentum puts you in the current zeitgeist. Google how many sites are still trying to find ways to recap Game of Thrones weeks after the last episode of Season 6 and you’ll get my point.
The premium channels
The dominant premium channels are HBO and Showtime, with subsets also succeeding (Cinemax, owned by HBO, and Starz). Their advantage is that they are compensated directly from the cable subscriber, a kind of Netflix with a middle man (the cable system) and a regular programming lineup.
Considering what we have examined before, premium channels would seem to have the best of both worlds. You have subscribers (like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon). You have the advantages of being on air (like FX and AMC). And, in the case of HBO, you also have a standalone streaming service available without a cable subscription.
The HBO model is the best in the industry, but you’ve got to wonder. In this era of Peak TV, does the future of HBO really look that bright?
I’d say yes because HBO built its business on the shoulders of the best brand in the business. “It’s Not TV. It’s HBO” was brilliant. It was a stronger version of AMC’s “Stories Matter Here” because it more clearly explained that HBO was different and better.
It also gave the network brand permission to do anything. It could do drama, comedy, documentary (it has the best documentary division on TV), comedy specials and movies. HBO is so good at branding that its theme for HBO GO, “It’s HBO. Anywhere” speaks to the control issue that streaming currently owns.
HBO has a model to follow, but there is another issue to consider.
The relationship between content and brand
As part of our brand relaunch process, we do a brand audit. This exercise looks at everything the brand does, both physically and emotionally, so we can be sure the brand can fulfill the promise. One of the values we examine is brand-product relationships. Do the products themselves follow the brand?
For example, if the brand promise is about simplicity, do the products of the brand make things simpler for its customers? If they don’t, we tell the company that they shouldn’t create that product because the brand will become less believable. Do it only if it fulfills the promise.
How do the current networks stack up?
The interesting one for me here is AMC. “Story Matters Here” has directed the network to develop a menu of tough, interesting dramas. They may be of varied quality, but there’s no doubt that Preacher, Hell on Wheels, The Walking Dead, Better Call Saul, The Night Manager and Turn came from the same network. That’s not say they have the same style or storytelling angle, but that they fulfill the brand promise.
It’s when they networks away from their promise (if they even have one) when they struggle. For example, what does A&E stand for? Who is the A&E viewer? A&E stands for Arts & Entertainment, although the network has long dropped that association.
It has the successful Duck Dynasty (although it’s not as successful as it once was), but its lineup is littered with The Wahlburgers, Escaping Polygamy, Storage Wars and Bates Motel. The problem A&E has is that it doesn’t have a brand promise that can direct its programming. With that lineup, I don’t even know what that promise would be. This is a network in dire need of a rebrand.
Here’s what we know. Streaming networks have given back control to the viewer and probably started Peak TV in the process. Sophistication is in (even in comedy). And having a brand promise that is fulfilled by your programming is the road to success.
Visibility and preference win the day.
In reality, the way to create a successful network is the same process in creating a successful brand. You find the value that has the highest emotional intensity in the market (through quantitative research) and align your brand with that intensity.
The streaming services have done so well because their own models are aligned with a belief that had been increasing in intensity ever since Apple introduced the iPod: I believe things turn out better when I’m in control. That intensity has gotten stronger in the era of Peak TV.
The one thing missing in the TV landscape is a focused brand promise that is clearly stated and differentiating. Even with the positions of HBO and AMC standing tall, no one has clearly stated who the viewer is when they are watching that network.
Let’s make an assumption. Let’s pretend quantitative research demonstrated that the highest emotional intensity among viewers was the difficulty that FX President John Landgraf stated. That Peak TV means there’s too much good TV.
So how does Apple TV (or something like it) capitalize and align itself with that belief? Since we’ve been waiting years for Apple to fulfill the deathbed promise of Steve Jobs that he had “figured out TV,” we’re going to state what Apple TV should be.
It should be a portal that allows you to build your own network. Apple collects all the access to your channels and develops your own, customized network where you add shows and requests in one place. I’m not just talking about shows that appear on your cable system. It would include Netflix, Amazon and Hulu. That is, you would build your network with streaming networks, cable networks, premium channels and broadcast networks combined into one portal.
