AIDA Transformed By Digital Media. What Does It Mean To Your Brand Communication?

The other day I wrote quite a long post on the future of integrated communication from a digital perspective. I stressed the fact that in order for your brand to create and maintain strongs brand  in the future you’ve gotta provide people with true values not just fun stuff that entertains. On top of that I’ve also written a quite extensive post on how all your brands belong not to you, but to the consumer. You might wanna tap into that one too before reading this post. Here we go:

You’ve lost control of almost all of your sales process. Accept it and change or die. (Had to go punk style)

That actually happens to tactical communication as we know it when all rules are changed? What happens to ads, prints, point of sale, direct marketing etc?

Let’s me elaborate on that based on an old communication model called AIDA, Attention, Information, Desire and Acquire, first described in 1898 by E. St. Elmo Lewis. Some people say it’s dead since way back. I say it’s more alive than ever but it’s transformed.It serves a great purpose when explaining to you guys and girls heading brands and companies out there how you’re supposed to rock your brands in the future.

Information, desire and acquire in the hands of the consumers

How your brand communication is changed on every level as we move into the future of communication.

A- Attention (Awareness): attract the attention of the customer

Yesterday: Use creative advertising that intercept whatever the consumer is doing and make him/her crave your brand

Tomorrow: Here’s the good news. If you know branding, advertising and all that good stuff we’ve been doing for years. You’re in for a ride. Brands will realise that TV, Print, Outdoor, Banners – all those yummy above the line things – will rule the next 10 years. There’s simply now way to grab peoples attention but to shake them around in a medium where you cannot miss them. Of course, people say young kids does not watch TV, but they still do if it’s relevant. On top of all those old things you of course gotta get your shit together when it comes to the product. In transparent times – failure is not an option!

I – Interest: raise customer interest by focusing on and demonstrating advantages and benefits.

Yesterday: When we tried to get hold of more information about products our resources were limited. Of course we could ask friends. But what were the chances of us having the exact same crave for a product. We then relied on newspapers, magazines and TV channels. Honestly. Who believes the reporter for a car magazine wasn’t bribed in one way or another when writing that excellent article about the new BMW 3 series you’re looking for. On top of that you can be sure the PR people did their best to make sure he was positive anyway unless he didn’t fall for fancy dinners and test drives accompanied with wonderful wines and spicy women in the south of spain. We even had use for the phone catalogue. That pile of paper served its purpose.

Tomorrow All changed. Let’s say the advertising agency has gotten your blood running in your veines. What’s next? Easy. Google or a status update in Facebook. And BAM – you’ve lost control. That Google search will turn up, not that brand that he or she is looking for. Instead we’ll land on review sites, price comparison sites, blogs, forums, social networks and more. The results in Google will all be based on the intelligence of the people, or at least the people that knows how to build brands for the future.

What to do: Start changing your mix. Head over to that post of mine that I mentioned above and study how to change your media mix. Build value. Make sure people benefit from linking to you. Set your prices so that Pricerunner and other comparison sites list your shop first. Spread content everywhere.

D – Desire: convince customers that they want and desire the product or service and that it will satisfy their needs.

Yesterday: You OWNED this one. Clever managers educated clever sales people. The consumer, stuck inside your defined space where you built up a POS (point of sale) presence that made him/her crave your products. Of course you spent money on industrial design and shit. But compared to today you relied on the retail channel to do their work.

Tomorrow I OWN this one. Me and my friends. As I’m getting closer and closer to deciding upon which product I’m gonna get I ask around. What does people think, what do my friends say, comparisson sites etc.

What to do: Make sure you focus ten times more on your product development, turn your industrial design department into GOD. They should steer the entire company forward. If you’re lucky we’re coming to visit you. But like a kid, armed with her/his wishlist for Santa Claus, the consumer of tomorrow knows exactly what she/he wants and what the right price is.

A – Action: lead customers towards taking action and/or purchasing.

Yesterday: Let me follow you to the cashier” – Remeber this one? To break free and decide not to buy your product when been given a 30 minute sales pitch is prettyd darn hard.

Tomorrow If you’re unlucky (or lucky depending on your digital competence) you’re looking at closing the deal online. Usability, language, design, visualisation, payment processes etc etc etc. Alone behind my computer or mobile device, that’s where I’ll be. And the second I feel insecure, doesn’t find where to go next and so on, that’s the second I leave without buying anything.

What to do: Get wired. Never again hire marketing people that doesn’t know how to convert people. Change Microsoft Office into A/B testing in your hiring profile. Send your troopers back to the school. Have them learn everything there is to know about online commerce – cause you’ll need it.

Last but not least. Of course there are brands out there that doesn’t have to give a shit about this. After all, we will not buy nuclear plants for some time still over the Internet. The rest of you – get going!

