In this report, I will be using the recent survey conducted for The Co-operative Convenience Store and theories from my course and other marketing related sources to analyse and identify communication strategies for The Co-operative. The aim is to identify the right method the store can use for communicating to their customers in the way they will understand and help the store to re-brand its image. For this, I will be discussing the use of persuasive communication to overcome barriers and enhance opportunities for success.
Persuasive communication has been defined as the process through which people attempt to influence the beliefs or actions of others with communication in a way they will understand (Kotler et al, 1999). In many cases, persuasive communication involves people who are important to each other and takes many forms for example verbal, non-verbal, written or visual. It flows in both directions; parents influence children, children influence parents, and friends influence each other. In the case of the Co-operative store, the most important target audience are its key stakeholders, most especially the customers and the people in their environment who are their potential customers. Therefore, well-organised and targeted adverts in the local media can influence the behaviour of customers in a positive way for The Co-operative stores.
According to the theory of persuasive communication, marketers must first identify the target audience (users, nonusers) they want to address through the use of communication. They then have to decide on the objectives of the communication (build reputation, increase sales, brand recall), message design (structure and presentation), and media planning (print, television, radio, etc). Looking at the result of the recent market survey for Co-operative Store, there are many barriers, which can be overcome with persuasive communication. Some of the barriers to overcome are the falling image of the store that had failed to draw in younger shoppers, inconsistence of communication and blurring of perception. These can be changed with the use of persuasive communication through one of marketing mix techniques.
Promotion activities can be broad, either aimed at the market as a whole, which is known as mass communication techniques, or aimed at individuals, which is known as direct marketing. The overall techniques available are known as the marketing mix. It comprise of seven main elements namely advertising, sales promotion, publicity, sponsorship, direct marketing, internet marketing and personal selling. As the range of promotional techniques expands, there is an increasing need to co-ordinate the message and their execution. This is because advertisement is controlled by advertising department, whereas personal selling strategies are controlled by sales department which could lead to a lack of co-ordination. Hence the adoption of integrated marketing communication (IMC). IMC is a system by which companies co-ordinate their marketing communications’ tool to deliver a clear, consistent, credible and competitive message about their sore and product (Chris F, 2005). The application of this concept of integrated marketing communication can lead to improved consistency which is a barrier to overcome by the Co-operative store, and to a clearer positioning of the store and its products in the minds of younger shoppers who they have so far fail to attract.
Looking at one of the characteristics of persuasive communication, it focuses on the target audience and build its message around them rather than diverting its attention on the main gist of the message. For example, when using persuasive communication, the store needs to communicate to its segment of customers and use key themes which will attract younger shoppers and lay emphasis on the benefits which can be gained from shopping from them, in term of good quality products at a cheaper price with many options to choose from. Using myself as an example, I hardly shop at the co-operative because I have less disposable income as a student. Therefore I will look for the good bargains that TESCO (Every little help) & ASDA stores always advertise and make clear to their target audience.
In order to overcome these barriers, marketing communication should be planned and evaluate carefully. The process will begin by looking at the store’s overall marketing strategy, its positioning strategy and its intended target audience. Since the aim is to change the attitude of younger shoppers and to be more consistent with a change of the blurring perception, then advertisement will play an important role in effecting these changes. However, this strategy must be integrated with the other marketing mix elements. The Cooperative will need to set objectives for its IMC campaign which should be quantifiable. For example, one of the objectives could be to increase awareness among younger shoppers by 75% since it was only 25% that see the store as being a modern store. The next stage for them will be to determine what to say (the message decision) and where and how it is going to say it (the promotion mix decision).
