Articles

Consumer Education: Forming and Adopting Habits

In Tools on March 21, 2012 by Jox Tagged: , , , ,

Consumer education is one of the most powerful marketing tools. It is not just telling consumers what and why, it’s the HOW. With the advent of innovations making their way into the commercial world, educating prospective markets is a must to increase affinities of purchase. Moreover, century-old brands want to remain relevant among consumers across diversities by updating their products and moving past basic offers.

In the end, all brands desire to be understood and loved. Consumer education has the power to facilitate the formation of relationships past awareness. Based on my experiences and observations, consumer education is vital for the following:

1. Product Introduction: It can make the commercialization of an industrial product smooth. A great example is how Apple launches its new products and revolutionizes consumer imagination. Steve Jobs would sell not the technology or the gadget but the imagination that has come true. The launch captures the basic functions of the product and visually amplifies the features. But what’s great about Apple is that they let techies and the media get educated and excited first so that virally, these converts would spread not just the news of a new product but also educate the rest of the adopters.

2. Brand Relevance: A cookie is a cookie until you twist, lick, and dunk it. Yes, an oreo cookie has managed to sustain its existence by exciting consumers, old and new. Who knew that a father-son/ big brother-little brother/grandma- grand daughter bond could be formed over a cookie ritual? Yet, the simple campaign has managed to penetrate into every market with the same message. The habit has been so strongly linked with Oreo that in other commercials, there is no need to verbalize the message of TWIST.LICK.DUNK.

3. Product Usage: For products that are intrinsically complex, communicating simple instructions can be beneficial. It is not enough to insert manuals in boxes. Consumers need to see and hear how they should interact with your product. That’s why appliance centers bank on massive displays, instructional videos, and sales representatives. However, the message needs to be simplified in the first place so that it does not evolve into complex instructions when passing through several media. Three-point guides are good. Beyond that, the consumer shuts down.

Product usage may also come from consumer research and can be replicated for the rest to adopt. For example, a dishwashing liquid brand, Joy (P&G), found out that frugal mothers dilute a pack into a liter of water to maximize usage and lessen purchase frequency. Instead of antagonizing this seemingly detrimental habit, the brand amplified it into an ad and improved the formulation for a stronger concentrate. This is a good example of the Heath Brother’s point in the book SWITCH of highlighting what works and spreading it among the rest. Solutions need not be formed from scratch. It can be found among marginalized samples that have unknown efficient practices.

I’ve summarized learning points in crafting an effective consumer education campaign.

1. Simplify the product features and brand messages first.

2. Filter the messages and prioritize the hierarchy of communication.

3. Partner words with actions and/or visuals.

4. Plot your contact points and venues of communication.

5. Educate the ambassadors and opinion leaders.

6. Communicate/Educate efficiently and relevantly.

7. Leave room for interpretation, good interpretation for the consumers.

8. Track consumer conversion.

9. Analyze if consumer education campaign has strengthened brand attributes.

10. Determine if the campaign can be sustained and/or replicated.

Whether it’s for a product update or introduction, consumer education links brands with consumers. In forming habits among consumers, brands may play a key role as long as the message is simple, authentic, and touch on familiar thoughts and emotions.

 

(C) Copyright protected| BRANDS AND PITCHES 2012

 

 

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