This may sound like something similar to a DVR, but not if you had the ability to have one search engine, program your networks, categorize your shows and, mostly importantly, see yourself in the brand itself.
You simply tell Apple TV (through Siri, I imagine) what you want to watch now and in the future, and it pulls it up in an interface that you control and program.
Apple CEO Tim Cook said the future of TV is apps. It’s in simplicity because right now (according to our imaginary research) viewers are overwhelmed with choices and have no easy way to navigate it all from all the sources at their disposal.
Our brand promise is that we make Peak TV watching simple because it’s the smart thing to do.
We have a brand promise and have given control to the viewer. It’s a demonstration of the way to win in today’s current TV landscape: To have a clearly defined brand. Without it, you are A&E.
In a way, I think that’s the problem the broadcast networks are having. The definitions of what describes NBC over CBS or any of the others are blurred, and often defined by on-air personalities. CBS probably has the best brand in the market but that’s mostly because it has procedurals that have many variations (such as the CSI and Law & Order series) and appeal to an older demographic.
We leave you with this. The most interesting broadcast network TV show of the last decade was Hannibal, a dreamlike expression of evil that was gorgeous and disturbing – and canceled after two seasons. It should have been a gigantic hit. But it aired on NBC and nothing about NBC’s brand gave it permission to run Hannibal. Viewers, therefore, were sure that Hannibal was a failure without seeing a frame of it.
If Hannibal had been on AMC, FX or HBO, I believe it would have been a smash.
Brand is the key to success for any business. It’s just as important in Landgraf’s Peak TV.
A market study in the era of Peak TV was last modified: July 12th, 2016 by Tom Dougherty
Introduction into the art of how to predict the success of marketing
The purpose for all messaging and communications is to have influence on the audience and to persuade it to act. However, getting your message to the proper audience in today’s economic climate is no longer an issue of choosing among the possibilities. Instead, it has become solely an issue of affordability. There is a need to predict the success of marketing messages. In retrospect, many experts have looked at the success of past advertising campaigns but hindsight is not valuable.
Companies do what they “need” to do, instead of what they “want” to do. How do you measure effectiveness and ensure that you win? These questions can be predicted if not measured. We needed a comprehensive model to predict the success of marketing so we created this marketing metrics. For that “need” to be effective, it must be the most meaningful in the market – and it must resonate considering the current situation, such as an economic climate that has changed the mindsets of consumers.
The unwillingness to address those needs and go with the same tired approach – messaging that’s nearly identical to what was delivered years ago and follows the tired reach-frequency format so many misguided marketers follow – produces a predictable, losing formula. After all, in changing times, there will still be winners and there will still be losers. The difference between the two is one understands the nature of human beings and the other doesn’t.
If you seek to understand something, it always makes sense to model it. The science of physics has been modeling natural laws for centuries. The marketing metrics model presented here is a formula that takes into account the emotional intensities of the primary human motivators within any changing situation, economic or otherwise, to formulate messages that will resonate most strongly with audiences, and predict the success of marketing messages. With this marketing metrics model, you will learn to recognize the elements and, if form follows function, you will be able to understand how to influence and change the model. (Read how precepts control behavior)
The Comprehensive Model of Persuasive Communications for marketing and branding. How to predict the success of marketingA New Human Model for Persuasive Communications
Human behavior can be modeled, as you will see, and this marketing metrics model in particular models the behavioral elements of persuasion. Let’s start by asking ourselves, what do we notice? How do we decide what is important and what we remember? When we examine the answers to those questions, we begin to re-think the waste inherent in current marketing. Looking at the elements of human behavior is quite different from modeling a communication process like reach and frequency. For this new model to be usable, it needs to act as a predictor of human behavior and, by definition, should be able to explain past communication successes and failures.
