“Testing! 1,2, Testing?, Testing 1,2,3….Is this thing on?”
Before using a public address system we often test capacity to communicate loudly and clearly to the audience, why should it be any different before launching your advert out to the public? Can you imagine, amplifying an ad concept that is totally disconnected or disagreeable to your audience? Rather than creating desirability for your brand, you irritate, annoy and alienate yourself from those to whom you want to endear yourself most to. You earn the dubious distinction; OBE “[Most] Obnoxious Brand Ever” simply because you did not make the effort to sample the broth of communication before serving up the meal.
In marketing communications, brands easily succumb to the myopia of “The Louder the Better”. The fallacy behind this myopia is that the end goal of mass-marketing communication is to be seen and heard by the greatest number of people. On this shaky premise, we base our expensive promotional campaigns hoping every dime will yield back dollars tenfold, that is until we experience an epic fail that forces us to step back and evaluate why advertising did not work for us.
Why should brands pay more attention to testing their advertising?
Insight #1: Respect Your Audience
The most important reason why you should test your ad concept before launching it out… Is to avoid being insulting. Failure to appreciate the human complexity of your target audience can be downright insulting to their intelligence. Sampling audience thoughts and opinions before investing in massive media slots and bigger billboards will save you the infamy of false assumptions that put them off.
Apart from being respectful to audience, sampling ad concepts helps tighten and guide your creative process better. While jokes abound about the peculiar ways of Creatives, marketers should not lose sight of the fact that a Good Creative is really a Creative Soul. This means a Creative worth his weight in stunning copy and visuals, does not think, see and execute communication like everyone else, that’s why we seek out their skill; we want them to create an extraordinary engaging experience between our brands and our consumers. This can be both a good thing and a bad thing.
Insight#2: Sharpen Your Sword….. errrr….Brief
Sharpening the communication parameters, guided by insights on what works and what doesn’t for the audience, is really a breath of fresh air for any Creative. In some ways it adds to the challenge of the creative process by disrupting, jump starting a linear or stalled thought process. Insights on what your audience wants to hear greases the wheels of the creative process by eliminating the guesswork headache of what the guy at the end of the horn probably wants to hear. Focusing your Creative’s energies to creativity and eliminating his mental investment in trying to figure out the guy at the end of the communication process makes for truly compelling and successful ad campaign for your brand.
Insight# 3: Broaden Your Stakes & enlarge Your Harvest
Sampling your audience likely response to your ad will always yield a treasure trove of insight beyond just how to communicate effectively with your audience. In one case, while testing ad concepts for a certain motor vehicle brand amongst potential male consumers, the client was able to glean design and functionality insights on how they could improve their product offering in the market to suit their customer lifestyle. From tweaking a headlight to be more recessed to allow easier navigation in tight traffic spaces, to having perforations in engine cabinets to allow for cooler air to flow through the engine and thereby also cool the back seat for the greater passenger comfort. Such feedback was unexpectedly helpful in understanding how their product interacted with its user and how they could enhance consumer experience of the same. A small study on testing an ad concept gave the client so many more valuable insights on simple things they could do to improve their product and dramatically increase their consumer experience of the same. The investment made on insights for an advert concept yielded a far greater return on product design for a more favorable product for their customer.