There are many opportunities to derive from the use of persuasive communication. Persuading customers if successfully carried out will get the attention of the target audience and change their buying behaviour. For example younger customers may start shopping from even though they don’t like to shop from co-operative store before. As a result of the effect of consumers’ pull they could change their behaviour and become loyal to the store. This way the customers may start spreading words of mouth for the Co-operative Store because of persuasive communication, which will be more effective than media means of promotion. This strategy has the potential lead to people patronising the store because as human being, we will trust what our friends say about certain store based on their personal experience than relying on what is being advertised. Therefore as the news spreads, it will lead to increase in sales and increase their market share. Opportunities for expansion of the store can arrive due to increase in sales; workers may be more motivated as the success of the store could lead to more bonuses for them. In addition, increased market share means that the store can compete more either on price or on quality or increase their share value in the stock exchange market. All these can be a result of a successful persuasive communication.
Communication Strategies and Campaign Evaluation
For Co-operative store to develop a unique communication strategy and campaign evaluation, they will need to develop a suitable objective(s). A set of guidelines has been developed which is refer to as SMARRTT objectives. It represents the level of detail that objectives should aim to achieve. It is a development from ‘SMART’ objectives that are referred to by some other authors. SMARRTT objectives are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Relevant, Targeted and Timed
The process of making an objectives to be SMARRTT will require management to consider their aim regarding what needs to be achieved in term of when, where and which audience needs to be target. This focus thinking will provide a clear measure of evaluation when the campaign has finished.
Specifying their objectives, co-operative store need to be:
Specific because objective should be clear, precise and give direction about what is to be achieved. In doing so, they can overcome the problem of inconsistency of communication and blurring of perception.
Measurable because a quantified measurement statement for example, a percentage or absolute amount to achieve will enable precise evaluation of the campaign.
Achievable because the resources must be available to achieve the set objective and if not attain, those responsible to achieve the objective will be de-motivated which can have a great impact on the image of the store.
Realistic because even with the adequate resources, the objective should be capable of being met. In term of resources, the store has it but need to set a realistic objectives for example it will not be realistic to set an objective which will aim to have the highest market share among its rivals such as ASDA and TESCO within a year.
Relevant because objectives should appropriate for the task at hand.
Targeted because all objectives should be related to the target audience that has being addressed and should be focus on them. The store has more than one objective and will therefore need a different objective for each.
Timed because a clear time frame indicating when objective are set to be achieve enable the campaign to be well monitor and evaluation to be undertaken (David et al,2009).
Having had SMARRTT objectives, it is important that communication should affect the mind of the target audience in order to attract younger shoppers. Also, to aid the awareness of the young shoppers, it may be a good idea to look at DAGMAR and AIDA (defining advertising goals for measurement advertising responses) and AIDA (attention, interest, desire and action). these will provide a yardsticks for communication objectives by trying to separate the various mental stages a consumers goes through before buying.
Having done this, Co-operative will have to consider the promotional mix which comprises of seven elements and then decide of the suitable one for the target audience. They are: advertisement, sales promotion, publicity, sponsorship, direct marketing, internal marketing and personal marketing.
To decide on the element to choose, Co-operative will need to know which of these seven will be more suitable in term of reaching their target audience and having positive impact on where they buy from.
They will also have to have a structured approach to evaluating the strength position of their store by identifying its strengths, weakness, opportunity and threats (SWOT). The strength and weakness are the actual position of the business while opportunities and threats represent future potential. This will provide them with a simple method of producing the results of the marketing audit.
The world of business is dynamic these days which means businesses will be faced with many uncontrollable factors. For co-operative to run a successful marking campaign, it will be important to look into external factor which can have a great impact on their store’s performance. The PEST acronym will provide them with a useful starting point to scan their business vicinity for any of the changes factors that directly or indirectly affect their business so that when advertising, they will fully have sufficient information about their environment and know how to go about the media strategy to use (David et al, 2009).
Political, this include legal and regulatory.
Economic, these are things like cycle of recession and boom and global economic shifts.
Social are things like new values, attitudes, lifestyles, ethics, and demographics.
Technology, this is how technology can affect their business in either positive or negative ways such as internet, database, digital TV and much more.