What Human Beings Notice Most
Human beings are egocentric. We cannot get out of our own way and see almost everything through the filter of self. As a result of this filter, what the receiver considers most when confronted with messages is not so much “what’s in it for me” (which is the traditional model of benefits and features) but rather “am I in it”? Human beings notice ideas and products that, in some way, reflect themselves. They remember products and ideas that help them accomplish their major goal of simply becoming themselves. That is why, if a doctor tells you to lose weight because of the onset of diabetes, we notice and pay attention to messages about weight loss — a message we might have ignored the day before. (Another example: Think of how many For Sale signs you saw when you were buying a house. Then think about how, amazingly, they seemed to disappear once you bought the house.)
The New Marketing Metrics Model to Predict the Success of Marketing and Marketing Messages
Imagine this: You are driving down the highway and you see a billboard that featured your photograph. Would you notice it, regardless of message? Absolutely. There is a communications process that empowers every message to become exactly that effective. It requires an anthropologist’s skill at understanding and modeling human behaviors and motivations. Once that has been uncovered, you would need to include that learning in the message itself. It would be nearly as effective – and in a similar way – as starting every message with the customer’s name and image. Through experience and empirical and scientific research, the human motivators have been effectively modeled here and the basic elements are cross-cultural, so personal impression can be noticed and acted upon. The basic queries in this marketing metrics remain constant regardless of culture or national origin. They are global. Understanding the eight elementary human motivators propels your message to the forefront and ensures it is remembered.
The Unquenchable Thirst for Meaning
Human beings, regardless of culture, seek meaning in all of their actions. (Consider this: We even talk to our dogs, expecting them to give reasons for the things they do.) This represents an opportunity for those communicators who understand this tremendous thirst for meaning. This means that the words we choose to create meaning to our messages and our brand is extraordinarily important. It means that everyone who is exposed to your offering or the communication of that offering sees this meaning and, in fact, will use the words you provide to them. This is a double-edged sword. If you get the meaning wrong, those with whom you are communicating will insert meaning that is not important or motivating to them and, therefore, fail to inspire them to your ideas, services, products or brands.
The Prime Motivators in the Marketing Metrics
The eight primary human motivators form the basics of self-identification and account for a human’s own sense of self — given that the fundamental needs for sustenance, shelter and health are sated. By addressing each of these in your message, you ensure that everyone who is exposed to your message (reach) will notice the message.
These eight prime motivators are the filters through which all messages are received, accepted, ignored or rejected. The more they reflect the “self-settings” of the recipient, the more likely they are to be acted upon.
Good Times vs. Tough Times and Times of Change
In creating this model, we looked at each of the eight prime motivators needed to predict the success of marketing messages and measured the differences between cultural norms in both good and tough economic times because most companies and brands in the U.S. have become handicapped by this situation. The marketing metrics model will demonstrate the differences in these motivators, predict success and explain failure. We are able to recognize the intensities of each motivator in relation to the situation as well as the rate with which they change during changing situations. In this case, that situation is economic: Going from “good times” to the “tough times” of today. The motivators below are listed in order of intensity during good times and tough times. Also, the way in which each motivator is defined changes slightly, depending on overall circumstances. It is those nuances that often make the difference between a winning message in the context of the times and a losing one. Each motivator has been given an intensity measurement, a ranking on a 10-point scale based on the particular situation. In addition to differing definitions, the rate of change for the intensity of a human motivator from one situation to another is referred to as Acceleration, and those rates are measured on a 10-point scale.
Desire(Good Times intensity 6.0 — Tough Times intensity 6.5 — Acceleration 8.0)
In good times, the most important human motivator is Desire. It derives its power from its relationship with the other motivators. Simply taking into account the desires of the target audience that you seek to influence is not nearly enough to promise success. It is simply a starting point. A traditional usage and attitudinal study (U&A Study) can discover what people need or want and the results are then used to create messaging that fulfills those desires. However, there is a more powerful means to understand and use this dynamic — one that will make it useful to you as a predictor of success and as a tool to understand past successes or failures in the marketing metrics.
