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How promotions can boost brands

News, 04 August 2016

CHICAGO: Marketers seeking to leverage promotions should consider whether activations based on savings, learning, trust, cultural connectivity or convenience most suit their brands, a study from Arc Worldwide and Leo Burnett has argued.

Elizabeth Harris – EVP/Strategy Director at Leo Burnett, the parent of Arc Worldwide – outlined this research at the 2016 Brand Activation Conference held by the Brand Activation Association (BAA), a unit of the Association of National Advertisers (ANA).

And she reported that five main offerings translate into purchase triggers: savings, cultural connectivity, learning, trust and convenience. They, in turn, break down into 11 sub-types, each of which meets a short-term need.

"These profiles," Harris said, "enable us to actually connect a type of offering to a brand's marketing objectives." (For more, including further tips for brands, read Warc's exclusive report: The art of persuasion along the customer journey.)

As an example, she revealed the "savings" category comprises "basic deals" providing instant price reductions, as well as "exciting deals" like games, contents and rewards, plus "fun pursuits and treasures", such as the chance to win a "Dream Home".

Brands aiming to drive "cultural connectivity", by contrast, could champion the "greater good", which "makes people smart and good" by tying purchases in with "something bigger than themselves", like a charity.

Marketers exploring this area can also consider boosting "cultural cachet" with strategies that make consumers "feel cool", as exemplified by tie-ins with movies or celebrities.

Harris reminded the conference delegates that many tactics are available in the shopper marketing arena. "There's not necessarily one group that's better than another, but some groups perform a little bit better than others," she added.

As evidence, she discussed which triggers most affect "the decision to buy and speed up the path of purchase" – an answer often assumed to be limited-time offers centred around price.

In actuality, the promise of free shipping and returns is typically even more persuasive to consumers, largely as it is perceived as a "Risk Reducer".

"With free shipping and free returns, it gives you a sense of control, allows you to get what you need, and send it back if you don't like it. You feel part of the process; it's more engaging," Harris said.

The analysis drew on more than 17,000 interviews conducted in three phases, as well as analysing 186 specific shopping attributes, ranging from on-pack offers to 24/7 opening hours and sharing on social media.

Data sourced from Warc