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Simple ideas 1

If as a marketer you manage to learn and implement ONE thing which will improve your results the most it is this: Keep it Simple.

Easier said than done, but if you knew that this focus on a clear, coherent single benefit could make the difference between barely above baseline and breakthrough, would you strive harder to achieve it?

The table below shows a large fmcg’s initiatives growth correlation with the simplicity of the idea found within the advertising.  95% of single idea advertising resulted in growth >2% and 63% in growth > 8%.  In contrast advertising with more than one idea contained within it performed significantly less well.

As marketers we are responsible for strategies – we write concepts and briefs and then (mostly) agencies or internal creatives transform the strategy into advertising.  We need to make sure that this single idea flows through from concept to final advertising.

It’s surprising how hard it is to focus on just one idea or benefit.  We always try to sneak in double benefits, justifying them in some way.  Here’s an example of a concept for a new paper towel which at concept stage was offering 3 benefits (all you need, confidence and streak-free shine):

NEW Glass & Surfaces together with your cleanser – that’s all you need. You can be confident that it will clean your windows and that it will leave nothing behind but a streak-free shine.  

This concept would have scored well, because it was offering the consumer a lot.  The problem was, that the team wouldn’t know exactly WHAT the consumer liked and so what idea to focus on for the advertising brief.  Extremely hard to execute in media and so…low growth expectations. If at concept stage, the marketers had identified one benefit which had either the most distinctive or broadest appeal, they may have nailed it.

There are some exceptions to the rule – where your brand has already established benefit – like softness in leading fabric softeners, it’s OK to reassure on softness and to focus on a primary benefit of, for example, fragrance.

NEW Daffodil and Peony Fabric Softener – not only gives your laundry the tantalising freshness of daffodils and peonies, but also the softness you’d expect from our leading brand.

Here, the advertising could focus storytelling on tantalising freshness whilst showing nice soft visuals/fabrics to reassure the consumer that it also delivers on the softness as expected.

So how do you achieve it?  Well, you need to be able to assess based on the product performance, the consumer response and your gut instinct what is the most distinctive benefit with the broadest appeal.  There are of course test methodologies to prove this out, but in my experience a good marketer will get to know how to ‘read’ and predict this before the quantitative study comes in.

So – let’s see a great example of single idea – here’s a wonderful campaign from Intermarché Orange Juice.  A busy, competitive market, particularly in Europe.  Intermarché identified that the freshest orange juice as the distinctive benefit.  Everything about this execution focusses on how fresh the juice is.  It doesn’t talk about the higher nutritional value, or the sourcing of the oranges. All something you could have thrown into the mix.  It is single minded.  And it grew fresh orange juice sales 4600% per store.

Click here for youtube summary of the campaign

Another pitfall is to mistake product features for benefits and so have a whole list of features to sell.  The temptation is to try to list all features on the basis that different consumers will be attracted to different features.  You can avoid this, by focussing on the benefit to the consumer, and not the product feature – ie. ‘what’s in it for me’ vs ‘what’s in the product’.

Let’s take the Apple Watch.  It has a whole host of features gadget geeks like me will love, but outside of early adopter tech desire, I didn’t really get why I would buy one, until someone asked me to test one for them and I got to experience the real benefits.  Unlike the hugely successful iPod advertising which focussed on the emotional benefit of truly losing yourself in the cool of music, apple watch advertising has focussed solely on product design.  I think they are missing a trick – nothing prepared me for the truly unique benefits I would get from it. To illustrate, see the table below

Relying on early adoption and design desire is a strategy, but feels like a massive waste of potential – this watch liberates me from my phone, but without having to give it up altogether – it’s the methadone for iPhone-addicts!!  Apple are tight-lipped on sales figures, but apparently growth is ahead of internal forecasts.  The question for me is are they as high as they could be?

So – to summarise:

  1. Keep it benefit focussed
  2. Choose ONE benefit – you can always use another benefit for a leverage phase or another consumer segment.
  3. Make sure the ONE benefit you choose flows from your consumer appeal to the agency brief and out the other side in fantastic creative.

Then wait for the growth…

As a picture can speak a thousand words… some more single idea/benefit examples as pause for thought:

Simple ideas 5

Simple ideas 6

Simple ideas 7

Simple ideas 8

Simple ideas 9

Simple ideas 10

Originally posted here by @toniaOC

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