In good times, the fulfillment of desires is defined as “What I Want.” In tough times, it is defined as “What I Need.” Comparing the relative importance of each definition in good or tough times demonstrates why the benefit you offered in relative good times will not resonate as important in tough times. As a general rule, all intensities are increased in tough times and each of the prime motivators is realized as more important. But understanding the nuances is critical in the marketing metrics because it’s what makes the difference between surviving in tough times. In this case, that means your message must be about “need,” not “want.” Think of it this way: In tough times, you “need” products to simply do their job. In good times, you “want” something more. In tough times, we simply need coffee, so you accept the one at the grocery store. In good times, you want Starbucks. And thus, you have a predictor of what Starbucks is currently going through unless they adapt their communications to the particular nuance.
Familiarity (Good Times intensity 5.0 — Tough Times intensity 7.0 — Acceleration of 6.40)
All communicators understand how important familiarity is to any idea, product, or service because if someone is unfamiliar with that product or service they are less likely to adopt it as a new behavior. Familiarity is also linked to top-of-mind awareness in the marketing metrics but even that is misunderstood. It is not so much about the familiarity of the brand or product, but what is it about that brand or product that makes it feels familiar and at ease.
In good times, the fulfillment of familiarity is defined as “What is Easy.” In tough times, it is defined as “What is Safest.” That is, in good times, consumers are looking to what makes things easy for them, even if its outcome may have risks. In tough times, risk is less accepted. Safe feels familiar to audiences now because it offers a refuge that may herald back to nostalgia.
For example, when you are thirsty in good times, you might choose what is “easy.” That is, we might grab what is most available. In tough times, we seek “safest,” meaning we might inconvenience ourselves and go somewhere else for something that is healthier or cheaper.
Leadership (Good Times intensity 4.0 — Tough Times intensity 5.0 — Acceleration of 7.0)
When we think about leadership as a human motivator in the marketing metrics we are not talking about taking the lead on something as we might in geopolitical terms. We are talking about leadership in terms of responsibility — meaning, “Who takes the responsibility for this action?” It is an internal question asked by everyone before they take any action.
In good times, from the point of view of the target audience, the fulfillment of Leadership is defined as “My Responsibility” (the consumer) and in tough times it is defined as “Your Responsibility” (the brand). In good times, audiences are more than happy to assume the responsibility because the risks are fewer. Once the element of risk has become more threatening, however, audiences want the responsibility to fall to the experts (or communicator of the message).
As strange at it may sound, according to the marketing metrics, we listen to experts more in tough times. Even if they were the ones who let us down in good times. That’s because the responsibility has shifted. Choice, as we will examine more closely in Scope, becomes less of a motivator.
Affirmation (Good Times intensity 3.0 — Tough Times intensity 7.0 — Acceleration of 6.99)
One of the ways human beings seek meaning is by looking for affirmation in their choices. Consumers wish to make sure that all of their actions are somehow affirmed as “being correct.” As a primary human motivator – regardless of culture, product and category – everyone that your brand or marketing message contacts are seeking this sense of affirmation and certainty.
Without this value in the marketing metrics, target audiences gravitate towards inaction: A refusal to make a choice or fall back into a habit of what “I have always done.” This is a surefire way to assure continued market dominance by the category leader. It means that if we do not provide our audiences with a sense of affirmation, little or no change will take place in the marketplace and the market leader will continue to benefit from this inaction.
In good times, the fulfillment of Affirmation is defined as making the Best Choice and in tough times it is defined as making the Right Choice. For example, in good times, we will look for the best choice in automobiles, something that is top of the line or sporty fits us best. In tough times, we look for those things that are right, such as a hybrid or something more economical. The world, in a way, has determined that it’s right. Talking about the choices consumers make in terms of affirming they have made the right choice makes your messages more meaningful in a difficult economic climate.
Scope (Good Times intensity 3.0 — Tough Times intensity 5.0 — Acceleration 7.75)
Scope is one the most complex of the human motivators in the marketing metrics. When we consider Scope, we see it in terms of how large audiences want their considered set to be. This is related to the other motivators, such as leadership or the transfer of the responsibility of the decision to others. What we seek to understand in looking at scope is what gives the customer or prospect permission to include the scope of either your product or category into their consideration.
