Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Proving the Obvious: Consistency Counts

It makes me crazy to read study after study proving the obvious. Yet in a risk averse marketing world nobody can make a decision based on common sense or practical knowledge, everyone needs a third party expert or reference. This bureaucratic, CYA-driven thinking yields Katrina-like performance.

For example consider recent research by Basement, Inc. (for SugarShots liquid cane sugar) designed to test the proposition that a cohesive graphic theme carried across channels will have a positive impact on the viewer.


They constructed a test whereby one group of random prospects saw an ad and were directed to a website that looked the same as the ad. The second group saw the ad and was directed to a site that looked different from the ad.

Wanna guess what happened?

Those who saw the consistent graphics were much more likely to take the survey and were 17 percent more likely to have an interest in purchasing the product.

Is there anyone working in advertising, marketing or any form of communications that doubts the value of consistent, one-voice messaging? Can anyone seriously argue that using different graphic treatments for related channels enhances the brand experience or enhances the way consumers process and respond to messages?

Consistent presentation sets expectations, creates a comfort and establishes a recognition zone that engages prospects and puts viewers in a frame of mind most likely to begin the sales process. Shrinks call this schema-driven processing; basically customers recognize familiar patterns which reduces anxiety and requires less brain power than seeing something new or different.

Savvy marketers not only use graphic continuity but they understand and use different channels as related parts of a single narrative. The ad sets the theme and provokes inquiry. The landing page extends the theme and gives the prospect opportunities to interact and customize the conversation. The follow-up e-mail or phone call or direct mail package wraps the theme around customized content and presents specific offers or calls to action. Consistent visual cues and language make the experience as complete and immersive as possible.

So please consider this obvious thing now proven definitively.
It is available for quotation and use as an all-purpose excuse or rationalization.


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