Using all of the above acronyms will help co-operative store to know if their communication campaign will be successful this is because the various methods of analysing the business will enable them to know where they will need to work on and improve because there can not be a solution if there is no problem.
To run a successfully campaign; I will be discussing various forms of creative ideas that will enable the success of the campaign. The first thing to do will be to speak in a voice that the target audience will understand and be able to persuade them to shop from co-operative and tell them the benefit of doing so .
The method of persuasive communication that I will be using is above the line promotion which is the advertising of products or services through consumer media such as television, magazine, newspapers and radio. I have chosen this method because of the large numbers of younger shopper (target audience) we can reach.
Starting with television advertisement, the idea here is to place a slot in a program which is mostly watched by young people for example Marry, Snog or avoid. This program normally feature on BBC 3 every Tuesday. To firstly get the attention of the viewers, young idol needs to be used for the advertisement for example John and Edward from Xfactor or Joe Mceldery who won the Xfactor. Having done this, they will need to be given scripts which will entail how they will use persuasive words and convince the viewers that the contents match the promise made by the advertising or their products and services .one of the attractive phrase to use may be “safe yourself money shop at co-op”.
The next creative idea will be to advertise in magazine. With this, what needs to be included in the magazine advert will be to advertise about any promotion offer like buy one get one free. The attraction here will not be to use an idol rather, to attract customers with sales in term of advertising about all the sales promotion. By this, customers will want to save money and shop at co-op. also, being a magazine, the picture quality needs to be second to none in term of picture quality and glossy whereby it will be eye catching.
The newspapers advertisement will be similar to that of magazine, the only different will be that more products that are on sales will have to be shown so that customers can see all sort of bargain they have and the be encouraged to shop at co-op.
The radio advert will be different as the advertisement cannot be seen but heard; the idea here will be to advertise for example at KISS fm or UJIMA fm. These are the station that a lot of the target audiences tune in to. To get the attention of customers, selected music that will catch the attention of listeners will be play, the music will not be the original version but a reformed one that sing about buying from co-op. for example, Beatles’ music can be use but will have to be authorized by appropriate authority. The slogan here will be for example to win shopping spree at co-op. this can get people involve more due to the offer of free shopping and slogan like “shop at co-op the celebrity store” can be used to persuade younger shoppers.
All of the above creative idea will catch the attention of the target audience and therefore reaching out to the right set of people.
Media Strategy and Execution
I have chosen to use above the line method of promotion which include, television advert, magazine, newspapers and radio.
I chose a TV advert because most people spend at least an hour on watching TV in a day. Advertising on television will allow my agency to show and tell a wider target audience about what co-operative store have to offer the society in term of products, price and all other services which they provide. This will also allow my agency to demonstrate the benefits of shopping or trading with co-operative in terms of their good quality products and services, how they care about the society and backed fair-trade movement. It will also show a young idol who will be used for the advertisement and convey a message to the younger shoppers that the falling image of the store which was seen as an outdated store has changed from being an outdated store or just a top-up store to a wider co-operation group which now include the Somerfield supermarket chain. In advertising, it often takes multiple touch points to effectively influence consumers’ purchasing behaviour as the target audience will believe what is seen more.
Our academic experts are ready and waiting to assist with any writing project you may have. From simple essay plans, through to full dissertations, you can guarantee we have a service perfectly matched to your needs.View our services
In order to create an effective television advert, it is firstly necessary to have a good script that highlights strong offers. The advert will be effectively produced because as an agency, we have all the expertise to do such. As a TV advert, it will reach much larger target audience during a short period of time when they are most attentive and this is the reason why the advertisement need to be in a program which is mostly watch by target audience and to better it up, a celebrity will be used to firstly get the audience attention. The TV advert will allow us to convey your message with sight, sound, and motion, which can give co-operative stores, products, or service instant credibility and gives the opportunity of being creative and attach a personality to the store.
