You are about to be advertised to.

Pretend for a moment that this is an advertisement.

We’ve got your attention with something eye-catching yet appropriate for you, the target audience, so now we’ll introduce a premise. The seed we want to plant in your mind is that you’re missing out on something as vital to your ongoing survival as water or oxygen. This is intended to give you a nudge – nothing huge -just enough to get you off balance. Then we’ll hint that you’re probably feeling off-balance now, so you’ll think we’re really on your level, possibly even psychic.

This establishes trust – something we’re going to take advantage of immediately by listing things that make currently being off balance the worst thing ever. Which is terrible news for someone only recently suffering from being off-balance. But don’t worry, these things will be so commonplace that everyone will feel them on at least a semi-regular basis. They’re the kinds of things usually found in click-bait articles entitled ‘Six words successful people never use’, or ‘Failures do these five things every morning before brushing their teeth’.

See, we use phrases like ‘at least a semi-regular basis’ for good reason. They sound impressive but are so vacuous and malleable that they’re almost useless as definite descriptors. Then there are ass-covering modifiers like ‘may, can, could’ and ‘one of ‘. Instead of accurately describing what something ‘will’ do or precisely ‘how’ it measures up against its competition, these let us overstate any benefit. But you don’t care by this point. Your self-esteem is sinking rapidly and you’re looking for the nearest life raft.

It’s about now that we’ll subtly attack your ego by associating people who don’t do the thing we want you to do with failure and ineptitude. Suddenly, you don’t just want this thing we haven’t even mentioned yet, you are getting a little pissed off with yourself for not knowing what it is already.

By the time we let you know, you’ve practically punched in everything but your CCV number and have posted about it three times on social media to ensure you retain the moral superiority over your peer group/colleagues/friends and people whose opinions you don’t even care about.

You won’t even know you’ve been chaperoned down the garden path. Your brain will release some serotonin as soon as you make the purchase and once more when you use whatever this thing was for the first time.

The effects will wear off over time. Long enough for the next shell game to be hastily erected in your browsing path.

This is how some people would like to think marketing communications work these days. It’s all based on great data, grand schemes, digital breadcrumbs and clever traps that consumers can’t help but fall into.

Closer to the truth is that most day-to-day campaigns are a hodge-podge of rushed work that’s been watered down by layers of approvals, compromised by budget constraints, or researched into a beige abyss with no time for real post-analysis or even a vague sense check that the train is on the right track, let alone being driven by someone with a license.

Funnily enough, it appears to be more palatable for a marketing department to put their business out for pitch than look back and examine their most recent work.

And, why not? A pitch is only confronting for the incumbent agency, a review, or communications audit is potentially uncomfortable for everyone.

Then again, you might find out what you’re doing right, what you’re doing wrong, what you should be doing but aren’t, and what you shouldn’t be doing but are. You could use it to strengthen your relationship with your current agency, prove you’re all doing a great job, find budget savings or build a case for an increase, or, if you’re so inclined, give yourself the ammunition you need to get rid of some dead wood once and for all.

The Shabbadu Comms Audit may, can and could do all these things for you. In fact, you could say, it’s one of the best comms audits available today.

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