When was the last time you gave your full attention, and listened, really listened, to the flight attendants as they announced and visualized safety instructions for your aircraft? You probably can’t remember. And, if you are being totally honest you’ll admit not only to not listening but actively tuning-out the instructions despite the fact that by familiarizing yourself with, and faithfully following them could spell the difference between you and your fellow passengers surviving from an aircraft incident, or not.
Yes, the message is important, but we choose to tune-out and engage in our work, a book, Sudoku, our music, video games or whatever suits our fancy. Anything but listening to instruction on important safety measures. It’s not because the instruction isn’t critical or that we’ve been exposed to it countless times, or think we know how to care for our safety; instead, it’s because it is not engaging. It’s dull. It’s boring. So, the instruction, as important and relevant to your safety and that of your fellow passengers, goes over your head, as it does ours.
Traveling internationally via British Airways we found ourselves not merely listening to the flight safety instructions but engaged in them. In fact, having made several such trips aboard BA we’ve found ourselves unquestionably and repeatedly drawn to the flight safety messaging. How curious! How can this be?
The instruction is presented in a video featuring comics, actors and celebrities developed in association with the charity Comic Relief. These include such notables as Sir Michael Caine, Thandie Newton, Gordon Ramsay, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Sir Ian McKellen, Warwick Davis and Rowan Atkinson (Mr. Bean), among many others whose faces, if not their names, you will surely recognize. In addition to delivering the flight safety messages, the videos also promote Flying Start, the global charity partnership between British Airways and Comic Relief, which supports impoverished children across the UK and some of the world’s poorest communities.
The idea is a story within a story. A “director,” played by a comedian, Asim Chaudhry, bungles his way, totally oblivious in casting and directing these widely successful award-winning celebrities in delivering, of all things, the flight safety information. Here’s one of the videos featuring several celebrities:
Drama Makes a Difference
You just sat through a >6-minute instructional message. At home you have difficulty sitting through a :30-second, or even :15-second TV commercial. (Regarding Medical Device and Pharmaceutical “product” information videos, which tend to be significantly longer, the ability to engage is no better. In fact, we believe they tend to be worse. In our judgement their ability to engage is inversely proportional to their length. The longer they run the less likely they will be viewed in their entirety.)
We find the BA flight safety video engaging, and compelling. We’d be willing to wager that you found the video engaging too. Undoubtedly, you recognize the difference between the monotonous droning-on of flight attendants or standard, instructional videos with this very clever and captivating British Airways’ video. Whereas the others fail to engage the intended audience this one succeeds. We need to find a way to achieve this for our brand messaging and communications.
What makes the video instruction so engaging is the dramatization of an idea through the individual talents of the aforementioned compelling celebs. According to dictionary.com one of the definitions of “dramatize” (drag-muh-tahyz), a verb, is “to express or represent vividly, emotionally, or strikingly.” Taking another trip down memory lane, when was the last time your brand communications dramatized your strategic message? For that matter, when was the last time any offering in your category dramatized its messaging?
Failure to dramatize your message undermines the effectiveness of it in many ways. For one, it will fail to capture the attention of your intended target. Your message will be like wallpaper that target-customers just don’t notice. And, if they do, it will fail to engage, as in occupy, their interest in your messaging. And, even it overcomes these two formidable hurdles it will likely fail in getting them to realize your promise, that differentiates your brand from others in your category or therapeutic area, to them. If they don’t realize the message it will not compel them to select your brand. As David Ogilvy stated, “… it will pass like a ship (with its running lights out) in the night.” (The parentheses are ours to emphasize it will not be detected.)
The Path to Dramatization
The development of a Campaign Idea is the path to dramatizing your strategic message. The purpose of the Campaign Idea is to translate the strategic message into compelling customer language. This addresses another part of the definition of “dramatization” as expressed by dictionary.com – “construction or representation in dramatic form.” This enables the intended target of your relevant message to realize, that is deeply feel, your strategic promise which leads to triggering achievement of the customer behavior you seek (such as switching, trade-up, etc.)
The Campaign Idea has three parts: 1) the creative concept – what we refer to as the “ naked idea” – which expresses how the benefit or promise will be delivered; 2) the core dramatization (or action), which is typically visualized; and, finally, key copy words – which is much more than a mere slogan but a dramatic statement that captures the benefit AND the idea. The three parts work together in a single-minded way to deliver a relevant, meaningfully differentiated benefit to your target-customer in dramatic fashion. We’ve spoken many times in these DISPATCHES’ articles about the Campaign Idea. It will significantly improve the likelihood of engaging the target-customer.
Here are a few indicated actions for your consideration:
- Go to www.bdn-intl.com and DISPATCHES’ Archives to find and read more articles that address the Campaign (and BIG) Idea;
- Dramatize, dramatize, dramatize to engage Target-Customers and get them to realize your brand’s strategic message in all your communications; and
- Let us know if we can be of service in auditing your, and competitors’, messaging for effectiveness, with specific recommendations regarding how you might make your messaging more impactful through the development of Campaign Ideas that dramatize your strategic promise.
Choose to dramatize your messaging for more engaging and impactful communications.
Richard Czerniawski and Mike MaloneyClick for PDF