You have to feel sorry for ideas. For something that sounds so soft, they have an awful lot of hard work to do. As the previous blogs in this series have identified, they not only need to be original and make your audience ‘think’, they also need to be relevant to your audience, make a personal connection and make them ‘feel’.
As if that wasn’t enough, our experience tells us that these two things alone won’t suffice in bringing about the ROI that the business demands. The third strand in the DNA of a commercially effective idea is ‘do’ – that is to say, it has such a strong call to action that the audience can’t help but feel compelled to do something about it.
If you take a moment to reflect on your ideas and the reaction from your audience, you can score them on the audience response scale:
Level 1: “Zzzzzzzzzzz” – the audience falls asleep and feels no compulsion to act.
Level 2: “That’s nice to know, but so what?” – the audience is interested, but you haven’t convinced them that they need to do anything about it.
Level 3: “I hadn’t thought of that; tell me more, I need to act!” – you’ve got them hooked! You created a commercial imperative that provoked a response.
Ultimately, there must be a compelling call to action for the audience that makes your idea business critical, not just something that they can sweep under the carpet or resist the urge to engage with.
The good news is, there are three different ways of provoking an audience response that are tried and tested with our clients and generate award-winning campaigns:
Boiling frog: Highlight a threat that is occurring gradually but that your audience hasn’t become fully aware of yet. The parable goes that if you put a frog into boiling water it will jump straight out again, but if you heat it slowly it will not perceive the danger that surrounds it. If this is happening to your audience, you can help.
We took this approach with ‘The Cost Boomerang’ for KPMG, where we proved that businesses were on a diet, not a lifestyle change, by cutting costs unsustainably throughout the recession and damaging profit margins.
Pot of gold: Highlight an opportunity that your audience hasn’t realised yet. Make it real, and think about how you can help them get there.
Our ‘Branching Out’ campaign for King & Wood Mallesons quantified the significant untapped financial opportunity for European businesses and investors in China, now and in the future, delivering significant impact across PR, marketing and BD.
Ticking time bomb: Highlight a new, significant issue that threatens your audience’s future. What is the consequence of inaction? When do they need to act, and how?
You can find more details about the DNA of a commercially effective idea, and the models we use for generating the right ideas for our clients, in our eBook ‘No idea? The Marketer’s Guide To Generating Ideas That Sell’, here.
This post is part of Man Bites Dog’s ‘No Idea?’ blog series on creating marketing campaign ideas that sell.