Advertising communication models are theories about ‘how advertising works. ” These theories or models attempt to explain and describe, at the individual buyer or consumer level, the process by which advertising communicates with and effectively persuades individuals to take action. Managers operate with these theories or models, explicitly or implicitly, whenever they create, approve, or test advertising. Most available theories or models share one of two common faults: (1) they are either singular versions f the hierarchy-of-effects notion (e. . , Cooley 1961; Renumber 1974; Howard and Sheet 1969; Grumman 1972; L badge and Steiner 1 961; McGuire 1976; Rogers 1962) whereas it is evident that advertising works in at least several different ways rather than via a single process; (2) or else the theories acknowledge multiple processes but focus inordinately on the role or location of brand attitude as a communication objective (e. G. , Ray and Webb 1974; Ray 1982; Smith and Sanitary 1982; Vaughn 1981) while ignoring other necessary steps in the advertising communication process.
The purpose of the present article is to provide a new interpretation of previous approaches and to extend the context of advertising communication models to incorporate the other inputs that advertising managers need. Firstly, a general structure of the necessary components of an advertising communication model is provided. Secondly, four fundamental brand attitude strategies are described which, together with two prior types of brand awareness alternatives, produces a total of eight basic advertising communication models. Thirdly, advertising tactics for these models are listed.
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Finally, major implication for he process of pre-testing advertising are discussed. GENERAL STRUCTURE OF A complete account of the overall advertising process requires at least six steps (Figure 1). The last two of these steps are concerned with marketing objectives, to which advertising must contribute, namely: sales or market share, leading to profit for the firm. These will not be discussed further in this article. [The present article is based on several chapters from a forthcoming book by the authors to be published by McGraw-Hill.
A more detailed exposition of the points summarized here can be found in those chapters. For the present article, the authors would like to acknowledge the comments of Robert J. Donovan, then Visiting associate processor of marketing at New York University, Geraldine Fennel of Fordham University, as well as,research personnel at Ogling & Matter/New York and Ogling & Matter/Australia. ] FIGURE 1 SIX-STEP SEQUENCE OF ADVERTISING EFFECTS The first four steps are the province of advertising as a communication process, along with the behavioral outcome of communication.
In order for advertising communication to be successful, the prospective buyers in the argue audience must: (1 ) be exposed to an ad or series of ads in a campaign, via media, (2) process the elements of each at in the intended manner so that the advertising results in (3) communication effects, connected to the brand, which in appropriate circumstances produce (4) action, such as purchase of the brand. [As usual we use the term ‘brand” in a broad sense to include any type of product or service that the advertising is designed to promote.
Also "action” can include a variety of desired target behaviors on the part of distributors or consumers, such as sales inquiries, visits to retail outlets, and there forms of purchase-related behaviors whenever purchase is consummated by personal selling or other marketing inputs. ] Our approach postulates a “recycling” sequence of overall steps whereby a buyer may take action, then be recomposed to further advertising and go through the sequence again, albeit in a modified state of mind due to purchase or usage experience with the brand (Renumber 1 974; Smith and Sanitary 1982).
The overall sequence should not be confused with the hierarchy-of-effects notion, which is essentially a theory about the communication effects step. Rather, our approach postulates a “hatchery” of effects, at both the processing step and the communication effects step, as will be explained later. An advertising communication model should incorporate all four steps. Essentially, an advertising communication model sets objectives for each step, and provides strategies and tactical detail on how each step is supposed to lead causally to the next one.
From the managers “top down ” planning perspective, an advertising communication model therefore consists of decisions at four levels: A. BUYER: Target audience action objectives B. BRAND: Communication objectives C. AD(S): Processing objectives D. MEDIA: Exposure plan A generic structural checklist for advertising communication models is given in the Appendix. The checklist asks for sufficient detail to enable a comprehensive advertising communication model to be stated while at the same time attempting to be short and explicit enough so that managers will use it (Little 1979).
