I Don’t Need to Advertise

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In Radio advertising sales, you will inevitably encounter a prospect who says they don’t need to advertise because they have all the business they can handle. For most salespeople this can be especially frustrating because your whole premise for the sales call is to help the business owner grow the business!

Spike SanteeI Don’t Need to Advertise
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The First Radio Commercial

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The first Radio commercial was broadcast on August 28, 1922. The station was WEAF AM in New York City. It was owned by AT&T. The commercial was for a real estate development called Hawthorne Court Apartments in Jackson Heights, a neighborhood in the borough of Queens. The apartment complex was owned by the Queensboro Corporation. The apartment complex was named after Nathaniel Hawthorne, on of America’s great writers.

Spike SanteeThe First Radio Commercial
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The Copywriter’s Playbook

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Copy Writer's Playbook

To be a good copywriter, you must learn to work with the psychology of consumer, not against it. You must first understand why people buy things and why they buy them when they buy them. If you don’t consider this important science in your script writing efforts, your commercial will likely fall on deaf ears.

Consumers are motivated from within, not from external sources. Any decision to buy a product or a service begins as a conscious, or, many times, an unconscious need or a desire. That need or desire, that thought, that is what we call the felt need. That something that the consumer is thinking about throughout the day and night.

You must also learn how consumers come to a decision about acting out on the felt need. As you study the research and the brain science involved, you will come to realize that having a sale or offering a discount is not one of the major considerations in the process.

In his 1943 paper A Theory of Human Motivation, Abraham Maslow proposed that the motivation for action is an unfulfilled need. Maslow’s research suggests that humans seek to satisfy their needs and desires in a certain hierarchy. Maslow contends that people must satisfy their most basic needs first before they can go forward and satisfy the more sophisticated needs.

Level One – Physiological Needs

A human’s physiological needs take the highest priority. You need be able to breathe, have plenty of water and food, and have healthy bodily functions.

Level Two – Safety

People need to feel secure in their life. They are concerned for the safety and security of their families, their property and their future.

Level Three – Social Needs

Loneliness can lead to social anxiety and depression. This often leads to serious physical illness and possibly even heart disease.

Level Four – Self Esteem

We have a need to feel good about ourselves; we need our own self-respect. We need people we can look up to in life. Respecting role models and leaders is something Maslow identified as part of our need for esteem.

Level Five – Self Actualization

At the pinnacle of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is the need for self-actualization, the instinctual need of humans to make the most of their unique abilities and to strive to be the best they can be. In short, self-actualization is reaching one’s fullest potential.

How is this relevant to advertising? Start observing the advertising you are exposed to through the lens of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and you’ll see the word you and your throughout.

Pharmaceutical advertising is the sixth largest advertising category. Examples: “When you have COPD, it can be hard to breath”, “Chantix can help you quit smoking”, “When you’re depressed, Cymbalta can help”.

Consider the proliferation of advertising for home security systems, insurance and financial services. Examples: “Can your doorbell do that?”, “Are you in good hands?”, “If you don’t like their answer, ask again at Schwab”.

Human beings have a natural need to be involved in emotionally based relationships. Whether those relationships come from large or small social groups, or one-on-one relationships, people need to love and be loved by others. Examples: “You don’t have to be lonely at Farmers Only Dot Com.”

The National Car Rental advertising campaign script appeals to the need for esteem with the script: “You are a business pro, executor of efficiency; you can spot an amateur from a mile away, and you rent from National.”

Advertising for higher education, degree completion programs and technical colleges appeal to the instinctual need for self-actualization. The United States Army created a very compelling message using the appeal to this instinctual need for self-actualization with the Be All That You Can Be, In the Army campaign.

When you understand the psychology of consumer behavior, you begin to understand that you are not just selling a product, you are selling the idea of the product, the image of the product, and the result of the product. In your commercial, you are trying to tell the consumer how your advertisers can fulfill one or more of the needs in the hierarchy.

As you observe advertising through the lens of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, you’ll see it can be the Copywriter’s Playbook.

Talk to you soon.

Spike SanteeThe Copywriter’s Playbook
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Four Keys to Emotional Engagement

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Imagine you are on a large stage with one thousand people in the audience and you have a chance to tell them all about your business and give them a reason why they should come and shop with you.

What would you say? Oh, and another thing. Your time is limited. In this example, you have sixty seconds.

Spike SanteeFour Keys to Emotional Engagement
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Is Your Brand Sociable Enough?

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For your business brand to be truly social, it takes more than just having a website and asking people to “Like us on Facebook”. Those are social media tools. But what is your brand’s social message? Without a carefully crafted and focused social message, you’re wasting your time and money and it could be affecting your bottom line in a negative way.

In today’s marketplace, it is not enough just to offer a great selection at a good price. That is a basic requirement. Consumers today are making decision on what a brand says, what it does and what it stands for.  What does your brand say, do and stand for? It is important to figure that out and learn how to articulate it before you spend your hard-earned money on any form of advertising, including social media advertising.

