30 days ago

I was told there would be NO Math

By Norty Cohen

Most of us didn’t go to school to be actuaries. We’ve signed up for the amorphous profession of championing ideas that don’t stink. 

Sure, creating something new every day is an on-going challenge, but that’s the business marketers have chosen.

Great ideas, freshly executed, make us proud of our industry. 

It’s the blank page to start the day. The formation of art, copy and motion that make a new statement.  The pure creativity of right-brain thinking.

Yet, tastes are personal.  No one has to like what you like, whether you are the decision-maker, the consumer or an observer. Getting liked is hard work. Getting purchased is even harder.  Building loyalty and long term business, well, that’s the game.

So no matter how shiny the idea is, ultimately, ROI comes into play and it’s back to basic algebra and left brain analytics.

Math doesn’t always mix with original thinking, but here’s how it can be a factor: 

The Math Behind How and Why People Adopt Brands.

Moosylvania has been conducting annual research on this topic since 2013.

Using two national research firms, one to frame the questions and another to execute the panels, we interviewed more than 10,000 consumers about their favorite brands and how they connect.

That led to our book, The Participation Game, which established the notion that one-way consumer messaging is becoming ineffective and old school.  Basically, it’s threading a needle.  Maybe it works sometimes.  But never easily.

In 2007 smartphones enabled immediate two-way messaging. Now, screen sessions exceed the equivalent of one day a week – 4+ hours and 150x per day, per person. And that means every brand message has company.  Lots of it.

Data barrages screens mechanically all day long. Adblocking is in everyone’s DNA.  That means two-way messages and conversion to an action are the end goals.

Our research showed it can be done.  People still connect with experiences, movements, moments and other people. Listen to them and they’ll listen back:

  • 24% say their favorite brand provides activities they can engage in
  • 25% say favorite brands provide activities to engage with the product or service
  • 39% know their favorite brand supports their values
  • 48% of consumers say they have taken action to support their favorite brand’s movement
  • 63% enjoy interacting and being brought together with other fans of their favorite brand

Engaged fans engage their friends: We found consumers are 2.5x more likely to adopt a brand based on what friends and family are saying, than TV, YouTube and social ads combined.

Which leaves only two ways to get into that 2.5x flow:

  • Get people talking about your brand to their friends
  • Become one of their friends and get invited in

Since it’s how advertising was taught well into the 2000’s, many marketers still believe in one-way “weapons of mass persuasion” messaging. They believe the archaic media math is “drop enough messages on a target market” with reach and frequency and buyers will react. 

It’s over. Clearly, all of the people they’re expecting to influence are busy doing their own influencing.

One-fourth of millennials told us they market themselves, so they recognize formulaic noise.  It’s about them, no matter the platform. Marketers need to ask for permission by doing stuff people care about.

Make ‘em look good, feel good and entertain them. The Participation Game thesis became:  People don’t consume ads.  They CHOOSE to participate.

 Award-winning Burger King CMO Fernando Machado recently tweeted, “An ad that looks like an ad, and is aired like an ad is probably not a good ad.”

In other words, be cool and be original.  Use the metrics to shape ideas, meeting people on their terms.  Whether it’s the medium or the message, this type of creativity has an upside:

Once people begin connecting with brands they like and allowing them into their “friend-set,” communities can form around common interests.

In our book, Join The Brand, we shared how momentum builds ROI. Our studies found that engaged consumers:

  • Are 2x more likely to feel a sense of belonging
  • Are 4x more likely to have a regular dialogue
  • And 1/3 say their favorite brands make their life more efficient/convenient

Eventually, they love the messaging and the relationship.  Favorite brands cross the friend barrier.

  • 64% agree or strongly agree that their favorite brand helps them find more meaning in life compared to its competitors
  • 72% agree or strongly agree their favorite brand is playful and fun in the way it serves its customers
  • 80% agree or strongly agree their favorite brand brings products/services that are creative and different compared to competitors

If you follow that logic then it’s hard to believe that 50% of brand spend is still going to one-way messaging. Alternatively, building an audience allows marketers to connect again and again as a friend. 

Community building is more cost-effective in the long run and worth the investment.

We have the math. And it is finally paying off.

We're ready when you are.