March 15, 2013 5:20 pm
A wise man once wrote “Loyalty is for the dogs. Count me among the cats. And count me twice—once for each of my faces.”
The truth is, that with our purses and wallets having been squeezed over the last few years, our buying decisions are perhaps not as straightforward as they once were. But when I recently overheard the owner of our local farm shop proudly telling a customer they’d be launching a loyalty card next month which would give shoppers a discount on their basket price, it took all the self-discipline I could muster to not to go running up to him and plead with him to reconsider. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against small businesses adopting successful practices of larger businesses, but let me tell you why I think this particular scheme is a bad idea.
How many of those plastic rewards cards have you got crammed into your purse or wallet? I seem to have more loyalty cards than bank cards. The reason why stores like Boots and Tesco introduced these kinds of schemes wasn’t to reward loyalty. Oh no. The ingenious truth is that when we swipe our loyalty cards at the checkout, we’re giving away hugely valuable data about our habits as shoppers – what products we buy, how often, what incentives we take advantage of, how we pay etc. Data like this is priceless. The stores can build up a detailed picture of their customers, categorise us and send us tailor-made offers based on our shopping history to encourage us to return to the store and buy more stuff. And they see which vouchers and offers we use and which we don’t. So every time we go back in the shop they are finding out more and more detail about us. It’s actually a bit creepy.
So why shouldn’t my local farm shop do the same? Well, that’s because they won’t be collecting and harvesting all of that important data using an expensive EPOS system. What they’ll be achieving is something quite different. There are, broadly, 2 types of customer at the local farm shop. The first type is those people who support the shop because they want to see it succeed, like the produce and the whole experience of shopping there. The second type of customer is the one who use the local shop to top-up their weekly supermarket shop. That’s not to say that this second group of customers isn’t as valuable, but you probably aren’t going to change their buying behaviour any time soon. The farm shop is a single store, not part of a big chain. The people who own it, as they serve you at the till, see with their own eyes who is buying what, how regularly they use the shop, gather feedback and ideas, so they don’t need a complex computer system and computerised systems to give them that customer insight.
So what does the loyalty card achieve? Actually, what it will potentially achieve is what worries me. It’ll mean that every customer who has a card will be contributing a smaller amount of profit to the business. Which means that the farm shop will need to increase the number of customers and volume of sales to achieve the same level of profit as before they introduced the card. And when you’re located in a rural area, that’s not easy.
So does brand loyalty still exist? Yes. Some of the time. But it’s not as simple as it might first appear and these days loyalties are tested almost hourly. And it depends on which face we have on.
April 24, 2012 5:15 pm
Michelle – Ketchup MD
The dodgy sex aside, I sometimes think that long term client relationships are a bit like marriages. Both parties enter into them with eyes wide open and with the best of intentions; and learn to adjust their expectations as time passes.
At first it’s all passion and togetherness discovered. There are a couple of warm discussions as you feel your way around and operational guidelines are laid down.
Then something wonderful happens
Like all seasoned couples, you become perfectly aligned. The agency is so immersed in the client’s market that it responds to new challenges instinctively. Our creative/management team thinks proactively – without being briefed – to present new directions, ground-breaking ideas and early solutions to future issues. In short, we all work together in shorthand.
Blind date? Actually we met on the internet
A good number of our clients have been with us for over 5 years, some for even longer. Most of our new clients come to us via recommendations from established clients, or people who have worked with us previously. Which is gratifying.
But we do go on blind dates – or pitches, as they’re known in the industry. We also attract new business via the net and targeted marketing efforts. Lucky really, because if we can’t market ourselves…
Taking it personally
Gary – Ketchup Design Guru
And sometimes the personal partner merges with the professional. Our Director of Copy married his Art Director and our Creative Director met his intended over the garden wall when they were children, but he designed all my wedding stationery and table layouts. And our longest standing client was at the ceremony some – oooh – 13 years ago now.
There’s a lot to be said for long term relationships.
January 24, 2012 7:09 am
They’re called ‘baselines’ because they sit underneath logos, or ‘strap lines’ because they tie all the other elements of communication together with a single thought. Whatever you call them, they are absolute blighters to write.
The summation of everything. In 5 words
Baselines must leave consumers with a single, over-riding thought when they wander out of your communication. They’re the manure that allows your communication to blossom. They must be memorable, apposite, incisive, umbrella ideas. They are a statement of intent. They represent the one single thought your company espouses, its appeal to consumers, its brand image. And you can’t use the word ‘care’. Everyone’s seen it 1000 times and no-one believes it anyway. As an example, here’s one we prepared earlier for a people’s health insurance company.
“Health-wise it pays”. It’s colloquial and memorable, yet it communicates the company’s line of business, the wisdom of being with them, the fact that it’s sensible to have some form of health cover, and the crucial proposition that the company will pay out. In 3 or 4 words. Took a couple of days to write, mind you.
Hire the dog, don’t bark yourself hoarse.
Of course, if you’re writing a website you’ll have to include SEO in your copy and that’s a completely new piece of nadgery; as Ketchup’s resident Search Marketing wizard – Simon Fisher – will gladly explain. But for the moment you’re finished. You’ve defined your proposition, devised a strategy, established a tone-of-voice, created a headline, written compelling copy and rounded off with an unforgettable baseline. Only one thing left to do – ask yourself if it wouldn’t have been a damn sight more cost effective to have called in Ketchup’s copy team before you began!
Coming soon… Copywriting for our clients
To avoid doing-it-yourself, call Michelle on 07747 604020 and ask her for a copy quote
No-one was ever bored into buying a product
January 6, 2012 3:08 pm
Now write your copy. Start by creating a copy skeleton with your product proof points arranged like vertebrae along the spine of your proposition story. Then add the flesh from your list of important selling points. What, you didn’t devise a copy platform of selling points? But that’s like setting off on a journey across Botswana without a route map. Let’s hope the camel knows where it’s going.
No-one was ever bored into buying a product.
Once underway, keep your body copy short and keep it interesting. You can seduce consumers, threaten them, bully them (sometimes), flatter them, bribe them, frighten or befriend them but you can’t bore them into buying your product. They won’t even bother reading it. Would you still be reading this if it was boring? Tell your story succinctly and strip out the stuff that’s only in there because you think it’s clever. You’re not here to show off; you’re here to convince your target audience to buy the product.
Keep a tight grasp on your commercial imperative, and have your reader fixed firmly in your mind’s eye. Choose someone you know, who is in your target audience, and write like you were talking to them. Then ask a teenager to read it. They can be brutally enlightening, can teenagers.
Above all, avoid doggerel and be original. Don’t use phrases you’ve read in other ads. Just because it looks like an advert and sounds like an advert doesn’t mean it’ll sell your product. It means your readers will yawn, think ‘same old crap’ and turn the page.
So that’s the easy part. The final part of the copywriting conundrum is writing baselines.
Coming soon… The tricky bit.
To avoid doing-it-yourself, call Michelle on 0330 088 9277 and ask her for a copy quote or contact us here.