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How And Why Does Consumer Behavior Change?
by: Leslie Zane
How can you change consumer behavior? This is one of the biggest questions corporations face. But it’s also much more than that. It speaks to political campaigns, social movements, and anything else that requires winning over proverbial “hearts and minds.”
Five Ways to Score Big in the Super Bowl Ad Game

It’s easy to get caught up in the hype about Super Bowl commercials, but at $5 million per 30-second spot, we think advertisers shouldn’t settle for people talking about their brand the next day, they should achieve top-line growth. So here are the Triggers’ five principles from our Advertisers’ “Playbook” to ensure that our clients get the most bang for their buck(s):

1. It’s not just about entertainment, it’s about elevating brand perception
Michelob must’ve dropped a mint on their “Perfect Fit” commercial, starring super-buff, superhero Chris Pratt, playing an egomaniacal version of himself. The spot follows Pratt as he pumps iron, brags about his new gig, and yet curiously never mentions Ultra’s main selling point—that its low calorie/low carb formulation helps him keep fit. The spot is entertaining, but the viewer doesn’t learn anything about how the beer tastes, whether it’s responsible for Pratt’s abs of steel, or why he suddenly wants his own beer truck. Pratt is handsome and charming, but will it help Michelob’s bottom line? We predict not.

2. It’s not about conversation, it’s about conversion
Agencies want their spots to be the topic of conversation, but trending on Twitter doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve created an effective commercial. Super Bowl ads may generate a lot of “likes,” but twenty years of CEM case studies show that liking a brand bears no relationship to sales. When these commercials are done well, they can be life-changing for a brand. Apple’s iconic “1984” spot for its new line of computers provided both conversation and conversion, with millions of consumers ditching their old PCs for the then-new-fangled Mac.

3. It’s about more than building up your brand, it’s about removing barriers
Tech commercials are nothing new for the ‘Bowl, but Wix did something genius when they bought the first of three successive Super Bowl ads in 2014. Instead of using sexy spokesmodels like Go Daddy or Apple’s feature-film style scenarios, Wix addressed the barrier that prevents people from using them, head on. Realizing that most of us find the idea of building a website intimidating—a major obstacle to purchase—the brand hired retired football players to illustrate the ease of building a site using Wix. Paired with a simple tagline—“It’s that easy”—the brand exploded, reporting a 54% growth in revenue in a three-month period.

4. It’s not about just getting a laugh, it’s about serious growth.
Even though many viewers consider the commercials a high point of the game, studies show 80% of Super Bowl ads don’t spur any increase in sales. That’s because emotion—whether it’s making consumers laugh or cry—doesn’t translate to growth unless it organically links back to the brand. For example, the teaser for this year’s M&M spot shows beloved curmudgeon Danny Devito blissfully lolling about in a pool of melted chocolate—a chocolate lover’s fantasy. By combining the trifecta of humor, fantasy, and a solid (well, melted) connection back to the brand, two decades of research into consumers’ subconscious has shown that this M&M ad is a guaranteed success.

5. You don’t want your product to be famous for 15 minutes, you are in this to win it.
Do you want an ad that makes your creative team famous, or do you want an ad that makes your brand famous? Chrysler took a chance and spent $12.4 million to film a simple, but iconic, commercial showing rapper Eminem driving through Detroit. As much a love letter to the city as it was an ad for the car, Wieden + Kennedy’s two-minute spot achieved success on an artistic level, along with a sales jump for Chrysler to the tune of 50% over the next couple years.

This spot is next-level because it starts off in your face, splintering consumer preconceptions—that an automotive brand based in Detroit can’t possibly produce a truly high end car, asking: “What does a town that’s been to hell and back know about luxury?” It quickly becomes clear that the city is a metaphor for the brand. As the shots shift back and forth between scenes of the city, its hard-working residents, and the sleek lines of the vehicle, we’re rooting for these underdogs. We’re on their side! By the time Eminem slips out of his ride, walks into the beautiful old theater, and strolls up the aisle to join a gospel choir, we’re full-on believers—in Detroit, its inhabitants, and Chrysler.

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Leslie Zane is founder and president of the Triggers, a growth strategy consulting firm that helps clients change minds to deliver disruptive growth.

5 Ways to Fail At Emotional Marketing
If you want to succeed at emotional marketing, the last thing you should do is communicate emotion. While this might seem counterintuitive, over 23 years of case studies at the Triggers proves that emotion is the output to be achieved not the input. Here are the top 5 ways companies fail at emotional marketing today:

1. Overpromise, under-deliver
When a well-known coffee company billed their beverage as the one that will “help you live a fuller life,” they failed. Why? Because that is a lot to promise, even from a deliciously steamy, caffeinated mug of goodness. Think of all that’s involved in living a fuller life. Does coffee play a part? Perhaps. Will it make your life complete? Probably not.

2. Skipping rungs on the communication ladder
A common mistake is to assume that your customers know what your brand is about and to leap straight to the emotional benefit. Only once your brand story is well understood can you move into emotional territory. And this isn’t solely true of new product launches—even brands around for 50 years often need to reacquaint consumers with their core benefits.

3. Disconnected promises
Another common mistake is for a brand to embrace an emotion it has no hope of delivering. Let’s take “confidence.” A fine sentiment. But a bottled water or a shower curtain will not deliver confidence no matter how many times you say it. In order for emotional benefits to work, they must come organically out of the product experience, not off a list of trendy buzzwords.

4. Emotion without expertise
If you communicate emotion without establishing a clear expertise, you leave your consumers vulnerable for poaching. It’s remarkable how many brands forget this essential ingredient for success. Every brand has to establish its unique knowhow. To create a sustainable competitive advantage, consumers must understand what your brand does better than any other.

5. Telling, not showing
When you try to tell consumers how they should feel, you don’t sell, you alienate. Nobody likes to be told what to do or how to feel, yet many companies insist on expressing emotions overtly. Instead of instruction, use illustration, and let consumers come to their own conclusions.

If You Want to Build Superiority, Don’t SAY YOU’RE SUPERIOR
Managers spend lots of time and money trying to substantiate claims that their brand is better than the competition: “Consumers prefer Coffee A over Coffee B, two to one! ” “Eighty-percent of microbiologists polled agree that Scrubbing Agent X kills germs more effectively than Scrubbing Agent Y!” Superlatives are trotted out like racehorses, but they don’t guarantee a winning message.

In a meta-analysis of 40 new product and existing brand concepts, Triggers demonstrated that overt claims of superiority don’t drive purchase interest nearly as effectively as a differentiated positioning with relevant multi-sensorial cues.

In fact, a product with the right Brand and Category Triggers® outperforms concepts with overt superiority claims by an average of 20 points of purchase interest.

Consumers are skeptical creatures and when you tell them a product is superior, their antennae go up along with their barriers. But identifying a brand’s specific Triggers® enables marketers to leverage positive associations consumers already have in their minds, making them far more likely to buy.

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