In good times, the fulfillment of Scope is defined as having many choices and in tough times it is defined as having precision and more focus. In good times, audiences seek a wide scope, with lots of choices. In tough times, we are looking for “right,” so more focus is needed. Our considered set is smaller and we often give expert advice more weight. This, for example, is why Borders (which is all about choice) found it difficult to survive in a difficult economic climate.
Comfort (Good Times intensity 2.0 — Tough Times intensity 9.0 — Acceleration 9.18)
Human beings seek comfort no matter the situation, but the intensity surrounding it is much stronger depending on that situation.
According to the marketing metrics, in good times, Comfort is simply accepted as the norm. In tough times, it is actively sought. In good times, most of us feel that we already have comfort so a comfort message is relatively meaningless. In tough times, however, comfort is no longer a given. Therefore, we seek it and a comfort promise – instead of achieving, which has risks – resonates. Note the differences in intensities with this motivator within the two situations. It is only a 2.0 on a 10-point scale in good times. In tough times, it’s a 9.0 with one of the highest rates of acceleration among all the motivators.
Change (Good Times intensity 1.5 — Tough Times intensity 7.0 — Acceleration of 6.99)
The longing for human beings to be in control is a prime motivator. It is within the dynamic of change in the marketing metrics that the need for control becomes most evident. When we think about change as a key persuasive human motivator, we actually think about it as a barrier than as an attraction. The changing situation determines its intensity.
In good times, the resistance to Change is simply uncomfortable and in tough times it is outright feared. Therefore, in tough times, change messages should be softened, otherwise they will feel to audiences like a loss of control.
Community (Good Times intensity 1.0 — Tough Times intensity 7.0 — Acceleration 9.31)
Community in the marketing metrics, refers to the acceptance of the community that affirms our existence and is related to Affirmation. It represents the wish of all human beings to be part of an affirmed group. Very few people are capable of acting as completely independent individuals. Therefore, for the vast majority of people we wish to influence, we must understand the importance of community and the acceptance that community offers.
In good times, the fulfillment of Community is simply about the individual and in tough times it is satisfied through the safety of numbers. In good times, you can risk going it alone – being a leader, a rebel, etc. – because there is less at stake. In tough times, there is too much at risk in going it alone, so you seek safety in a community or being a part of a group.
Maketing Metrics Summary
Companies and their brands have reached the point in which their communications must change in order to survive in such a changing market. The marketing metrics of the Comprehensive Model for Persuasive Human Communications allows them to alter their messaging so that it becomes more meaningful in context. If nobody adapts to the current context, the default choice will always be the market leader. But the situation actually presents an opportunity for those chasing the market leader (as well as for the market leaders themselves) that reaches target audiences so deeply it causes action. How the primary human motivators are addressed will become the difference between who survives and who doesn’t.
DefinitionsCOMPREHENSIVE MODEL FOR PERSUASIVE HUMAN COMMUNICATIONS: A mathematical model that measures the impact changing conditions have on emotional intensities of primary human motivators. The model can be used to predict and formulate messages for brands that will resonate most strongly with target audiences.
INTENSITIES: The relative strength of human motivators expressed as a ranking on a 10-point scale based on the particular attributes examined by the model. ACCELERATION: The rate of change for the intensity of a human motivator from one state to another, measured on a 10-point scale.
VALUE OF MESSAGE CHANGE: A mathematical representation using intensity and acceleration to predict the value in terms of its overall impact on each motivator.
Stealing Share sponsored a quick survey of people who watched the Republican debate on August 6, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. The results are not terribly surprising but interesting none the less. The format of the debates raised a lot of hackles because of the sheer number of debaters. The viewers who took the study were evenly divided when asked if there were too many debaters.
But they were less divided when asked if too many debaters were left out. Only 26% believed the field should have included the debaters that took part in the pre-debate debate.
Donald Trump was the favorite candidate entering the debate by a large margin as 51.8% of the respondents held Trump as their favorite. None of the other candidates broke into double digits.