In the succeeding sections of the article, we explain how the checklist is used to develop an advertising communication model suited to particular advertising situations. A further note about the checklist is that he manager is asked to indicate whether the input for each component of the model stems from research or from judgment. Checking the research box means the manager considers that adequate research supports the input; if not, the manager still supplies the input but checks the judgment box.
Not only does this ensure that all components are addressed, it also highlights areas where specific types of research would be of value to yield sounder conclusions. In the real world of advertising management, adequate research often does not exist nor can it afford to be done. Much planning stems from judgment and one of our purposes is to provide some theoretical input that will make these judgments more defensible and better reasoned. The checklist is not in itself an advertising communication model; it is just the general framework.
However, what goes into the framework must be based on an advertising communication model, of which we will now outline the main alternatives. A. Target Audience Action Objectives (Buyer) Step A-I : Target Audience. The first step in constructing an advertising communication model for a particular brand and advertising situation is to identify the target audience. In our approach, a target audience is defined behaviorally and attitudinally as the group of people (or households, companies or retailers) from whom sales are expected to come.
A target audience consists of those people who will be most responsive to advertising. The concept of target audience differs from the broader concept of market segments. Market segments are based on the other “4 AS” in the marketing mix, such as product segments for different end uses, price segments for high and low priced brands, geographic markets for distribution, or customer sales potential segments for personal selling. A target audience for advertising may be drawn from people within a market segment or across market segments.
It is their vulnerable behavior and attitude toward the brand that draws them together as a target audience for advertising. Increased sales through advertising can come from one or more of four prospective target audiences: (1) new category users who can be induced to try the product category via our brand, e. G. , IBM personal computers; (2) brand locals, who can be induced via new users to use more of our brand than they use at present, e. G. Arm & Hammer baking soda; (3) brand switchers who can be induced o switch to our brand more frequently than they do at present, e. G. , the Coke-Pepsi battle; and (4) other-brand locals – who can be converted to our brand from loyalty to another, e. G. , Ralph Laurel’s polo shirts’ inroads on Good Lactate’s previously loyal buyers. A particular advertising campaign rarely addresses more than one target audience. To do so would be requiring too much of what should be a tailored communication effort.
However, managers will sometimes establish a primary target audience, to whom the communication content is mainly tailored, and one or more secondary target audiences, who will be affected but to a lesser degree. A campaign targeted to other-brand locals, for example, is often undertaken with the provision that the campaign does not alienate but rather maintains the behavior of current brand locals. Step A-2: Decision-Maker. Unless purchase of the brand is an entirely personal decision, the manager must then identify the decision- maker or decision-makers within target audience households or companies to whom the advertising is directed. In our checklist the manager is asked to nominate the decision-maker by role and by action (Webster and Wind 1972) s to whether the target audience individual should: propose the brand for consideration (initiator), recommend it (influencer), make the final decision (decider), order or buy it (purchaser), or use or consumer it (user).
The communication content of the advertising will differ according to the decision-maker target, e. G. , men’s shirts such as Hathaway being advertised to women as influencer, or children’s products such as Fisher-price toys being advertised to parents as deciders. For entirely personal purchases, the individual occupies all five roles and is the solitary decision-making and action argue. Step A-3: Personal profile. Target audiences are behaviorally and attitudinally defined with regard to the brand. A better term for the latter would be communication effect-defined, since it is not only attitude that determines action, as we shall see in the next section. ) In this last section of Part A of the checklist, the manager is asked to specify the target audience decision-maker’s current rate of behavior in terms of frequency and volume, as well as the future target rate desired as an action objective for the advertising.
Also requested are several personal profile variables: media exposure patterns, to help media planners reach decision-makers directly; demographics, to help copywriters portray the decision-maker; chirography’s, to further help copywriters in writing “to” the decision- maker; and an estimate of the decision-maker’s likely “mental state” during media exposure, which can be useful to copywriters to determine the style of ads, e. G. , for tired late-night TV viewers or harried commuters reading newspapers.
Again it should be emphasized that although research may not be available for all these inputs, they will be tacitly assumed anyway in the process of advertising creation. That they are identified as judgments forces these aspects to be considered and can highlight points at which audience research may be needed. Already, therefore, we see emerging the alternative content decisions that need to go into the particular advertising communication model via the general checklist.
