Advertising as dating game: It's the where things get serious

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A survey by Yahoo! and advertising giant BBDO says advertisers need to raise their game in “owned media” like sites to woo consumers.

The companies surveyed 1,000 consumers and marketers and dressed their findings in a dating metaphor, advising advertisers to think of paid media (advertising) as a “first date,” a shot at catching the consumer's attention, and owned media as an opportunity to “get closer” to the consumer.

“Consumers want to experience brands more fully for themselves in order to determine their level of attachment,” said the study's authors. “In this phase, the consumer is beginning to become emotionally invested and form a deeper connection. They are deciding if they want to associate with the brand, spend more time with it and get to know it better. In short, they need a reason to stay.”

Doing so means not only giving the price, product attributes and proof points of the brand but also history, quirky details and interesting stories, as well as telling consumers why they should care about it, said the survey, which was presented at an Advertising Week conference on Monday. 

“Owned media is where marketers have an opportunity to get consumers to take action and to stay,” they said. “Here is where storytelling should be at its best. The use of arcs to draw out a story and build sustained interest is one example. It's also where marketers should rely more heavily on digital media to help build these sustained connections.”

The companies compared great brands to “an interesting person at a party,” but cautioned against becoming the bore who corners you and drones on and on about himself. Forty-nine percent of consumer respondents said they shut out “aggressively advertised” brands for which they hear the same ad over and over, and 82% said they will ignore those they see as overly-intrusive.

Earned media – whether generated by PR or through unprompted consumer reviews – is where consumers settle down and go steady with brands, said BBDO and Yahoo!

“This is where consumers should play a role, where brands need to be responsive to what is happening in the moment and where authenticity and humanity are at their peak.”
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