If you have ever shopped at IKEA you may have noticed that despite your most determined efforts to not buy anything other than what’s on your list you quietly exit with a trolley full of goods (and quite possibly a logistical issue of how to get the 3 door wardrobe in the back of the car).
Why does that happen?
Before you start berating yourself about being financially irresponsible I would point out that it’s not (necessarily) because you feel the “need” to spend. It’s because IKEA is very good at showing you solutions to problems, some of which you may never have known existed!
For example, you may think that buying a wardrobe is just a case of measuring up, matching the colour to your decor and seeing if your local handyman is available to take the strain. But when you get to IKEA you find that the displays offer you solutions to knotty little issues such hangers designed to take ties or multiple pairs of trousers, honeycomb shaped dividers for drawers that allow socks and big boys pants to be sorted, suit covers, and so the list goes on.
It’s what I refer to as a “call to arms” – something that makes people think “Ooh, yeah, I need that”. And it isn’t just relative to shops – it also applies to advertising.
A call to arms can be quite forthright such as the handyman’s advert whose headline “STOP!! I BET YOU HAVE AT LEAST ONE OF THE FOLLOWING PROBLEMS IN YOUR HOME” then went on to list things like broken toilet seat, broken gate lock, flat pack furniture to assemble and told people how he could fix it. It worked because it identified problems that most people ignore/put off to another day and gave them a solution.
Alternatively a call to arms can be visual such a well toned body coupled with statements such as “Improve Your Posture” or “Weight Loss”. This sort of presentation works because it hones in on common health issues and shows that by working with a fitness coach you will not only becomes healthier but can also look fab for the summer i.e. it is aspirational.
The sort of things that may not be so effective as a call to arms includes “discounts” – if you haven’t shown people what you can do to help them, then they are not going to be enticed to spend by offering them a discount.
It’s true that people have more choice than ever before and customers are much less willing to part with their cash. Accordingly you do need to stand out from competitors. BUT as you can see from the Ikea example at the beginning, with the right call to arms you can get people to respond to your advertising.