LONDON/MELBOURNE: Brands need to understand how advertising claims coexist with consumers’ underlying associations in order to produce effective creative that is believable and relevant, according to a trio of researchers.

Writing in the current issue of Admap, Ben Kozary, Michael Sankey and Ken Roberts of Australian research firm Forethought, outline a “Plausibility” measure which they claim “circumvents the limitations of traditional high-attention metrics and, in so doing, provides a clear hierarchy of derived (rather than self-stated) strategic priorities”.

“Simple bivariate measures of association,” they add, “cannot capture the dynamic and interrelated nature of brand attributes.”

Within a given category, the authors explain, consumers hold beliefs about the interrelatedness of different product and/or service attributes, based upon the underlying associations they have formed over time.

“If a brand offers a configuration of attributes which, from a consumer's perspective, is unexpected, irrelevant, or otherwise unbelievable (e.g. a product that is positioned as being the highest quality, yet cheapest in its category), this may result in cognitive dissonance, leading to a rejection of the message being presented and, ultimately, a reduced likelihood of purchase.”

And when that happens, the costs may extend further than the campaign itself to include the generation of potentially damaging associations for the brand, such as reduced credibility and trustworthiness.

But applying the Plausibility method, the authors say, can enable brands to create an appropriate value proposition that can be communicated effectively to the market and avoid wasted budgets.

This involves identifying drivers of brand choice in a category and determining how brands are competitively positioned on performance for these primary drivers in order to “leverage congruent combinations of product and/or service attributes, and eliminate incongruent combinations”.

Such an approach, they say, can help lay the foundation of a strong brand and drive market share.

Sourced from Admap