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Design: The “Inspirational Inductive” Approach to Advertising

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Inspiration…

It’s a powerful word. As creatives, we thrive on it; we need inspiration like we need air. Many times without inspiration, our work, and our agencies, fall flat.

The Webster 1828 dictionary describes inspiration as:

“The infusion of ideas or directions by the supposed deities…”

Wherever it comes from, as creative media developers, it is our responsibility to become those deities and infuse the direction (motivation) of those viewing our advertisements, reading our brand slogans or engaging our client’s collateral material and product packaging.

In today’s new right brain-centric society, inspiration often trumps education, especially with Millennials. To inspire our audiences, we attempt to enter the mind of our target demographic – prior to the development of our advertising or branding work. We study up on what makes them tick: economically, emotionally and socially. We research trends. We read the latest surveys. Then we all hope we’ve hit the mark when we present our various campaigns to our targeted demographic markets.

But…

What if you can produce inspiration and motivation, precisely at the moment your audience views your advertising, slogans and brand stories, with a greater amount of certainty? Better yet, what if you could reach and engage an audience far larger than your original demographic intention?

A few months ago, I worked with a long-standing client that produces 100% USDA certified organic energy bars. Its visionary founder has tapped into the efficacious power of whole foods, creating bars that precisely target certain neurotransmitters, organ functions and enzyme releases in the body for very specific purposes. This day, we were crafting advertising for the company’s FOCUS bar (the acronym: For Optimal Clarity Under Stress), a bar generating up to four hours of focus and calm, using natural, organic ingredients to stimulate three neurotransmitters in the brain.

Though the applications are legion, for this campaign we were targeting students, specifically the parents of students from sixth grade through high school.

After scrapping many deductive approaches for our headline, we focused on an inductive pitch – asking a question rather than making a declaration. One of our team blurted out, “How about ‘Does your child need more FOCUS?’” It wasn’t bad: a nice double entendre. As a slogan, it opens up the door for additional conversation. The viewer can answer the question and produce action: “Boy sir, does my child need more focus! I must now buy your FOCUS bars.” But the answer is either yes… or no. Any salesperson worth their salt will tell you, keep your options open.

Instead, we kept pushing and came up with the following message

inductive-focusbar

Now, we accomplish what takes years of research to determine. The viewer answers the question in their own minds, in their own way:

“My child could get into Harvard with more focus.”

“My child might increase his first year salary by $40K with more focus.”

“My child can get the scholarship we’ve dreamed of with more focus.”

We created inspiration and motivation, catered specifically to the individual. We avoided all the preconceptions and presuppositions and cut right to their deepest direct need, even if we didn’t know precisely what that need was.

As an agency, we call this the approach the “inspirational inductive” method: Open the door with a question (inductive), but ensure the answer to that question creates a personal and unique level of inspiration and motivation in the mind of your audience.

The inspirational inductive method stirs additional conversation in the viewer’s own heart and mind where, as advertisers, we ALL strive to dwell. It doesn’t matter the demographic makeup, the generational spread, or the financial condition of our audience, everyone answers the question in his or her own personal, relevant and inspirational way.

I’ve already used the approach in this article:

“… What if you could reach and engage an audience far larger than your original demographic intention?”

I encouraged you to consider what that would mean to you specifically. I did not know the size of your agency, the type of work you produce, the accounts you service, etc. But you read on, in hopes your own personal, predetermined answer to that question would be addressed in the rest of this article.

Granted, the inspirational inductive approach will not work in every circumstance. With brand taglines it can be a bit tricky. Questions most often require more actual words than statements (although it can certainly be done). But when it comes to most forms of advertising and/or collateral marketing, you can use the inspirational inductive approach to engage the mind of the viewer or reader in such a way that it creates his or her own level of powerful inspiration and motivation. When people are inspired and motivated, they act. That, as creative media developers, should be inspiration to all of us.