Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Plot Your Way to Profitability

In The Seven Basic Plots, Christopher Booker contended every compelling story is a variation on one or more of a limited number of possibilities. Last week, Advertising Week convened a panel of creatives to discuss why each of the basic types might motivate consumers. Here’s my version of their list, supplemented with my suggested shopper psychology tactics.
  • Overcoming the monster. In this plot the underdog prevails. Researchers at Harvard University, Simmons College, and Boston College confirmed the underdog’s appeal to consumers. When a choice of chocolate bar brands was offered to the study participants, the brand positioned as the underdog was selected about 70% of the time. However, be careful when featuring your store as the underdog. At the same time that people root for the underdog, employees and consumers like to associate with winners 
  • Rebirth. What has been lost is regained. Skechers took this approach to woe the older consumer. Their “Comeback” campaign featured retired sports stars like Wayne Gretzky, Joe Montana, Karl Malone, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. In the campaign, each of the stars talked about how products from Skechers could help them return to professional-level game performance. 
  • Quest. Retailers who talk about continuous improvement are telling consumers of a journey which could easily go on forever. Quest plots will grab the attention of people who put top priority on products and services which help them achieve more than they have now. The never-ending quest intrigues those seeking never-ending gains. 
  • Journey & return. The characters in the story end their expedition rather than going on forever, and they come back changed. This plot line combines escape with magic. Special promotions and events in your store can cast magic spells for escape benefits. 
  • Rags to riches. This plot line celebrates perseverance, which fits well for retailers who profit by having customers save money instead of spending money. These are the insurance agents, CPAs, attorneys, banks, and others who provide financial planning services. 
  • Tragedy. So much can go wrong in life, your tale warns the consumer. Tragic stories can grab attention. Research at Universidad PĆ¹blica de Navarra in Pamplona, Spain concludes that for certain shoppers in the world, fear sells, but for others, it’s a turnoff. How to tell which is which? Monitor the extent to which your shopper uses fear words themselves. 
  • Comedy. Humor heads off mental counterarguments. The shopper is too busy chuckling to challenge the sales pitch. 
Click below for more: 
Boast About Underdog Determination 
Keep Baby Boomers Alive & Active 
Sell Either Protection or Promotion 
Cast Magic Spells for Escape Benefits 
Enrich Clients’ Savings Deposits 
Craft Fear Appeals 
Humor Your Customers 
Analyze the Role the Customer Expects

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