OUR THINKING
Promises promises

Is it that claims research has become more popular, or perhaps it is something about our offer that has attracted a disproportionate number of claims projects this year? Either way, the increased focus on claims has led us to a new level of understanding about the role of claims, and the interactions between rational and emotional, implicit and explicit brand and product communication. Why is it, for instance, that some forms of messaging can generate extraordinary levels of engagement, to a point where they link directly to emotional gratification and, in doing so, can seem to be accepted almost independent of any consumer-perceived product credibility…. whilst others can be considered appealing and credible, but end up failing to convert into sales growth or brand loyalty?

The answers to such questions aren’t simple and they certainly shine the spotlight on some of the shortfalls of traditionally used methods to evaluate and prioritise product claims, mainly because they under-estimate the complexity of how consumers really absorb and respond to communication. In order to truly understand how claims work and how they can be optimised, we, as researchers, need to be more fully cognisant of the disciplines of linguistics, semantics, semiotics, psychology and neuro-science. Consumers can’t simply read and respond to words or ideas in isolation, nor can we anticipate how they interpret meaning simply through using system 2 research methods.

We also need to be able to determine and/or predict how dimensions such as credibility change over time. For instance, a claim that lacks any credibility today, may well be extremely powerful if it also carries a stronger link to a consumer’s hopes and dreams because it infers ‘credibility optimism’ – essential to potency to drive demand which facilitates the required supply-side shift to enable the claim to be feasible in a shorter time-frame. Conversely, claims that have strong credibility may lack perceived power because the way consumers respond to their communication is largely non-verbal, yet many agencies still test lexicon in isolation of the required semiotic codes that fundamentally trigger the emotional side of the response.

Our claimology model has been developed to integrate our understanding of these different perspectives to provide a more holistic and robust framework for our clients across both current and future commercial horizons. Stay tuned for more – hopefully, we’ll be in a position to present the claimology model and its impact in an up-coming conference soon!

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