Get Shouty


the answer’s in the problem
August 29, 2012, 11:31 am
Filed under: Digital Strategy

Over at Paul Mcenany’s blog this week

As many of you know, I’m a big believer that the better the problem, the more likely you are to get to work that works. Wrongheaded problems leave us in a ditch. Boring problems invite uninspired solutions. And when you only ask advertising questions, unsurprisingly – you get lots of advertising answers. The best of the best understand the value in taking the time to get the question right.

Love the thinking in Paul’s presentation I got a load of value. I wonder, though, if it’s always time that is the missing component in getting the problem right.

One of my favorite stories of getting the problem right is this one:

Sainsbury’s planned to grow revenue by £2.5 billion, a huge target made tangible by redefining it as an extra £1.14 per transaction. Previously, Sainsbury’s had been trying to create a big change in behaviour amongst a small number of high-spending customers of other supermarkets. Now it proposed a small change in behaviour amongst a big number of existing and potential customers. Research showed that people were ‘sleep shopping’ because they found supermarket shopping routine. The strategy centred around earning the required extra £1.14 per transaction by building the brand around simple food ideas. The slogan was ‘Try something new today’, but the idea behind it permeated Sainsbury’s business, informing management ethos, point-of-sale creative and advertising campaigns. The idea helped accelerate Sainsbury’s growth, attracting 1.5 million extra customers, increasing profit by 43% to £380 million and growing revenue by £1.8 billion over two years – ahead of the three-year target.

What I like about this case is that not only was the question about behavior change (what would we need to get people to do to grow by 2.5 billion), but the stimulus for the question was held within the value of the owned media of the brand- the amount of customer interactions inside their retail environment.

So to reimagine Paul’s statement:

The best of the best understand that getting the question right delivers value.

An Australian example of this:

In 1813 Governor Lachlan Macquarie overcame an acute currency shortage by purchasing Spanish silver dollars (then worth five shillings), punching out the centres and creating two new coins – the ‘Holey Dollar’ (valued at five shillings) and the Dump (valued at one shilling and three pence). This single move not only doubled the number of coins in circulation but increased their total worth by 25 per cent and prevented the coins from leaving the colony.

Last night a holey dollar was sold $for 410,000 and 1813 New South Wales Colonial Dump sold for $100,000.

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