What should you focus on? Facts or emotions? Best answer: it depends. Both together can be a very powerful combination and this avenue should typically be pursued first. In doing so, its critically important to keep the message simple, consistent and bold or distinguished from the field so as to attract attention and aid in automatic recall. One prolific writer with Verge noted recently the refreshing nature of Samsung’s Galaxy advertising — which focused on important, differentiating facts — instead of the kind of advertising that may challenge the intelligent viewer’s patience with emotion centered advertising that does not cut to the chase and help with the task of evaluation and purchase. Here are Vlad’s words:
“Gone are the live orchestras and grandiose theatrics of former product presentations. The new Samsung gets to the point quickly and delivers a clear and concise message. You want amazing photos in all circumstances? Here’s a pair of cameras with f/1.9 lenses and lightning-quick operation. You want performance, power efficiency, and the best possible display? Here’s the world’s first 14nm processor, multi-standard wireless charging, and the most pixel-dense display ever put on a smartphone.
In the place of strained metaphors about quad-core processors being akin to four wind turbines, Samsung is now appealing to consumers with facts and numbers that matter. The Galaxy S6 recharges twice as fast as the iPhone 6. Samsung’s metal is “50 percent stronger” than that used in other phones and “will not bend.” These are the things that people care to know. Instead of trying to sell us on gimmicky and overwrought features, Samsung has returned to the more reliable strategy of addressing the needs we already have. That’s the same approach that Apple took when it expanded its iPhone lineup last year with some long overdue larger devices, and the payoff for that move was the biggest sales success in corporate history.” — Vlad Savov, Verge writer from “The new Samsung is arriving just in time,” http://www.theverge.com/2015/3/9/8174397/samsung-future-new-galaxy-s6-change
Vlad’s comments get us thinking about what we want to hear from advertisers, at least on a rational level. Samsung did a great thing in focusing on key attributes. That focus is itself “key”. If they were not relevant attributes or differentiating ones, the ad would fall flat in its effectiveness. When presenting these attributes, does Samsung ignore emotion and create just a fact filled, rational ad? No. They combine the elements. And for a given purpose, it works and works well.
Focusing just on emotions without the “facts” lends itself to higher level brand advertising which is meant to trigger automatic emotional reactions towards a brand. While these kinds of ads are very important they are not appropriate as the main vehicle to drive sales in a competitive marketplace with other emotionally imbued brands. However, the pure emotional messaging provides the platform of trust and social appeal that more fact-based, product-based advertising can effectively leverage.
In terms of driving sales or having a bottom line impact, advertising that is purely emotional will not move the needle much in the immediate term. This is where facts need to be included. But not just any facts. They must be important and differentiating and targeted to create a given kind of market and competitive reaction.
On the other hand, pure fact-based marketing will be effective for specific needs. But it will likely not live up to its full potential because of lack of viewer attention, engagement and recall. It needs to be enhanced by story-telling, thematically consistent imagery, brand equity cues, etc. These kinds of enhancements bring emotion into the equation.
So, its nice to say, focus on the key emotional cues and focus on the key features for the factual elements — but harder to implement. How do you know what to focus on, in either domain? The bottom line is that you need to find out. Do market research. And use approaches that will give you valid results. Find a market research consultant either inside your current organization or through an external vendor who understands not only market research, but also communications strategy.
Market research done without communications strategy and communications done without market research will fall short of their potential impact. But together, they will exceed expectations.