Did the debate change anyone’s mind?
We wanted to know so we asked. As it turns out, 26% of the respondents did have a change of allegiance after watching the debate but 74% stayed loyal to their pre-debate choice. The respondents hailed from both major parties with only Libertarians underrepresented. 40% said they were registered Republicans and 7.9% identified themselves as members of the Tea Party. Assuming that Tea Party supporters tend to vote Republican, roughly 50% of the respondents could be classified as being Republican. Democrats made up 28% of the study and 22.5% called themselves Registered Independents.
Three quarters of the respondents said they watched the entire debate and two thirds said they watched the post debate commentary. There were only small differences in viewing when we broke it down by political party affiliation. Independents tended to watch less of the debate with approximately 50% saying they did not watch the entire debate.
Who did they prefer after the debate?
The winners here were Donald Trump, John Kasich, Marco Rubio and Ben Carson with Trump still leading by double figures. Jeb Bush and Chris Christie seemed to have lost the most ground. But the negatives seems most severe with Governor Christie and Rand Paul. When asked who they would not be willing to support in the general election, many of the top candidates had very high negatives with Donald Trump being the most polarizing. He was the favorite and in the top five of those whom voters would not support.
Ben Carson had the fewest objections to voters in the general election and Marco Rubio seems acceptable to most voters.
When we queried respondents about the issues that were most important to them in this election, only reasonable gun control and changing the US to a Christian country were considered unimportant. There were some interesting differences between these issues when we looked at the motivations of the Trump supporters.
Generally speaking, the Trump supporters had higher intensities in the issues that mattered to them. And they mimicked closely the campaign talking points of the Trump campaign itself. Only reasonable gun control was viewed as unimportant with the Trump supporters and they were in favor of making the US a Christian country— unlike the rest of the respondents who did not favor this constitutional change.
We have no account executives or unnecessary support staff. We have no intervening personnel artificially placed between our clients and our strategists, researchers or creative director. We are talented and aggressive. We are lean and we are focused.
Being one of the world’s top branding companies comes with responsibility
Stealing Share has earned its place as one of the world’s top branding companies because our success rate is astounding. We succeed because we have no time for sacred cows and little patience for distractions.
Traditional branding companies (even traditional top branding companies) judge their success based on industry awards for graphic design. We don’t (even though we have won our fair share of them). We march to a different drum.
You see, Stealing Share has a singular purpose. We steal market share. We don’t think anyone should invest a dollar or a euro in rebranding or launching a new brand unless the goal is to increase your preference and therefore increase your market share. As a result, we have a tangible goal line to be measured against— one that rewards victory based upon accomplishment. We demand that the brands we build are persuasive and create preference.
As one of the world’s top branding companies, we have a responsibility to have all of the tools you need to succeed in-house. And we do.
Our brand strategists work directly with our clients— without an intermediary account executive. We have the world’s premier market research firm, Resultant Research, under our roof and our design and creative group take our strategies and make them shine uniquely in the market space.
Our work, as one of the top branding companies, has taken us all over the globe. We have branded products and companies on every continent but Antarctica. As a result, our brand strategists and market researchers are skilled at teasing out the cultural differences between your prospects and customers. We have created brands in Europe, the Sub-Continent, Asia, Oceana, Africa, the Middle East, and the Americas.
Everything you need (strategy, creative, design, and research) is in-house
Resultant Research has commissioned research studies in Mandarin, Spanish, French, Japanese, Italian, German, Dutch, Flemish, and almost every language you can think of (or in) including English.
But our real secret is our clients. We choose them well (and they choose us). They are also aggressive, care about tangible results, demand critical thinking, believe in projectable research and are willing to embrace change in order to secure results.
If you have something in common with them, then steal a few minutes of your time and we will show you how we do it.
We leave you with these words from Mike Reitz, Chief Operating Officer, Genesis Healthcare
“We did not know Stealing Share prior to hiring them. They came up with a game changing new brand for us in the short stay rehabilitation industry (PowerBack Rehabilitation). Now? Well now they have unlimited credibility with us.”
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