In his book, Start with Why, author Simon Sinek says: “People don’t buy WHAT you do; they buy WHY you do it.” Most companies focus on advertising the WHAT of their business,their products, industry and competitors. They can even articulate the HOW they do WHAT they do. But it become more difficult to describe the WHY of a business, the purpose, cause or belief. The WHY of a business it their reason for being and the WHY is the why anyone should care.

Sixty two percent of consumers want companies to take a stand on current and broadly relevant issues such as fair employment practices,transparency and sustainable living. 1

This consumer desire can drive strong product growth. The parent company of Dove soap, Lipton Tea and Knorr Food Products, Unilever,found that their brands that focus on sustainable living in their advertising message grew 50% faster than their brands that don’t. The Unilever family of products with a sustainable living message in their advertising delivered 60%of the company’s revenue growth in 2016. 2, 3

How do you capitalize on a consumer’s desire to do business with a purpose driven brand? First, you need to be able to walk the talk. People can detect inconsistencies, and when they do, you are perceived as inauthentic and you erode trust.

At Knorr Food Products, they describe their WHY this way; “we have a responsibility to help make positive change across the food system from the way food is grown, to the way food is consumed. We believe nutritious and delicious food should be within everyone’s reach. That’s why our ambition is to source 100% of raw agricultural materials sustainably and to help more than 1 billion people improve their health and well-being by teaching them how to cook nutritiously by 2020.” 4

Dove, they don’t sell soap, they are working to make beauty a source of confidence, not anxiety. They don’t hire models for their advertising, they use real women of all ages to challenge stereotypes and highlight how beauty is unique to the individual. Dove portrays women, as they are in real life and they don’t digitally distort the images in their advertising.Since 2004 the Dove Self-Esteem Project has delivered self-esteem and body confidence education to over 20 million young people is 139 countries with a goal to reach another 20 million by 2020.5

Dove is the most popular bar of soap in the United States with more than twice the market share as the number two brand, Dial. 5

According to the Accenture report, beyond price and quality, these are the top consumer drivers: 1

  • 66% – The brand has a great culture, it does what it says it will do and delivers on its promises.
  • 66% – The company is transparent with where it sources materials and treats employees.
  • 62% – The brand believes in reducing plastics and improving the environment.
  • 62% – The brand has ethical values and demonstrates authenticity in everything it does.
  • 62% – The brand is passionate about the products and services it sells.

Here are four ways to make your brand more sociable:

  1. Get a copy of Start with Why from Simon Sinek and work to figure out your WHY.
  2. Develop a paragraph to describe your WHY.
  3. Align all your actions with your WHY.
  4. Eliminate clichés from your advertising message and replace them with a genuine message of WHAT you do for the consumer and WHY you do it.   

Then, you will be ready to buy some traditional and social media advertising.

Let me know if I can help.

  1. Accenture Strategy Global Consumer Pulse Research, 2018.
  2. Unilever,“How to boost business growth through brands with purpose,” August 8, 2017.
  3. “Empowering Unilever marketers and unstereotyping ads: Keith Weed’s case for Global Marketer of the Year,”Campaign, January 24, 2018.
  4. https://www.unilever.com/brands/food-and-drink/knorr.html
  5. https://www.unilever.com/brands/personal-care/dove.html
  6. https://www.statista.com/statistics/275244/us-households-most-used-brands-of-bar-soap/

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Spike SanteeIs Your Brand Sociable Enough?
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Turning Research Into Copy

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Lets begin with some good news. Many lower-income Americans are finally feeling more flush a decade after the recession, say shoppers and retail executives. Lower gas prices and rising hourly wages are giving them extra cash to spend, a boon for Walmart Inc., second-tier mall owners and other retailers that count on them for a large percentage of their sales.

Walmart U.S. CEO Greg Foran said in an interview that the retail giant’s lower-income shoppers are feeling more confident as gas prices fall, wages rise and jobs are easier to find. “As you go through each of those, I think that you’ve got to say that for most people we serve in America it’s OK,” he said on Thanksgiving.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday have come and gone, but this isn’t the time to call it quits!

According to new Google research, only about 18% of shoppers consolidate all of their shopping to the Black Friday-to-Cyber Monday period. That means 82% of purchases are still to be made!

Consumers are spending more time on the path to purchase, taking longer to browse and shop, even right up to Christmas day itself.

All of this data Google data means you and your retail customers still have time to influence these shoppers. You also have more time if you act now, we have an extra BONUS weekend between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Here are four suggestions on how to turn Google data into copy points that will help your retail advertiser tap into the psychology of the holiday shopping consumer.

84% of Americans are shopping for something at any given time and in up to six different categories (1). Copy Point: “ABC Widgets will be open late tonight or anytime on ABC Widgets Dot Com”.

Half of shoppers keep some sort of digital list, whether via smartphone, laptop, app, or digital assistant (2). Copy point: “Make sure you add widgets from ABC Widgets to your shopping list”.