However, it is not yet reasonable to refer to these as alternative advertising communication models, since these decisions mainly refer to alternative targets of the communication rather than to alternative communication processes. The next section of the checklist, Part a, differentiates the fundamental advertising communication models via communication processes. B. Communication Objectives (Brand) Our approach utilizes five advertising communication effects (see Table 1 for definitions).
In order to take action such as purchase of a brand, a target audience individual must: (1) have the category need, i. E. , be “in the market” for the product class; (2) be aware of the brand as an option within the class; (3) have at least a tentatively favorable brand attitude toward it; (4) intend to buy it, although this intention may be quite latent or subconscious until the individual is in the purchase situation; and (5) experience no barriers to purchase facilitation, such as distribution unavailability or inability to meet the price or pricing terms.
TABLE 1 THE EVE BASIC COMMUNICATION EFFECTS DEFINED The five communication effects may appear to resemble and perhaps to extend the notion of a hierarchy-of-effects, and it would be surprising if they didn’t, given the widely acclaimed face validity of the hierarchy notion. However, there is no assumption that they occur in any hierarchical order, and indeed they may be generated simultaneously or at different times and tit varying degrees of strength in a prospective buyer’s mind.
For example, an individual may know all about Preparation-H, but not experience the first communication effect, category need, for a hemorrhoid remedy until later in life. Similarly, an individual may have the category need and experience no barriers to purchase facilitation, but make an “impulse” selection on the brand wherein brand awareness, brand attitude, and brand purchase intention are created by point-of-purchase advertising at the last minute.
There is no hierarchical necessity although the communication effects may in mom cases be experienced at full strength in the numerical order shown. Not all communication effects are necessarily communication objectives for a particular advertising campaign. There are, however, two effects that are universal objectives brand awareness, and brand attitude. [O[One could argue that brand awareness is the single universal communication objective.
F-or example, the one-word ad "Peppier” may effectively increase or maintain brand awareness and cause purchase among target audiences who already have a fully learned favorable attitude toward the Peppier brand. However, cost managers would concede that, although the brand attitude content is by implication only, the brand attitude objective of even this one-word ad is to maintain the target audience’s favorable attitude toward Peppier by reminding the target audience of their attitude and thus protecting against competitive attitude interference.
It is therefore meaningful to regard both brand awareness and brand attitude as universal communication objectives. ]t is these two communication objectives that differentiate advertising communication models. All advertising campaigns are aimed at maintaining rand awareness (if not to increase it) and at maintaining brand attitude (if not to change it). The other three communication effects are optional as objectives. Step B-l : Category Need. Category Need is an optional communication objective for a particular campaign.
In the checklist, as with all the communication effects, the manager is asked to mike this decision explicitly. Category need can be ignored as an objective if this communication effect is at full strength in the prospective buyer’s mind. For example, Coca- Cola probably does not have to address the cola category need in advertising Coke; whereas in advertising for Diet Coke, the category need for diet cola may require reminding, or selling, the other two options in the checklist.
Discontinuous innovations (Robertson 1971) invariably have to “sell” the category need in their advertising new brand entries in a well known category may have to remind the target audience of the category to which the brand is aspiring; but established brands rarely have to address category need unless, as Campbell Soup did recently, they are trying to stimulate category sales of which they reap a large share. Step B-2: Brand Awareness. B and Awareness is a necessary communication objective.
Indeed, without brand awareness being experienced at some point prior to the purchase decision, the brand cannot be bought. Brand awareness is poorly conceptualized in most advertising plans. Only Batman (1979) and a few others have come close to identifying what is required to set valid brand awareness objectives. Many advertising agencies and their client companies continue to rely blindly on top-of-mind brand recall, when many brands are in fact chosen by brand recognition at the point-of-purchase, not by recall prior o the purchase situation.
The main decision concerning the brand awareness objective (and thus the brand awareness component of the advertising communication model) is whether the target audience predominantly enters the brand purchase decision via brand recall or brand recognition. This may differ by target audience for the same brand. For instance, R-C Cola brand locals may predominantly plan to buy that brand, by recall; whereas R-C Cola brand switchers may predominantly notice it at the point-of-purchase as one of the alternative cola brands that they switch between, by recognition.
