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Two Many Messages
By: Janet Kalandranis
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There are some basic rules in the world of branding. Have a clear and direct call to action so customers understand the message. Seems simple, right? It is. That is, until brands decide to switch it up and provide multiple messages. IN. ONE. AD. Sure, brands can have multiple campaigns running at one time and even multiple messages. But things start to get blurry and confusing when these messages are smashed together. Just because the brand decides it’s okay. “We’ve got 10 more seconds, put in that secondary message.” This thinking needs to be stopped, because many times the two messages that are married together are very different. They each deserve their own place and their own explanation. By placing them together it doesn’t kill two birds with one stone; it just creates two birds and a slew of confused customers. Maybe there’s a fear that if one message doesn’t work at least there’s another one at the end or at the bottom to fall back on? Whatever the logic, it’s not supporting the results that brands are hoping to achieve. Instead it’s creating confusion, not clarity.

Red Lobster — a pretty simple brand to understand, no? The current TV campaign the brand is running promotes Red Lobster’s Endless Shrimp promotion. The spot mentions how it’s a customer favorite and showcases the variety of options of shrimp. But then the spot ends with another message. One that competes for priority and starts to confuse the customer on how to interact with the brand. Red Lobster adds a tag that mentions the restaurant’s lunch specials for $7.99. These are two competing specials with two different price points that can’t be combined. So should customers take advantage of the shrimp promotion or is the lunch special a better option? To the brand it may seem that it’s providing customers with options, something that fits their budget. But in reality it’s confusing. By incorporating these two messages into one spot customers aren’t sure what to focus on and what the brand truly wants them to do.

But two messages are better than one, right? Not exactly. By combining two competing messages in one ad, there’s a dilution of both messages. Sure, to the brand one feels prominent and the other is simply a tag, but the customer doesn’t see or hear things that way. All they know is they were told two different things and now they simply feel overloaded with messages. Best advice: keep those brand messages simple and solo. There’s more opportunity for success when customers understand a brand’s message and when it’s clear what the call-to-action should be. So don’t combine, but instead separate for success.

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About the Author
Janet Kalandranis is here to give you all the little brand thoughts that run through her head with a little dash of spice. Find her online here.
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