Make Common-Sense Ideas Common Practice: A New Year's Resolution

The value of applying common sense to business is as old as time, dating back to the days of Thomas Paine and the American Revolution through Theodore Roosevelt and a host of modern-day business writers.

And for good reason -- difficult decisions are made all the time, but applying common sense can help us navigate their way through this process.

Sounds simple, right? Yet, you would be surprised how many business leaders fail to apply common sense to their business practices.

So with the start of the new year, and an opportunity to apply fresh thinking and adopt fresh practices, here are three common-sense ideas along with tips on how to make them common practice.

Writing a better brief can lead to better messaging and better results

Here’s what the first sentence in every brief needs to be: what is the accepted belief, attitude, emotion or perception of the target audience about the product and/or category that the creative and media needs to address in order to sell the product? 



One example of how focusing on the accepted consumer belief can -- or did -- lead to remarkable success is the Miller Lite Beer introductory campaign.

In 1976, Backer Spielvogel developed the highly successful introductory campaign launching Miller Lite Beer by refuting the negative perception held by six-pack-a-night-beer-drinkers that the only people who would drink light beer are “wimps” (the word used at the time).

Miller Lite’s introductory campaign featured jocks of all kinds enjoying drinking Miller Lite. The six-pack-a-night-guys leaned in hard on Miller Lite, and they continue to buy a lot of light beer brands.

By addressing the accepted belief, attitude, emotion or perception about the brand and/or its category as the first question in the brief, companies will help deliver FACTS:  Focused Advertising Creativity That Sells. 

Target your messaging to your most profitable users

Marketers need to focus more on profitable brand users -- ie, brand loyalists -- with the extensive first-party brand-buyer data available today. This data makes it possible for marketers to differentiate between brand loyalists and brand occasionalists.

Brand loyalists retain brand usage without much or any price reduction.Brand occasionalists buy the brand only when the price is reduced. And while brand loyalists account for as little as 10% of brand volume, they account for over 50% of profitable brand volume. 

Profitable brand users improve short-term cash flow because marketers don’t need to reduce prices for them the way marketers must for brand occasionalists. And in today’s uncertain economic times, wouldn’t that be a more efficient way to allocate marketing dollars?

Capitalize on the experiential value of “screenagers” 

Marketers need to recognize the importance of those individuals born between 1980 and 2010, who now account for 40% of both the U.S. population and brand sales, but by the mid 2030s will rise to well over 50%.And marketers need to have a deeper understanding of these young cohorts to know what motivates and engages them relative to other brands. 

Here’s what we already know:younger consumers are much more into brand experiences than they are into brand messaging. Examples include purpose branding, e-commerce, influencer marketing and experiential marketing.

And first-party data suggests that marketers can treat users of these engagements as profitable users (brand loyalists) by doing little or no price promotion. 

So from a brand profit standpoint, the Millennials and Gen Zers who are brand loyalists add both short-term and long-term brand financial value. For the short term, improved cash flow via no price reduction, and for the longer term, continued full price brand usage.

Merriam-Webster defines common sense as “sound or prudent judgment based on a simple perception of the facts.” To this I might add that it stops us from making irrational mistakes and makes it easier to make choices on what to do.

How’s that for a universal New Year’s resolution?


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