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Engrams, Brandgrams and Promotional Marketing

25th November 2014 | Roddy Mullin

Roddy Mullin's new book Promotional Marketing encompasses two recent discoveries, the role the subconscious plays in the shoppers’ mind process when deciding what to buy and whether to buy.

9780749472467-1.jpgEach shopper has a ‘hook’ inside the brain onto which they hang or store information. It is called the engram. Each shopper may have different engram hooks. Typically an engram is based on a noise, a smell, a feel or a visual image such as a logo. For example the McDonald’s ‘M’, the Audi four linked circles. Each time the shopper sees or hears either, the brain helpfully brings forward everything on the engram into the conscious mind. This includes advertising remembered, comments read, remarks from social media and their own experience of the brand. Good or bad. The total mind picture is called a brandgram. It influences the buying decision. Of course the actual purchase may be thwarted by the brand being ‘out of stock’ or a purchase process being too complicated. And of course that experience is added to the engram.

Now a marketer is able through social media analysis to extract shopper brandgrams – their view of a brand. The analysis follows a number of researched methods dividing shopper comments into categories ranging from disgust to euphoria. A comparison with the brand manager, retailer or supplier’s preferred brandgram indicates the correcting action and messages they need to take.

The shopper needs input messages from 6 media channels which are stored on the engram to reach the tipping point when they decide to buy:

1. An engram needs to be supplied – hence the importance of a logo and why it should as a generality be retained in perpetuity – this can be achieved and the brand benefits and features built onto the engram through advertising, PR, direct marketing
2. People expect to have a relationship with a brand and emails, text messages, direct mail can be used to deliver this aspect – again hopefully building on the engram
3. People seek others’ views and social media is the channel for this – along with word-of-mouth conversations. A brand should clarify and correct erroneous messages so a watching brief on social media is required. Celebrities or experts can also deliver persuasive views.
4. Local media prompts recall on the way to a store or on a website –in the UK this is well understood, for example, at corner stores where competing brands messages vie for every wall, door, floor, or any surface space.
5. At the point of sale itself there should be messages – often on the packaging of products – all triggered for the shopper’s conscious mind by the engram logo.
6. Finally, the decider: a promotional offer, a sales promotion – money off, free extra fill, BOGOF, three for the price of two. Now interestingly the promotional offer can be applied anywhere along the journey to purchase or at all message points along the way. The book describes the 12 reasons for why a promotional offer should be used.

The raison d’etre of Promotional Marketing is to help practitioners pragmatically promote their products and services. The book covers the shopper/buyer and the new thinking on what is needed to get the shopper to buy. Next is creativity – key to being noticed in this multi-message age – followed by promotional marketing from the shopper/buyer perspective – whether they are required to participate or not or are active in seeking products themselves – and how the practitioner should respond. Information on suppliers, the standard promotional offers and implementation, including overcoming legal and international pitfalls, are included as well as how to obtain insight and measure effectiveness.

About the Author: Roddy Mullin is a Chartered Marketer, a Fellow of the RSA and a Chartered Engineer. He has been a consultant for sales and marketing for the past two decades, with his business aim being to 'make people make money'. He is a former Vice President of the Central London branch of the CIM, a former Court Assistant of the Worshipful Company of Marketors, and a former examiner for the Institute of Promotional Marketing Diploma. He has written or co-authored several books for Kogan Page including The Handbook of Field Marketing. His new book Promotional Marketing is available at a 20% discount at www.koganpage.com until 31st December 2014 with code MKTPMRSA


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