As mentioned earlier, big, established brands have inertia and their immediate response to advertising is small, unless they have something new and relevant to offer. Advertising influences the sales of these brands by enhancing perceptions and sustaining interest, thus channelling and retaining them in consumers’ repertoire.
The themes and theories described in this section echo the long-term impact of advertising. Other than persuasion, which can substantially lift sales both in the short and the long-term, the advertising mechanisms primarily benefit brands by imparting a long-lasting upward thrust on sales.
In the context of execution, the theories tell us to associate relevant messages, symbols, images, affinity, relationships and/or emotions in a memorable way so as to infuse the brand with interest and status, and powerfully influence perceptions as the brand is experienced and talked about. (Brown, 1991).
For the scenarios listed in Exhibit 22.9, take a few minutes to consider which mechanisms are better suited to achieve the distinctly different advertising objectives for each of the products. (Click on the exhibit to view answers).
The scenarios highlight that while advertising mechanisms work in combination, depending on the nature of the product, some mechanisms are more effective in achieving desired objectives.
Persuasion and salience, for instance, are important for new consumer goods. Market leaders on the other hand, rely more on likeability to appeal to the masses, and salience to remain top of mind.
The importance of using the right mechanisms is illustrated in the next section, through the Coca-Cola Zero case where the launch advertisement, which relied heavily on likeability, failed to distinguish the new variant from Diet Coke.
Creativity is the key ingredient in any advertising. It is what stimulates consumers and arouses their attention. It “magnifies” the presence of some of the more engaging elements of advert in consumers’ minds.
It is vital that the creative elements intricately bind the message to the brand, and that the mechanisms employed are best suited for the objectives of the advertising. In the context of advertising, this is what we refer to as functional creativity (Exhibit 22.10).
In addition to creativity, building long lasting memories and associations requires consistency and repetition. Consistent, coherent content makes it feasible to construct a lucid exposition of the brand. Creativity, consistency and repetition keep alive the neural pathways around the concept of the brand in the brain.
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