In psychological terms, context is almost everything. Much as we like to think that we know how we will act and react in a given situation, without the richness of...
You spend all that money on marketing because you want people to notice you, right?
If you had the choice between knowing that 50% of your target market had seen your ad and 10% had seen it you’d be crazy not to want the higher figure, wouldn’t you?
Well, perhaps not.
Consider two people.
One walks into the room, taps you on the shoulder and says, “Hi. I’m the new accountant and I’m the best accountant you’ve ever met. I do everything better than other accountants. In surveys I came top every time. Nice to meet you.”
The second is in the room before you arrive and you don’t really notice him. He’s quietly going about his business. You don’t pay any attention, but there’s a constant stream of people headed his way and they seem happy. You’re vaguely aware that he’s sitting where the accountants sit.
When you need to speak to the accountant which would you rather speak to?
In the first case even though everything you’ve been told could be true you are wary. You may very well start collecting any evidence you can find that what he’s told isn’t true. He’s definitely got your attention but he’s hardly won you over.
It’s conceivable that he might be able to craft a story that told you all the same things and that wouldn’t seem quite so pushy. But, even then, unless it was told in a context that was natural, it is hard to imagine you would accept it whole-heartedly and take it at face value.
So why would the situation be any different with an advert?
We all know that adverts are trying to sell us things. In every individual influence study that I’m aware of (group influence is different) becoming consciously aware of the influential component entirely negates its impact.
So there is a strong case to suggest that conscious engagement – which is, of course, what all the market research tracking communication is preoccupied with – is the wrong tool entirely for understanding if your marketing is effective.
What counts is that your communication creates and leverages the right unconscious associations.
Recently a study conducted by researchers from Bath University tracked engagement using an eye-tracking device to gauge the levels of attention paid to advertisements placed in an episode of Frasier.
Importantly, participants were unaware that the adverts were the focus of the study.
The results showed that viewers paid less attention to likeable creative adverts that are generally believed to be more effective. Instead, they paid more attention to factual information-giving ads, even when they didn’t like them.
This suggests that if you want to influence people so that they feel differently about your brand, you will be more effective shaping your communication so that it gets put in front of people in such a way that doesn’t cause them to stop and evaluate it consciously.
Imagine how different your advertising comunication and media strategy would be if these were your goals!
Image courtesy: Daniel Kulinski