Friday, 2 May 2014

Communication Big Idea: From Strategy to Execution

When communication managers design their campaigns, they want to say a lot of things to their consumers. Given a choice, they would like to do mass advertising, and social media and OOH, and BTL activation and ...sponsorship. Is somethings left???? However, one thing that differentiates a successful campaign from a not so successful campaign is that one BIG IDEA.

This big idea is a port that connects a brand to the consumer. It is a platform that helps the brand find a place in consumer's heart. 

A strong Big Idea is media neutral, captures the brand essence or the emotion through which the brand wants to build a relation with its consumers. Taylor and Hatch in their book "rigorous magic" explain the communication strategy funnel including Brand Ideas, Advertising Ideas, Conceptual constructs etc. This note is adapted from the propositions given in their book but is modified to Indian scenario. 

Essentially, a communication plan has the following

Brand Positioning: The brand's POD or a unique value proposition: It is a promise made by a brand to its consumers. 
For example Brand Saffola has positioned its cooking oil on the proposition of "Healthy for the Heart". After re-positioning itself from being a therapeutic oil to a preventive oil, Saffola owned up the consumer insight that "The hopefully health-fuls are aware of health (read heart) issues; but struggle between their awareness and their motivation to act on it fully"

Brand Idea/ Big Communication Idea: The port that connects a brand to  its consumers and helps communicate the core brand value. The brand idea confirms with brand positioning and may even emerge from it. However, the big idea can change even without any change in positioning, to rejuvenate the brand or to own a different emotional space in consumer's mind. 
Saffola knew that the key decision maker for this category is a wife who constantly worries about her husband's health. She may look angry/frustrated with his lethargy but is actually concerned about his health. The brand owned up the 'Heart Space' and the big communication idea for this brand is that a "straight from the heart". 
Advertising/Campaign Idea: The taglines, slogans etc. are born out of the big idea and are memorable ways to communicate the brand. They involve emotional context and has a, audio-visual bent. 
The campaigns titled 'Kal Se', 'Abhi to Main Jawaan Hoon' are the advertising ideas for the brand Saffola. Multiple films were aired on these campaigns and were constantly change to keep the brand fresh. 
Activation Ideas: Short term content driven activities under the umbrella of the big idea: Activation ideas help in consumer engagement and allow the brands to marry long-term ambition with the immediate objectives. These can be executed locally and connect global idea to the local life.
Saffola started celebrating The World Heart day every year and conducted events on this day around the nation. They launched initiatives like "Heart age finder" etc. on their online platform to engage consumers. 

Contextual Constructs: “When and Where of the communication”: They do not influence the content but are subtle reinforcement to brand essence, advertising or activation ideas. They help to create engagement and participation from consumers. 
Saffola uses mass media, especially electronic, internet and social media apart from owning the World Heart Day. These are the primary constructs through which the brand comes to life. 
This sequence acts like a funnel. Brand positioning is a strategic decision and gives rise to  the brand idea. Brand idea is more strategic in nature whereas advertising ideas, activations and contextual constructs are executional aspects of the communication plan. 

In the above example, the success of brand Saffola, in terms of creating the TOM recall and strong purchase intention is reflective in focused, simple and single minded communication strategy. 


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