In today’s flat world of intense competition and infinite media options, consumer attention spans are fleetier than nano seconds. So the challenge to marketers is not just about getting the campaigns to push brands into the consumers' consideration set, but more importantly creating brand preference. The more the consumer is sure about his/her preferred brand before walking into the store, the lesser is the probability of competitors luring them away with attractive promotions and discounts.
Brand Preference can only be created by sustained advertising. And to create and sustain a campaign for a long period, I believe you need the following seven powerful elements.
1. People- People create ideas. If you don’t have the right talent, you will not create good ideas, nor will you be able to sustain idea creation.
2. Passion- Advertising is a passion business. If you don’t have the passion and passionate people, you will not be able to consistently produce work that delivers in the marketplace.
3. Focus- Have a very sharp definition of what the brand and the campaign stand for and importantly an understanding of consumer behaviour. A cluttered and confused message in a cluttered environment is a recipe for disaster.
4. Consistency- Once you have arrived at a good idea, stay with it. Don’t let the short term vagaries of the marketplace shake your belief in a strong idea. The Santoor soap campaign has been on the same idea for 20+ years and has been instrumental in making it the third largest selling soap in the country.
5. Simplicity- Helps the message connect with the diversity that India is. Let the campaign have the 'kiss' to connect with people.
6. Staying relevant- While the core idea remains the same, to sustain it over a long period it needs to stay relevant. It has to capture the ethos of the changing times.
7. Neutrality of media- With new media options emerging every day, it is imperative that the campaign has the ability to deliver across all mediums. Conventional media alone is not an option anymore.
In essence, a campaign needs to be Simple, Eternally relevant, Vibrant, Emotive and media Neutral to sustain longer than usual.
(Nagesh Alai is CFO, Asia Pacific & Africa at DraftFCB.)