Following on from last week's blog, Accord Creative Director, Mark John, takes you through the three crucial steps of initiating behavioural change...

Step 1 - Create trust

How do you build trust with a person when the digital age has removed physical contact and interaction, the two most powerful means of establishing trustworthiness?

Marketers can no longer simply buy trust through advertising, it needs to be earned through better products and better services. We now live in a reality where consumers can instantly share with the world how very good or very bad their experience with your brand was. It's becoming less about what you say and more about what others say about you – remember, if you’re good at something you tell others, if you’re really good others tell you!

If you can, make them laugh. Neuroscientists say that laughter is an innate behaviour, triggered by the unconscious which is why it's almost impossible to fake real laughter. In layman’s terms, laughter is a way of saying 'I like you' or 'I want you to like me' - hence why when the boss makes a joke, everybody laughs. If relevant and possible, use humour in your advertising messaging.

Be consistent. Although our minds respond to interruption to expected outcomes, we live our lives in patterns and find refuge in the familiar. This is why the more our brand experience differs from touchpoint to touchpoint, the more distance we create between brand and customers.

Step 2 - Tell me a story

Storytelling is at the essence of how we communicate with one another; remember, early man spent hundreds of thousands of years sitting around campfires telling stories, and this innate instinct is just one of the reasons why the ‘about us’ page is one of the most visited pages on a website.

Conveying your story in a convincing way is the key to success; it will help to shape how your brand is viewed and build the most important thing that can exist between two parties - trust. Unsurprisingly the key to conveying your story and getting customers to connect with you is to be authentic. Share genuine insights that add value to your proposition and differentiate you from the competition, but don’t be afraid to show a little self-deprecation. Remember, customers aren’t stupid; we are instinctively programmed to respond to a feeling of wrongdoing and to articulate this affront to a wider audience. With social media providing the ideal platform for us to expose wrongdoers (as well as praise the work of do-gooders), it’s never been more important to make sure we practise what we preach in the brand stories we tell.

Step 3 - Remove the guesswork

Before looking to push your product onto customers, you first need to understand how they view things. Look to understand first, and to be understood second.

Whilst, as marketers, we all possess an innate understanding of what can make a memorable campaign, in this age of data-driven consumer insights, we must look to supplement our own understanding with first-hand experience from the customers our messages are aimed at.

According to research, there are approximately 500 billion word-of-mouth impressions created every day in social media, so people are only too willing to share thoughts and opinions across a multitude of subjects. The key is to harness the thoughts of the people in your market, listen to what they’re saying (rants and all) and use these to help create meaningful insights that guide your creative and marketing decisions.

It sounds so straightforward but we all too often forget these basic principles, puff our chests out and make claims to know exactly what will work, without getting a hint of validation from the people that matter. Remember, it’s not only customers that can sense when they’re being potentially hoodwinked, clients are probably even more attuned to this. So, what better way to remove any potential ‘subjectivity’ in your pitch conclusions than to speak to real customers, feedback their insights and create your campaign from there. Using this approach has served me well over the years and - providing your creative interpretation of the conclusions are correct - demonstrating ‘why’ before ‘what’ is a formula that’s guaranteed to succeed.

 

By Mark John, Creative Director at Accord. Huge credit for both articles must go to Douglas Van Praet, author of Unconscious Branding. His book has had a huge impact on how I view creativity and the subsequent work we produce as an agency.

To read part one of this blog series, click here.