Nearly 9 out of 10 shoppers are not absolutely certain of the brand they want to buy when they begin their path to purchase (3). Copy point: “If widgets are on your shopping list, make sure it’s a widget from the ABC Widget Company”.

Research shows that 61% of shoppers are open to buying from new retailers during the holiday season, and in the 2017 holiday season, almost half of them did (4). Copy Point: “You have a choice where you buy your widgets, try ABC Widgets at 123 Widget Way or online at ABC Widgets Dot Com”.

You can learn how to write emotionally engaging creative commercials as long as you’re willing to make the effort. Send me an email at spike@spikesantee.com if you would like some help getting started.

(1) (2) Google/Ipsos, U.S., “Shopping Tracker,” Online survey, n=3,613, online Americans 13+ who shopped in the past two days, Oct.–Dec. 2017.
(3) Google/Ipsos, U.S., Playbook Omnibus 2018, n=1,604, online smartphone users, A18+, Jan. 2018.
(4) Google/Ipsos, U.S., Omnichannel Holiday Study, Holiday shoppers 18+ who shopped in previous 48 hours, n=5944, Nov. 2017–Jan. 2018.

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Spike SanteeTurning Research Into Copy
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Brain Science in Advertising

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When I first entered the world of advertising, I was told “Whoever controls the creative controls the client”. What that means is whoever writes the best commercial is going to be the one who wins the client’s business. That’s how billion-dollar advertising accounts decide who will handle their business, the person with the best creative ideas, not the lowest cost provider.

It’s not about which medium you choose to advertise your business because all media can reach a consumer. It’s all about connecting with a consumer on an emotionally and engaging level if you want to earn their trust as your new customer. 

As a business owner, it is important to focus on creating an emotionally engaging commercial message if you want to reach new customers.

Consumers today come equipped with a smartphone that has 10 times more computing power than the space shuttle. With that much technology at their fingertips, they won’t fall for the same old worn out advertising
clichés. According to Rishad Tobaccowala, CGO at Publicis, one of the world’s largest advertising companies, “You are marketing to gods”. That means you must talk to them in a respectful manner, especially, the Millennial consumer. 

Here are some highlights from the latest Roth Capital Partners 2018-2019 Millennial Survey. This is their seventh annual proprietary survey examining current trends, spending patterns and favorite brands across five consumer categories including dining and restaurants; healthy food, beverage and snacking; fitness and wellness; infant, juvenile and pet; and, fashion, personal care and décor. 

The survey, conducted in partnership with MFour Mobile Research, features 181 questions and was completed by 2,500 Millennial-aged women and men.

  • Millennials are benefitting from low unemployment and 77% think the economy will be the same or better next year.
  • More than half have decreased their social media usage over the last year, mainly due to a perception that it is unhealthy
  • Only 26% of Millennials are not okay sharing personal information for a more tailored experience and the vast majority are happy with recommendations from Amazon, Netflix and Spotify
  • Two-thirds of Millennials prefer to research significant purchases online, but 57% still prefer to transact in-store
  • 27% of Millennials are comfortable purchasing groceries online (up from 22% in our prior survey)
  • Millennials significantly favor Amazon over other online apparel sites and 62% of Millennials are Amazon Prime members
  • More than one-third of Millennials have an Amazon Echo, Google Home, or similar product and 24% of those use them to regularly make purchases
  • 15% of Millennials have used virtual reality (“VR”) to evaluate furniture purchases, while 16% have used “virtual mirrors” to try on makeup or clothing
  • Clif, Kind and Nature Valley are the favorite protein bars for Millennials
  • More than half of Millennials belong to traditional fitness clubs like Planet Fitness, 24 Hour Fitness and Gold’s Gym, while 28% attend classes at boutiques like CrossFit, YogaWorks, SoulCycle and Orangetheory
  • Climbing, hiking, yoga and cycling are among the most popular fitness activities for Millennials, while Black Diamond, Mammut and Arc’Teryx are the leading climbing apparel brands
  • Nike, Adidas and Vans are the leading fashion footwear brands among Millennials while Gucci is the favorite luxury brand
  • 34% of Millennials are more likely to purchase Nike products after the company’s Colin Kaepernick ad campaign, while 15% are less likely

The compelling thread throughout all these statistics is the emotional engagement the brands make with consumers. It has nothing to do with price. It has everything to do with how the brands make the consumers feel about the brand that drives the brand loyalty.

One of the most striking revelations is that 34% of young people are more likely to buy Nike products because of the Colin Kaepernick ad campaign and only 15% say they are less likely. After the ad came out, Nike’s online sales actually grew 31% from the Sunday of Labor Day weekend through Tuesday, as compared with a 17% gain recorded for the same period of 2017.

It’s not about offering a lower price to attract a new customer. It’s about stirring emotions in consumers that compel them to interact with your company. That’s why you want to on your message.

There is an abundance of new brain science and consumer psychology that can help you get started in the right direction. If you would like some professional assistance to craft an emotionally engaging commercial message, drop us an email and we’ll be happy to help. 

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Spike SanteeBrain Science in Advertising
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