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  • great post as most of them. A reflection. Don’t we need to add the question about the product before the A, (given this transparent world) – A rash question “Do Your product/service have what it takes?” If not – why bother? Why draw attention to something that will be revealed by the reviews, by your friends, by the forums etc soon you will end up making suicide?

  • Hey C – Welcome into the game 🙂

    Of course you’re right and that was my intention with referring to the post written the other day. I do however believe that there are several sectors where you still can compete without great products. After all, if you have a product that serves as your brands main resource and it doesn’t stand that transparency test – then my recommendation wouldn’t be “not to bother” it would rather be – sell as much as you can while you’re developing a new product.

    In the end of the A section I did however write “On top of all those old things you of course gotta get your shit together when it comes to the product. In transparent times – failure is not an option!” – maybe I should emphasize that more. But I’d say go to the two posts in the beginning of this post to read about that 🙂

  • AIDA and above the line is alive and well, agreed. Love how you bloated the model and made it digitally relevant. Just want to highlight how vital it now is to align expectations with your product/service, transparency is great if you can live up to it!

  • How much is actually bought this way?
    I guess just a few percent of all buyers go the long way with reviews, research price comparison just to end up getting a different product anyway because the one the looked for is out of production. Also a lot of people don’t know shit about the product they want.

    Take a shop like MediaMarkt. The don’t have ANY products online for price comparison. They send out a paper ad each week with some attractive prices on some products which you will be sure are out of stock in time you get there.
    But their large stock of products are not available to price comparison. Customers enter the very large store with the belief that this place is cheap, which they might not be. And thy end up buying a much more expensive product they have not intended to shop and was not able to do any online research or price comparison about.
    I guess maybe 20% do some research before buying electronics, but maybe only 10% end up buying that product cuz they change in the store to another product influenced by the sales person. The rest just wants a “LED TV” and buys the one in the store.

    What about all the other goods such as no brand clothes, food, etc that is the largest part of our buyings. No reaserch there I guess, except for those full time teenage bloggers that just “GOT TO HAVE THAT [insert brand name] JACKET AS BLONDINBELLA GOT”.
    Seen anyone doing preicerunnin’ for Dressman pants or Wella Schampoo? Still seems to earn a lot of money…

    I doubt people will have the time to do “price running” and reviewing for the wast majority of our spendings even in the future. Sure some will do, as they always have been doing for decades. For expensive stuff you buy seldom and/or the product’s fans (electronics , cars, houses, etc) . But not the majority of our spendings.

  • Hey Jens.

    Thanks for a challenging comment.

    What you’re actually commenting on is the Acquire part of the AIDA model. And you’re also speaking of laggards – people who buy products based on what other people have bought before them. The 20% you’re speaking of are leading these people into buying for example a LED TV or to be honest…probably just 5% are leading them.

    MediaMarkt might not have their products listed on Pricerunner due to the facts you’re describing. But you will still find their products there. And sooner or later even MediaMarkt might have to consider changing their communication strategy since they actually only loose money as of today. What MediaMarkt are doing is throwing money into a fire with the hope that once people gotten warm they’ll stay put. But they’re very wrong. I belive MediaMarkt will never start with the market strategy they have to day. It’s just to much based on burning money.

    As I said in the post – of course there are brands that doesn’t have to care about this at all. Often these brands wouldn’t have had to care about the old AIDA as well.

    But, on a global brand level we can be sure of the fact that tomorrow (not today) brands will have to change how they deliver value to lead their potential customers through their consuming journey.

    Attention, information and desire – that’s where the change is happening for most brands today. Tomorrow (within 5-15 years) as we all adapt to new technologies, eCommerce, search and social media we’ll look back and say to our self – How stupid were we when we actually bought something without looking what it actually should cost.

    ps. Blondinbella is an early adopter – even she walks down the path of AIDA to tell people what to wear 🙂

    ps2. I’ve got a non-anonymos commenting policy. So please feel free to continue the discussion. But hidden nicknames are just not my bag of tea. Next one without a full name goes down the drain…

  • Great post! Just found your site on the second page of my Google search for “best creative director blogs”. Interesting that a Swedish name shows up on an Atlanta Ga based search. In some ways this result speaks to what your post is commenting on. I will be back.

  • Fantastic post! I’ve used the AIDA process in my presentations at the Hyper Island Master Classes which not always have been an easy sell. But I really believe that the model is back and alive thanks to digital as it very well describes our conversion challenges as well as working with fragmented media channels in a more structured way. Thanks for the added thoughts and would be interesting to collaborate further on this.

  • Thanks!

    It is definitely alive. And above all – complex things needs to be simplified in order for people get going. Of course AIDA could be broked down into ACSSINEDUCAAS (Attention, Curiosity, Social, Search, Information, Navigation, Emotions, Desire, Usability, Conversion, Adaptiveness, Aquire and Satisfaction) and then be described for hours. Or even worse…But who would benefit from that. I firmly believe established models are worth renewing rather than killing them and getting people onboard new models.

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