This is the first in a series of nine blog posts which takes inspiration from a Cabinet Office commissioned report entitled MINDSPACE. The report sets out nine of the most robust (non-coercive) influences on our behaviour, which is captured in the simple mnemonic MINDSPACE:
The vast majority of government public policy aims to change or shape behaviour – changing or shaping behaviour and inspiring or engaging people is often a perquisite of many of the work we do for clients at H+K. “Hard” instruments such as legislation or regulation is the most effective way for policy-makers to compel us to act in certain ways. However, these instruments are not readily available, of course, to PR professionals aiming to change people’s behaviour and attitudes towards detergents, gin, football boots and the like – “hard” approaches are not appropriate. Policy-makers are increasingly turning to less coercive measures, such as incentives and sophisticated communications techniques, to change and shape behaviour. These less coercive approaches, summarised by MINDSPACE, are directly applicable to the work we do in marketing, advertising and communications. My series of posts in the coming months will work through each of the influences outlined in the MINDSPACE framework, giving examples and explaining how the framework is applicable to our industry.
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The way we respond to information depends greatly on the reactions we have to the source of that information.We are heavily influenced by who communicates information. Whatever our considered judgment about the value of a message, we automatically give it more or less weight according to the messenger. For example, we are often swayed by authority that has associations of expertise: public trust in expert public sector workers like doctors and teachers is much higher than for politicians.
Brands understand the importance of ‘the messenger’ with regard to influencing consumer choices and driving sales. Celebrity brand ambassadors are effective marketing techniques, because who communicates determines the consumer response and engagement to brand messages. Marketing spends are increasing in budget for the celebrity brand ambassador - PepsiCo struck a $50 million deal with Beyonce to be Pepsi’s brand ambassador.
Of course there are plenty of notable examples in UK/global brand marketing campaigns, and include Walkers veteran Gary Linekar, Marc Jacobs and Taylor Swift for Diet Coke, and Blackberry and Alicia Keys. However, sometimes brands can get it wrong – Alexander ‘Hooray Henry’ Armstrong was dropped in 2009 after 7 years as Pimms brand ambassador, reportedly for being ‘too posh’.
In order to quantify and qualify the use of celebrities in marketing campaigns it is important to evaluate their awareness, appeal, and relevance to a brand’s image and the celebrity’s influence on consumer buying behaviour. Advertisers are using celebrities for voice overs, and public relations + communications agencies understand the importance of influential celebrities to engage and shape behaviour. Harnessing the power of celebrities social media platforms can be a very powerful marketing tool. We saw that this week at H+K in which Ricky Gervais and Stephen Fry’s Twitter accounts generated a huge amount of consumer engagement with a hashtag campaign for our client Aviva.
Post your comments below on which celebrity brand ambassadors you think are the good, the bad and the ugly!