It is thus even more important today that brands get their advertising right. I’m not talking about advertising for luxurious purchases as those sell themselves. I am talking about the purchases you loathe.
Bester Burke client service director Shirley Bester labels grudge purchases as the products/items/services that you “buy because you know you have to [even though] you’d rather spend your money on something else”. They are the new tyres and car batteries, washing powder and dishwashing liquid; products that you only think about when you need to buy them. They are also the purchases that having don’t bring instant gratification. Now, there is the argument that says this is not their purpose. Perhaps that argument is correct. However, that doesn’t mean that advertising for such products should be dull and boring.
In fact, when it comes to such products, ‘dull’ and ‘boring’ are two words that should be far from the minds of consumers when attempting to describe any piece of communication related to them. It’s a point made by Bester and agreed on by the co-founder of The Jupiter Drawing Room Cape Town Kevan Aspoas, who goes on to concede that while there is “no strategy document that will tell your how to get such advertising right”, that doesn’t mean that one should panic. All you need to do is capture the imagination of your consumer, turning what was once a grudge purchase into something that a consumer will desire.
That may sound like an impossible task. After all, how do you make the purchase of petrol a pleasant experience? If you speak to Bester, you’ll find it’s actually quite simple. “When it comes to [advertising for] such purchases, you need to think about how you are going to turn a negative situation into a positive one. How are you going to ensure that your consumer receives an uplift [when purchasing your product]?” Let’s keep petrol as the example. One possible route of making this ‘grudge purchase’ more positive, as Bester suggests, is by putting a loyalty programme in place that allows you to donate a percentage of what you pay to a charity every time you swipe your card.
Of course, not every petrol station will be able to do this. It’s an idea or approach that can’t be repeated unless a brand wants to be viewed as a follower rather than a leader. It also leads to a point that Lowe + Partners SA managing director Sarah Dexter believes is important to remember when putting together a campaign for such products where the only thing that separates one brand from another is the advertising: there needs to be some sort of differentiation. Aspoas agrees, saying that when it comes to advertising such a product, familiarity can be its own worst enemy.
In order for it to achieve this differentiation, your communication has to work that much harder. Fortunately, it doesn’t mean the advertising wheel needs to be reinvented. In fact, as Bester points out, the process that one takes when advertising for grudge purchases is really not that different from the route taken for your average product. “If you look at the consumer decision process, there are going to be similar elements. Of course you can’t simply go out and be blunt about what you’re selling. But there will always be a need that your consumer needs addressed. You need to find out how you can do that best.”
“Let’s look at your car windscreen,” continues Bester. “When you begin talking about it as a safety feature that can benefit your car, you are transforming it from a grudge purchase that your consumer needs [but doesn’t want to buy] into one that they believe they absolutely have to have.” In focusing on this beneficial spin-off, you will have managed to alter your consumers’ perspective so that when they are next in need of a windscreen, they will look at your brand and instead of seeing it as a grudge purchase; they will view it as a necessity.
There are two emotional responses when purchasing any product or service, believes Aspoas. The first is one of delight because the product or service brings you joy. The second is of dread because while you know you need it, you don’t want to buy it. If your company or brand is in the line of selling a generally accepted ‘grudge purchase’, ensure that your customers’ first response lines up on the positive side.
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