Appeals Don’t Work, but Campaigns Do
Our brains are hard-wired to match things. People are comforted by familiarity. Repetition can lead to understanding and memory.
Some things need to be repeated. One of the most important things a communication team can master is identifying if an upcoming initiative is a campaign or an appeal.
An appeal is a “one off” ask. Appeals are often very ineffective, normally last minute, and lacking strategy and memorability. A good example of an appeal would be a holiday food drive with no existing brand equity, which won’t be repeated. Or maybe it’s just a year-end giving initiative that’s been renamed and branded beyond recognizability, and will just be an envelope passed out with a verbal from stage.
The problem with appeals is they aren’t very effective.
Why would a company go through all the strategy, time, and money it takes to craft a verbal or visual message to just use it once? Appeals lack the ability to build momentum. They aren’t even around long enough to tell a friend about. Thus, the campaign.
Campaigns are well thought out and typically include strong branding and correlating imagery that will be repurposed in a multitude of media that include multiple “gives” and “asks”. Well thought out campaigns also includes funnel systems and umbrella smaller initiatives under larger tiers.
Think about how we digest media on a day to day basis. Television commercials don’t play once or twice. You could see the same spot hundreds of times. Most of these spots have 30 second and 60 second alternate versions and run in a series of similar ideas/characters within themselves. Matching radio ads, social media graphics, magazine ads, and web banners add to the campaign leveraging. Even in a web environment, repetition gets the win.
Retargeting ads are more popular than ever. The principle of a retargeting ad is to show you an item you thought about purchasing again and again until you actually purchase it. Website visitors who are retargeted with display ads are 70% more likely to convert on your website. That’s why the shirt you almost bought from Zara keeps popping up all over your internet sidebar. Stats say you see it a few times, and you will commit to the purchase.
Communication Touch Points and Frequency
If your church staff doesn’t know, your members certainly don’t.
An important part of campaign work is identifying communication touch points that are within your reach and identifying the frequency you will use those touch points and the dates you will utilize them. This does not happen without planning way ahead of launch time. Digital communication calendars are preferred, but often the first step to that is gathering everyone around a table and committing to getting organized for the month, looking at communication touch points and deciding where and when campaigns will be communicated. Included is a template to help streamline your communication flow. You can easily see if you are communicating too much, too little, or relying on one type of communication instead of leveraging other platforms.
Appeals almost always have campaign potential. The next time your team is considering communicating a one-off appeal, revisit the idea and see how you can help it grow into a campaign.