Saturday, March 5, 2011

Eschew Unnecessary Comparisons

To eschew is to strictly avoid. I suggest that as a retailer, you eschew making comparisons of your products, services, and store itself with those of competitors unless those comparisons drill in a necessary point. The problem is that comparisons too often lead to the consumer thinking about the alternative in the comparison.
     Or the opposite. In comparative ads, don’t show pictures of people using the product. University of Maryland researchers discovered that such pictures lead shoppers to start thinking about using the products themselves, and when they do this, they put too much mental energy into thinking about just the recommended product. They forget to pay attention to the comparative advantages, so the power of the comparative ad fades away.
     This whole theme came to my mind after reading an article from yesterday’s Des Moines Register. The article reported that the National Pork Board is switching a slogan from “Pork® The Other White Meat®,” which was introduced almost a quarter century ago, to “Pork. Be Inspired.”
     The National Pork Board considers the “Other White Meat” campaign to have been highly successful. They say that a study at Northwestern University found the phrase to be among the top five most recognizable slogans in contemporary advertising history. It helped reposition pork in the consumer’s mind from a greasy, fatty foodstuff to a meat as slender and nutritious as chicken. To make the tag line accurate, the industry also worked through genetics to change the composition of pork. The current pork tenderloin contains slightly less fat than a skinless chicken breast.
     So it was time for pork to go on its own rather than sell on the basis of a comparison. As I see it, that’s one of the “Be Inspired” messages for you, retailer. Be inspired to stay conscious of when comparisons help you establish a desired image and when the comparisons actually distract or detract from the brand image you’ve built.
     It depends not only on the stage in image building, but also on the type of retailer you are. Research indicates that comparisons are more influential with pleasure-seeking products than with essential commodities. The restaurant would benefit more from making comparisons than would the grocery store.
     I’m not asking you to decide right now whether, when to comes to comparisons, you will eschew. Chew on it—the intellectual equivalent of what you’d be doing with pulled pork.

Click below for more:
Become the Only Game in Town
In Comparative Ads, Don’t Show Users

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