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Can Consumers Name Your Commercial in Just 3 Seconds?

Posted on  2 March 10  by 

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iStock_000005697102XSmall - is management for mePerhaps you’ve seen episodes of Name That Tune on the Game Show Network (or maybe you’re old enough to remember when it was a hit in the 1970s).  Regardless, contestants competed to identify a song by listening to as few notes as possible.  I was reminded of that show while watching commercials during the Olympics last week.  Within the first few seconds of seeing a new ad, I knew it was for McDonald’s.  There were no golden arches or kids eating French fries to help me; there was just a vibe, an emotional connection that immediately made me recognize the ad as McDonald’s.

In an age when brands are identified by an icon like a duck or gecko, a recognizable sound like the deep voiceover of Morgan Freeman, or a celebrity spokesperson, I found it refreshing to see an ad that relied on none of those but still made a lasting and memorable impression.

It also left me wondering, “How many brands could do that?”  Instead of testing recall or being sure your logo/spokesperson/icon appears within the first magic number of seconds, could your advertising hold up to the “I can name that commercial in 3 seconds” test?  As I visit with members, the common response I get is “no”, immediately followed by “what are the best ways to get our marketing efforts to resonate at such a deep and emotional level?”

We blogged earlier on Shared Values, and the “secret sauce” to compelling marcomm is rooted in that research.  It starts with understanding that loyalty comes from an emotional bond you create with your consumer.  Sure, you need to have a great segmentation strategy and a smart value proposition.  But you also have to hit your consumer with messages that tie into deeper held beliefs and universal needs.

Our most recent work profiled an example from Clorox’s Kingsford Charcoal, a story that really resonates with Council members.  The brand team for Kingsford did an outstanding job of organizing the brand’s communications around the idea of “bringing the tailgate home”, which enables emotional connection to friends and family around the brand.  As a result, the Kingsford team dramatically boosted performance of a mature brand in a mature category.  MLC members, click the case link below for more details.

So, can consumers identify your marcomm in less than 3 seconds without the benefit of icons, spokespeople, or brand images?  If not consider the universal need that your brand fulfills – that “higher order” connection you can make with your consumer – and then filter your possible marcomm “hooks” against that universal need.

MLC Members, check out the Kingsford case study or watch this brief video on how to use these universal needs and cultural shortcuts.  And if you do pass the 3 second test, what is your secret sauce?

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