Back in the 1980s, Reebok was selling more shoes than Nike. At the time, the Nike product catered almost exclusively for marathon runners. With an objective to surpass the sales of their main competitor, Reebok, Nike’s marketing department created the "Just Do It.” campaign.
Why did it work? "Just Do It." was short and sweet, yet encapsulated everything people felt when they were exercising. People still feel that feeling today. Don’t want to run five miles? Just Do It. Don’t want to walk up four flights of stairs? Just Do It. It's a slogan we can all relate to the drive to push ourselves beyond our limits.
When deciding the best way to promote pensions or get people saving you could ask yourself what problem are you solving. Like Nike, we need to think about our pension campaigns if we are to change behaviours. We need to think about our product, our objectives and what we want to happen.
We need to help people see that saving for life after work will make them feel good. It’s something they can tick off that priority list, leaving them to focus on more immediate issues. That is the core issue in all of our messaging. We need to connect with them on an emotional level, so it is very hard to ignore. We also want people to take more ownership of their financial future – through saving. There are many ways to save, but research shows us that people have other priorities for their savings such as a holiday, deposit, a mortgage or just simply getting by.
To be better at engaging people when it comes to savings we also need to recognise that they are all individuals, with different priorities, different ages, incomes, debts and resources – the list goes on. We will cover this in more detail in ‘Understanding the customer’. First of all, it’s vital to look at what we mean by effective communications.
There are many definitions for communication effectiveness; all have their part to play. Here are nine characteristics of effective communication to use when planning your campaign.
Take time to consider the customer’s existing knowledge, ability, age, preferences or interest.
Your message needs to be of interest to the customer receiving it. Understanding their context and what’s important to them will help you create the emotional connection to help your communication achieve its specific goal. Listening to feedback, good, bad or indifferent is essential.
You must have a specific communication goal(s).
A message is only useful at the right time. Give a message at the wrong time, and you'll lose them.
The message should be concise. Irrelevant and unnecessary facts confuse people. Excluding irrelevant facts, which cloud the important message, is critical.
Effective communication transmits a complete message. One that the receiver can understand in full. Beware – we should not sacrifice completeness to attain conciseness.
Persuasiveness helps to develop a positive attitude from the customer towards the message.
Use appropriate language. Don't be ambiguous or use complex words, technical jargon, or poetry! Spin and exaggerated information irritates the receiver, makes the communication ineffective and could lead to disastrous consequences.
Selecting right media or mix of media is essential.
In our survey we asked why people are not keen to think about pensions. Not surprisingly, communicating pensions is frustrating. Our message is simply not getting through.