The checklist does provide an option of “both,” to be selected only when a substantial proportion of the target audience is known or judged to use the alternative method. This should not be used as a “cop-out” option by managers because, as we shall see, the advertising communication tactics differ markedly depending on whether the objective is brand recall or brand recognition. Complexity is increased if both brand awareness communication objectives must be addressed in a single advertisement, and furthermore, the exposure (media) schedule differs too.
Table 2 presents a summary of the advertising tactics recommended for the respective types of brand awareness. [It [It should be clearly stated that the tactics recommended for brand awareness and brand attitude are hypothetical at this point. Most were synthesized from a thorough reading of various advertising sources, although there is a good deal of original speculation. If these a priori tactical recommendations stimulate research to test or challenge them, they will have served their present purpose. A full rationale for each tactic is given in Roister and Percy (1983) and the rationales can only be summarized here. Brand recognition is a much easier response to learn than brand recall. The main brand recognition tactic is to emphasize the package and the name visually in the advertising. This prescription is often ignored or slighted, and it may be noted that it renders radio a very poor medium for generating brand recognition. Media weight can also be reduced after initial learning of brand recognition, since it is a relatively easy response to maintain (see also Grumman 1972).
However, the reduced media weight tactic may be overruled by the brand attitude strategy, as explained in the next section. Brand recall is a considerably more difficult form of brand awareness to achieve. As suggested in the table, the key is not simply repetition of the brand name, but repetition of the association of the brand name with the category need. Brand recall does not occur in a vacuum. Rather, brand recall is a "response” to a category need "cue” and it must be learned in association with that cue. Note that in brand recognition, the process is reversed: brand recognition is the cue and category need is the response. For example, you see the FAA package and remember that you need detergent. ) TABLE 2 SUMMARY OF BRAND AWARENESS ADVERTISING TACTICS FOR BRAND RECOGNITION AND BRAND RECALL The category-brand association can be made in what we have called the "main copy,” which includes headlines, tag lines, and also the copy claims themselves, to ensure repetition.
The other brand recall tactics are explained further in Roister and Percy (1983) where it is shown that personal reference increases brand recall by personalizing the association; that bizarre executions are a very effective associative vehicle as long as they do not detract from the brand’s "image”; and that jingles, if they attach on with the target audience and elicit spontaneous rehearsal, are a very effective mnemonic device for increasing brand recall because music offers greater opportunity of unique encoding than words heard o; read in cows unaccompanied by music.
Step B-3: Brand Attitude. Brand Attitude is the second necessary communication objective. Brand "attitude” as a communication effect is defined in our approach a little differently from the usual academic definition and more in line with the way most practitioners use the term (Figure 2). Academic definitions tend to follow the Fishbone type of definition (e. . , Fishbone and Zen 1975) in which attitude is conceptualized as overall affect toward the act of buying the brand.
However, as Wryer (1974) has argued, overall affect is simply one class of beliefs about the brand that "the brand (or the act of purchasing the brand) is likable. ” Evaluation or likeability in this sense has very limited motivational status; only a few products or brands are bought merely because they are liked. Rather, as Fennel (1975, 1978) has cogently pointed out, people buy brands to fulfill one or several of a relatively finite set of motivations. It should be noted that hose motivations are not Just "benefits” but rather underlying energize mechanisms of human action to which benefits contribute in a secondary manner.
FIGURE 2 BRAND ATTITUDE STRUCTURE FOR ADVERTISING Our approach to brand attitude builds on Fennel’s and identifies eight basic motivations to which a brand may be attitudinally connected: problem removal, problem avoidance, and normal depletion (the negatively originated motivations); and sensory gratification, intellectual stimulation, and social approval [Social approval is meant in the sense of social rewards, which are positively motivating. If social approval is sought because of personal anxiety, it comes under problem removal and is negatively motivating. ]e positively originated motivations).
