Today is Election Day, so if you’re reading this post and haven’t gone to vote yet, do that first.
Recently, I had the opportunity to reread Anthea Watson Strong’s June 10 post about “The Three Levers of Civic Engagement.” It’s a terrific article and worth a full read, because it does a great job of really drilling down to the very foundations of – put very simply – getting people to do things.
And, basically, it comes down to three simple questions that voters and consumers almost always ask before deciding to do anything – whether it’s voting for your candidate or buying your brand.
- Will it make a difference?
Everyone hates wasted effort. Voters – particularly in large elections – may be inclined to think their individual votes don’t make a difference. Think your vote won’t matter? You’re probably less likely to vote.
For consumers, this question gets translated to “Does it matter what brand I buy?” From a Full Contact standpoint, we work really hard to answer this question for consumers in our work with Cumberland Farms. Cumberland sells a darn good cup of coffee (and iced coffee, too) in one of the most competitive coffee markets in the world – New England. Here’s a short video case study to show how we’ve helped them stand out (and thrive) at the epicenter of the National Coffee Wars.
- Will it help me?
We’re human – and we are more likely to do things that benefit us. Voters vote when they feel a candidate or an issue will make their lives better. Nothing in it for you? Good luck getting excited about it.
Here, again, it may seem elementary, but a brand should never walk out the front door without its value proposition. This is particularly important for innovative brands offering a product or service that hasn’t been offered before. Take our work with Zipcar, for example. Beyond raising awareness of a cool, upstart urban transportation company, we also had to convince folks that they needed a service they’d never known was even possible.
- How will it make me feel?
The x-factor, with voters, is their sense of civic duty. For me at least, voting makes me feel good – sort of like writing hand-written notes and exercising. I know it’s the right thing to do, and, when I do it, I feel good. As Anthea Watson Strong points out, even when voters feel like their votes don’t matter and they won’t get any tangible benefit from voting, their senses of civic virtue can still push them to vote. It’s basically the trump card.
Which, as a marketer, brings me to emotion. One of the things that Full Contact does really well is find and inject emotion into every brand with which we work. How does buying or using a product make someone feel? Relieved? Excited? Secure? Trendy? Like civic duty, emotion is a powerful tool. So while you may not be initially inclined to feel warm and snuggly when you think about insurance, we found it was just the right emotion to use with Arbella Insurance.
Sometimes the simplest things – like voting or asking these three basic questions – can make the biggest difference of all.