Friday, September 29, 2006

Moment of Least Resistance

My knees went weak when Dhruv looked deep into my eyes, I had butterflies in my stomach (the kind of feeling you have when your on top of a gaint wheel) it was magical.

And suddenly Dhruv’s mobile buzzes ‘Win a date with sizzling Mallika Sherawat! Only on Airtel …blah blah’ He hastily hits the delete key. He looked at me with a sheepish grin before I could react he plants a quick goodnight peck on my cheek and he was off. I stood there feeling embarrassed. Now, Mallika had a way with men even without really being around.

Advertisers spend millions of rupees every year trying to out shout competition and to get consumers to notice but little do they realize they are either being intrusive or having no effect on them. It is important to catch them at the right time at the right moment –find out when they are most vulnerable to their communication - Identify their Moment of least resistance. Last night was definitely not Dhuv’s moment of least resistance.

The other day I was lying on my bed, it was a lazy afternoon and I was scanning through the newspaper checking out the films running in the city, the radio was playing in the background. I flipped through Bangalore Times, glossing over page 3. Reams of paper plastered with colourful ads I don’t recall a single one. In the background Radio City was ringing with jingles which didn’t interest me too much either. Suddenly my mobile buzzes, I wonder if it could be any of my friends but most of them wouldn’t have recovered from the hangover last night. ‘Take home a Swift ...blah blah’, (Yeah right!) I delete it even before it starts.

I had just tossed a meticulously conceptualized media plan into the bin.

"What about my reach?" Screams the irate client.
"I think we should increase the number of channels to corner her, maybe we could use pizza delivery boys to get her to listen to us she can’t possibly slam the door on their faces", explains the young incorrigible media planner." You see it was not her moment of least resistance maybe….."

Probably the media planner was right, maybe a Pizza delivery boy would have been able to talk to me and maybe it was not my moment of least resistance.

And how does one determine what is their consumers moment of least resistance?

Moment of least resistance would vary with a product or service. If the product was a glucose drink the target audience is the young wife or mother, her moment of least resistance would be when she opens the door to her tired children who’ve dredged back from school or when she watches her weary husband plop on the couch without giving her a second glance! Is there some way to reach her then? Maybe through on-pack messaging or maybe when she is out shopping for her family, subtly reminding her that glucose will help revive the josh in her family.

If it was a job portal maybe radio spots in the morning and evening when most of the working population is traveling to and fro from their offices. They could either be thinking about their work ahead or examining the days work. The radio spots could be supported by a Pub promo. Most people unwind at pubs after work over a mug of beer talking about work or bitching about their bosses or better still looking for a new job!

Women are hard to please and they don’t like changing their personal care products frequently. Consequences of it could be disastrous – no one wants a bad hair day or burst into a sever rash. So a moisturizer brand should promote itself in a salon, a place women frequent to pamper themselves, to feel good and to relax. Go right ahead and spoil her, sponsor her pedicure, lure her into buying your product by giving her a sample pack. And if you can get her beautician to put in a word for your product, you’ve won half the battle because to her, her beautician's opinions are sacrosanct. When you have her begging for more, you know she’s for keeps. What is the point of putting up danglers in retail stores or tent cards in coffee shops!

Vaseline did something similar with the launch of their new product alovera and cucumber moisturizer last summer. A mall promo where women could take a break from shopping and get a pedicure done. Sunsilk watermelon offered free hair wash during the summer, even men where thronging the stall!

It is crucial to identify appropriate touch points, but it is even more important to map moments of least resistance. Every media planner walks a tight rope and often has to choose between maximizing reach and maximizing impact, all in a shoestring budget. In a world where consumers are bombarded with a plethora of media, it is crucial to identify the optimal mix that would help reduce cost and maximize impact.

It is important to recognize when your consumer is most susceptible to the brand communication. Sometimes something gimmicky works, at other times plain cash offs work, but in either case you have to get them to take notice. One just has to know the when and where of advertising to nail their consumer. Some big budget marketers pointlessly spend millions on newspaper or plastering every available billboard in town, maybe something of lesser magnitude will also work. The key is to know when your consumer is most vulnerable to your communication, then engage them, give them some novelty to hold their attention. The last leg is to drive home the message. And that’s what will net that winning goal for your product.


Manish said...

interesting post! but does it always have to be a moment of least resistance? why can't it be a message that elicits a moment of maximum particpation?

It's very easy to intrude. It doesn't require much thought or sensitivity! It's far more difficult to engage, excite...And that's where we need the next valence level of creativity!

Charu said...

interesting. you are right, most advertising catches us when we are at out most stressed - in fact, just looking to throttle the next person when the sms arrives and deleting it with a vengeance leaves us feeling satisfied!

a moment of least resistance need not be just whent he consumer is feleing vulnerable but also open to communication - or even actively looking for a solution. if you have read gladwell's tipping point (who hasn't?!) do you remember the bit about the nurse using beauty salons to create awareness about breast cancer? - India had a similar campaign a while ago where barbers were trained to spread correct information about AIDS - had blogged on this ages ago

read your blog regularly, but never go around to leaving acomment. very insightful stuff.