Brand attitude is conceptualized as a summary belief (an overall evaluation) linking the brand to a motivation. The checklist item 3-3 for brand attitude is divided into two sections. Section 3(a) is quite straight-forward as it simply asks the manager whether the brand attitude objective is to: create a new attitude from zero; increase a currently favorable attitude; modify an existing attitude (connect the brand to a new motivation); maintain a current attitude; or change a currently negative attitude across the neutral point into the positive zone, which is generally a much harder task than an increase within the positive zone.
Section 3(b) for brand attitude identifies the brand attitude strategy that will meet the brand attitude objective. It is here that advertising communication models become truly differentiated. Referring to Figure 2, it can be seen that brand attitude from an advertising communication standpoint has two strategic components: (A) correct emotional portrayal of the motivation, and (8) adequate logical purport for perceived brand delivery on the motivation. These are of course the affective and cognitive components of attitude.
In advertising terms, to borrow psychologist George Mandrel’s words (1 979), the crux of the attitudinal approach is “heat” and ” light. ” An effective advertisement engages the prospective buyer’s emotions and enlightens him or her about the brand. FIGURE 3 THE FOUR MAIN STRATEGIES FOR BRAND ATTITUDE BASED ON TYPE OF MOTIVATION AND TYPE OF DECISION The emotional (motivational and energize) and con dive (directional) components of brand attitude form the Asia for a four-fold typology of brand attitude strategies (Figure 3).
On the emotional dimension, we have borrowed the terms suggested by Wells (1981) to categorize the predominant type of motivation governing purchase of the brand. Brand attitude strategies can be classified as relying primarily on either an “informational” (reason why) motivation or a “transformational” (brand-user image) motivation. In our approach, these are not just nominal distinctions. Information strategies apply when the brand is linked to one of the five negatively originated motivations: problem removal, problem avoidance, incomplete satisfaction, mixed approach-avoidance, or normal depletion.
Transformational strategies, in contrast, apply when the brand is linked to one of the positively originated motivations: sensory gratification, intellectual stimulation, or social approval. On the cognitive dimension, we utilize the concept of involvement or perceived risk associated with buying the brand. Involvement is categorized according to the economic theory developed by Nelson (1 970), which classifies the brand purchase decision as either “low involvement”Or ‘high involvement” (search/conviction required).
Related developments Of this conceptualization Of involvement can be seen most directly in the theory advanced by Renumber (1974) and also Lutz and Reilly (1 974), Smith and Sanitary (1982) and Finn (1982). The perceived risk leading to involvement can be either economic, especially for products sold informational: or psychosocial, especially for products sold transformational (Bauer 1967; Peter and Tarpaper 1975). The involvement classification applies to a particular brand, for a particular target audience.
As indicated in Figure 3, brand purchase decisions in some product categories end to involve so little economic and psychosocial risk that it is meaningful to speak of a “product” as being low involvement. However, the classification depends on the target audience for the brand. For example, the brand loyal buyer of a Rolls-Royce automobile, an ostensibly high involvement product, is essentially making a low involvement purchase decision; likewise, the other- brand loyal buyer of Ethylene, an ostensibly low involvement product, would be making a high involvement decision in switching to the aspirin-containing Brayer brand.
Involvement, and thus the cognitive classification of brand attitude, must be determined for the brand and for the particular target audience. The brand attitude strategy classification produces four fundamental advertising communication models which, when combined with the two brand awareness alternatives described earlier, produce a total of eight models. The tactical recommendations for the four brand attitude strategy variations of these models are summarized in Table 3. Space limitations again preclude a detailed exposition of these tactics (Roister and Percy 1983) but several important distinctions are reviewed next.
Authentic emotional portrayal Of the motivation. In the transformational models, emotional authenticity is of paramount importance. Indeed, in the low involvement/ transformational motel, positive emotion is the sole “benefit” associated with the brand, e. G. , the exuberant portrayal of sensory gratification in the “Coke is it” commercials. In the informational motels, correct emotional portrayal, which usually follows a negative emotion to positive emotion problem-solution format, is also important, but less so relative to the cognitive component.