TheAwarenessFallacyShift your focus away from awareness and towards action
Once upon a timeI was a young impressionable lad sitting in a lecture taking notes as my Integrated Marcommlecturer talked through the AIDA model. Later one evening I probably even read about it halfconscious in a Kotler et al book.Four years on, the simple and rational model seems even more unrealistic and impractical as itdid way-back-when.2010 saw even more briefs that called for awareness tactics to be used to ‘increase sales’ i.e.these plans hoped for a direct impact on sales - a consumer action but asked for an informationaltactic.I read media plans and saw banner creative that was littered with reach and awareness buzzwords. It all made my heart sink.
And then I readThis interesting blogpost from Adam Ferrier about the new approach Naked Communications istaking to bring to life their Change Agency positon (or reputation).It’s about ﬂipping the old AIDA model of thinking on its head - making ACTION the focus. The Old Way Naked’s New Way The logic behind the new way
Implementation?Adam lists many interesting and (in my view) valid reasons why an inverse AIDA is actually morerealistic and logical for communication today.Instead of reiterating those arguments, I thought about how one would go about implementingthis into creative planning frameworks and client mindsets.This led me to consider:• The CALL TO ACTION, everyone’s favourite.• How ACTION is briefed to creatives, the creative brief.• The THOUGHT PROCESS needed to ensure an action focus.
pt.1. Call to ActionThere already is an obsession with the ‘Call to Action’. “What’s the CTA?” is something we alreadyoften ask when querying messaging.Unfortunately most of the time, that involves slapping on a URL or phone number.So the starting point is to review what the CTA should or could be!? What Call To Action Do We Really Need?
pt.1. Call to ActionFor Example:2011 sees the introduction of the roll-less toilet paper. An eco innovation that will lead tomassive paper saving, after all, unless you’re a primary school art teacher, you’re throwing outthose brown rolls. Here I fear will be an example of communications that focus on Awarenessbuilding. Following the old logic of now you know about this new product, you will be interestedand change your behaviour and buy it.As with many Green messages, it easy to justify the cause but harder to make people change tothe eco product. Instead the consumer should be asked to do an action that has a strong link tobuying toilet paper. Perhaps this could be something to do with the action of throwing out theroll before reﬁlling with or buying the new one.
pt.2. PrerequisitesSometimes awareness is enough. ’90% oﬀ Mulburry handbags’ will make most women act. Butmostly its not. Action requires the consumer to be activated - physically to do something ormentally to think or ask something.Knowing the prerequisites to a purchase of the product and/or competitors leads to an idea as towhat action should preceed purchase.
pt.3. BriefingOnce you start viewing the CTA as more than a URL and understanding the prerequisites topurchase, you can frame this knowledge within the Creative Brief.Diﬀerent templates focus on diﬀerent ways of brieﬁng creatives. Proposition based briefs maynot provide enough direction as what action should be incited.Ask and answer this question and the creatives will know what to do:What is the roll of the communication?
pt.3. BriefingThis BHH London brief format presented by Leon from JVM Stockholm (in a few diﬀerentpresentations here) puts this question front and centre. Something the M&C Saatchi brief I’mused to does not highlight. !"#$%&#!()#$*&(#+!" #$%&(()*+,-.+/0" 1,2+)3%*&4-2.5$+6" 7*8-9&4-2.5$+:" ;*)()2.+.)-<" =,>2+8-+.8+.)-?" 4385%@" A-585%3%-+B" C8-98+)*.%2D" E%F,.*%3%-+&!G" 7,95%+ My Old Way, the M&C Brief Contents My New Way, the BBH Brief template
To reviewWhat I have concluded so far:1. Forget awareness, think action. Reframe and ask what would be a better CTA?2. Determine the direct predecessor actions to purchase?3. Use 1 + 2 to = 3, that is what is the roll of the communication. Put it in the creative brief.
Digital?This is all extremely relevant for digital. Often digital is pigeon-holed as an engagement channelbecause the links to an oﬄine purchase are too hard to establish. What results are elaboratebrand experience campaign sites that are supposed to make you love the brand.What absolute rubbish we create when think like this!!Digital actions can be very relevant for purchase, but the value of diﬀerent (now commonly)sought after actions need to be assessed to what impact they have on purchase. What value is a ‘Like’ on Facebook? What value is a clickthru on a banner?Today these are both commonly measured ‘digital actions’ . Do these relate to a prerequisiteaction to purchase? That’s for you to determine.
Action!!!I am continually asking myself ...What value does this have?Is this an important action?Will this impact sales?I am positive this is creating stronger campaign concepts for clients.I hope that I am not alone on this. If wish feel inspired, leave your thoughts in the comments ordiscuss with me on Twitter: @marekting.
ThanksSome thoughts and ideas by Marek Wolski @marekting The Forest Through The Trees: http://thrutre.esOriginal materials and diagrams that inspired this post come from: Adam Ferrier, Consumer Psychologist: http://consumerpsychologist.blogspot.com/ Leon Phang, The Planning Lab: http://www.theplanninglab.com/ http://www.slideshare.net/theplanninglab