“A brand is no longer what we tell consumer it is, it is what consumers tell each other it is.” – Scott Cook
What makes an advertising video successful? A successful ad is one that catches attention of the viewer and evokes some sort of response. Often it does not even matter if that response is positive or negative; if the response is strong enough, the film will be memorable for the viewer and as a marketing gambit, your film can be said to have succeeded. Getting customer inputs is obviously vital. When your ad film wrests an emotional response and actually impacts buying behaviours, this is probably the most effective that the ad film can be.
Several things go into making that advert memorable – it could be funny enough for people to enjoy watching it; to want to watch it repeatedly. Hence, humour is definitively an important constituent for success. Sometimes it is a haunting tune, a catchy jingle, or just a smart tag line that snags interest. A commercial can also be successful for being honest and simply conveying information to the viewer: a short and succinct account of product features of an innovating and exciting new product for instance. Sometimes ad campaigns manage to create a wildly successful iconic character that companies may be getting customer inputs about: a little cartoon girl who speaks about current affairs and may also love butter, a distinctive looking joker dressed in characteristic colours that welcomes kids into every outlet of a famous chain of restaurants. These are characters that have connect to audiences and become iconic in the process. And the most entertaining and memorable ad film is unsuccessful if the audience is not able to recall the product itself. So apart from sheer entertainment value, getting customer inputs and reactions to effective product placement is also vital to the success of an ad.
More recently, it is the efficacy of a video, its share-ability and capacity to generate a buzz in the virtual world, which determines, at least in part, how successful or unsuccessful it is. Hence, as the quote above tells us, a brand is what consumers tell each other it is. Since the customer is buying your product and putting money into your pocket, you cannot afford ignore getting customer inputs when creating an ad video.
Since every product manufacturer and service provider aims to give their target audience what they want, no business can afford to ignore customer inputs. Customer inputs are valuable for so many reasons: they tell you what you are doing right and what you are doing wrong; they also indicate how you can improve. Sometimes customer innovation can also drive innovation; they may have the seeds of the next great idea for your company! Getting customer inputs about the outcomes they expect from using a product or service can offer valuable clues about the road you as a business should take.
Getting customer input is possible from several sources – a drop box in an office where customers are encouraged to offer suggestions, make complaints or offer kudos if any. Feedback could take the form of email surveys and customers can be encouraged to call up a help line or use the onsite contact forms as well. Online forums and publish crowd-sourced reviews about local businesses where people rate your product and services are important to keep track of – very importantly too is receiving customer inputs and feedback via casual interaction on social media! What are current customers saying about your product or service? Why are some people reluctant to use your service or buy your product? Are people complaining about some aspects of the service/ product? How promptly and effectively are your people responding to those criticisms and are people satisfied with the responses? You can gauge much by what people are saying and sharing online. If someone shared a picture of a product they recently purchased from you, with a comment about being pleased with it, try to respond and invite comments about positive aspects and by getting customer inputs about possible ways to improve.
It is obvious that getting customer inputs also offers some very valuable insight into the way that people respond to your advertisements. Consider for instance the ad films produced by the world’s most commonly used search engine. The ads typically tell a story that touches audiences, moves them; at times makes people cry a little – and is widely shared and quickly becomes viral. Apart from actually creating the film, the company needed to do little to get people to watch it; even to make others watch it! Clearly, an ad film such as this one; which evokes such a strong emotional response is a successful one. Here, getting customer inputs was easy to find in the audience reactions. People were so pleased with the simple story that the ad told that the company knew they had a winner. Of course, the narrative was interwoven with instances of the many ways that people use search engines in their everyday lives: for travel, to locate people, to find places, to find traditional recipes and handicrafts. Hence, the ad film is memorable for itself and in the process, the viewer internalized the many ways that the featured product is going to work for them and make life simpler.
Companies can focus on getting customer inputs that speak about required outcomes. So if the successful search engine ad indicates that audiences enjoy being told a story, give that to them. A successful series of ads for men’s clothing similarly told stories about the man showing his sensitive side and performing chores considered nontraditional for men. The ads touched a chord with the more evolved man who was willing to be seen as sensitive and interested in fashion and personal grooming. The ads also spoke to women; many of whom shopped for their men. A detergent brand creating an advert about a kid doing a load of washing for his mother on Mother’s Day would similarly work for all the mothers watching the ad; incidentally mothers who typically decided what brand of washing powder to reach for on supermarket shelves.
When customer feedback is used for future ad and marketing campaigns, customers feel even more connected to the brand and find more reasons to remain loyal to the product or service. A strong online presence is necessary for getting customer inputs. Ensure that the ad films are posted on popular, and professional and social networks as well as popular video sharing websites. Enable comments and assign someone the job of moderating comments to someone as well. By enabling comments, you get to see and hear everything that is being said; by moderating comments you get to decide what comments you audience at large gets to see.
Companies are also getting customer inputs and feedback by using behavioural insight surveys that help companies understand individual customer needs based on answers given to content they are viewing. Telephone and mobile surveys are another effective means to get customer feedback about products, their features, marketing campaigns and so on. Short, concise feedback forms that customers can fill online or using a pen and paper, focus groups that glean information about customer opinions, beliefs and perceptions are also similarly valuable. Usability Testing is another method of getting customer inputs and authentic feedback; which helps optimise design processes and align experiences to customer expectations.
While there is always going to be that indefinable and unpredictable factor that decides how successful your ad film is going to be, you can try to ensure that you are getting customer inputs and incorporating those into the whole process so you have the best possible chances at success.