The magazine advert was chosen because most people read magazine when they are relaxing and pay more attention to every details as some even look for offers in magazine or where they can get bargain. The advert will be in for example HELLO magazine in which a very glossy high quality picture will be used in order to be eye catching for the readers or the target audience. This method will reach large number of audience and they can refer to the advert at anytime, get more information which is always available to them since the magazine can be taken to anywhere they go to. As the store have branches all over the country, so is the magazine will reach everywhere in the country rather than a local magazine that is not national. The magazine and the newspapers advert are similar. In newspapers, two or four pages will be used for the advertisement with offer to the readers like coupon which can be taken to store to be redeemed. This will attract the target audience to patronise the store and may even become a habit.
The radio will have to be done regionally as radio station in Bristol is different to that of London radio station. The commercial in the radio will be done according to regions and local hero or legend can be use to get the attention of the listeners. I belief this will work because those that listen to radio pay attention and as this will be repeated more, listeners will be more familiar with the advert and may try to try what was advertised therefore, more customers will visit the store.
Having selected the media type, and specific vehicles within each media type, the next question is how much space and /or airtime to book. What season, month, week, day or hour should the advertisement appear? . How many times is too many times? Can the audience become irritated? Frequency? The amount that is spent on advertising governs the achievement of communication objectives. There are few ways to budget setting which are:
Percentage of sales method whereby the amount allocated to advertising will be based on current or expected revenue.
Advertising budget may be set based upon matching competitors’ expenditure or using similar percentage of sales figures as their major competitor.
Objective and task method which is has the virtue of being logical since advertising budget depend upon communication objectives and costs of the tasks required to achieve them
The cost of producing a TV advertisement can range from £5000 to £5000000, depending on the length, complexity and actor we will use. For radio, it has a lower cost of production ranging from £500 to £20000 while magazine and newspapers can vary from £3000 to £30000 (David et al, 2009).
Other Communication Mix activities including direct and digital
Apart from all of the above communication mix, there are others which include; below-the-line communication, direct and digital means of communication, word of mouth and many more.
Below-the-line communication has been defined as promotional activities other than the main media advertising. It includes things like price, added value promotion, point of sales display, and sampling and selling. (Kotler et al, 1999).
Using below-the-line communication will enable interaction and engagement between co-operative store and their customers and the general public through the use of public relation. There are many reasons why it will be important to use public relation. Public relations (PR) are the practice of managing communication between an organization and its publics, it gain an organization or individual exposure to their audiences using topics of public interest for example, the survey revealed that only 20% of the participant were aware of their ethical heritage in food retail compare to 40% in financial services. The use of PR can change this dramatically through common activities such as speaking at conferences, working with the media, crisis communications, social media engagement, and employee communication which at a long run will lead to spread of word of mouth. PR can be used to build rapport with employees, customers or the general public. This word of mouth if planned well can have a greater impact on the image of co-operative and thereby increase sales.
Having had some kind of rapport with the target audience or the actual customers, the next step will be to make use of direct marketing communication tools which are:
Telemarketing ( both in-bound and out-bound)
Direct response adverting ( coupon response or phone now)
Inserts which are leaflets in magazine or newspapers
Electronic media such as internet, email, interactive cable TV.
Information about the customer can be obtained through the use of its profit-sharing schemes known as ‘divi’ which enable anyone to become a member for £1. Information obtain can then be use for direct marketing for example sending mails to the members informing them of latest offers and benefits of being a member. In doing so, the consumer may begin to spread positive word of mouth to friends and families of the offers and therefore they may want to try out what has been said to them because people will trust what their peers or relatives say to them than what has been advertised.
The use of direct marketing will therefore attempt to acquire and retain customers by contacting them without the use of an intermediary.
Barry. M, David.L.Ian.L (2003) Complete A-Z Business Studies (Fourth Edition)
Bowman, C., 1998. Strategy in practice. Harlow, Prentice Hall
Ian,B. (2006) Organisational Behaviour, University of Northampton.(third Ed)
Cite This Work
To export a reference to this article please select a referencing stye below: