The Importance of Being Subtle: New Frontiers of Marketing.
The British marketing maestro, David Ogilvy, used to say: “A good advertisement is one which sells the product without drawing attention to itself”. It sounds odd, but it works in synergy with our emotional perceptions. Nobody likes to feel pressured, nobody likes to feel overwhelmed, and nobody wants to be harassed. We want to feel like we are in control, and that we can choose wisely because our tastes are great.
Subtlety in advertising is about placing an ad in harmonic relation with our subliminal awareness – which is the part that is more influential when is about to make a decision. Through the use of design – colors, shapes, and concepts that intuitively communicate the essential message about the product advertised, there is no longer a need to hard sell, that it could result as counterproductive. That is because the interest of the viewer, and his positive predisposition, are gained naturally. At least, apparently.
Advertisements that trigger emotional responses are more effective in creating behavioral changes.
Your mind is more complex than you think.
Your brain loves to read information, and its favorite is that which induces subconscious processing. The most memorable advertising are the ones which do not look to be so. It happens involuntarily, but your mind extracts the marketing value of the product before the actual product is even mentioned.
For instance, figure a young woman dressing up to meet someone for a job interview: she is nervous and worried she won’t make a good impression. She is reluctantly walking towards the office where the interview will take place when she sees her favorite franchise Cafe’: Coffee Jam. She goes in and gets herself a takeaway coffee. After the first sip, her mood suddenly changes: now she is confident and she is ready for the interview. The slogan: your coffee for everyday challenges. It appears that the brand is left out, but subconsciously your mind will involuntarily connect the Coffee Jam Logo with that sweet feeling of the first coffee in the morning, who simply kick off your day and that we all can relate to. As more the distance between what you see and what the ad means, the more your brain will enjoy deciphering the message and will increase the chance of remembering it.
Bold is the New Black
Being subtle is a strategy, if not the way, to be bold. It is, indeed, a choice of courage to rely on a communication strategy that doesn’t put the product under a direct spotlight. Some may fear that the actual sale could fade away, unnoticed, in the background, but those also underestimate how a message that comes across as pushy or needy is perceived negatively. The reason is, deep down in the heart nobody wants to be influenced, but rather to be engaged.
We like challenges. We like to be inspired. Advertising is not just marketing, it is an art form that is capable of associating an item or a service with the emotions to which the viewer can relate to. Of course, if I am an electrician and I want to promote my services, it is important to communicate the value of my professionalism in clear terms. However, if I want to also build awareness about my brand, the extra bold step I can take is to advertise my company without showing off my work itself, but rather the way my job will make you feel after.
Chasing new customers is like calling your date the following day ten times just to say “hi”. Interest them, instead, through the fine art of subtlety, creating content that makes your customer feel you are the right person to choose, it is the new frontier of marketing.
Want to know more about subtle marketing strategies? Read about inbound marketing here.