When it comes to buying anything, trust is perhaps the most important factor. If you don’t trust something, you won’t buy it. There is a lot rolled up in ‘trust’: credibility, authenticity, reliability, safety, security, quality. If you trust it you are much more likely to buy it.

A good way for a brand to be trusted is to be famous, to “be known about by many people”, and, more importantly, to ensure that many people know that many other people also know the brand. Fame requires a collective (rather than individual) experience. Everyone knows that everyone else knows. Fame creates trust. If everyone else knows about it and is buying it then it can be trusted.

Traditional mass media, by its nature, can be used to create trust. It can reach large numbers of people collectively. Everyone sees the same thing. The same editorial and advertising. You know that everyone else is seeing the same as you. TV advertising has historically been used by companies to create trust through fame. Large numbers of people seeing the same ad at the same time — collectively knowing that many others are seeing the same ad — can be a powerful way to build trust. A key element is that the limited nature of the available media delivers a collective viewing/hearing experience rather than one that is fragmented. This is why Super Bowl ads remain so popular today.

Digital advertising, by its nature, is not a collective experience. When you see an online ad you don’t know that everyone else is seeing the same ad as you. The ad might be personalised; different people might see different ads at different times. Even if a digital ad reaches a large population, you have no sense of the size of the audience. It could just be you. So, the creation of trust through known collective fame is much diminished. Digital advertising — what you see and when you see it — is fragmented to the level of the individual. Digital advertising is personal.

Personalised advertising has a different purpose that can, when combined with fame, help brands to grow. It makes advertising more relevant, appropriate, specific to a particular moment of individual need or want. It is more likely to trigger a sale than an ad that is less relevant. But the brand must also be trusted.

To grow, brands need to be famous and personal.
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By Frank Harrison, Croft Analytics




Scientific Advertising is a compilation of short posts on the science of how brands grow

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Frank Harrison

Frank Harrison

I am a researcher, data scientist, consultant, and owner of Croft Analytics — see https://www.croftanalytics.com

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