What do Kentucky Fried Chicken and financial advisors have in common? Curious, are you? Well, therein lies the answer: curiosity.
Our brains are wired to recognize patterns. When something doesn’t fit, we notice it instantly and are eager to investigate.
Of course, curiosity killed the cat and satisfaction brought it back. But when it comes to your consulting firm’s brand, the reverse is true.
Happy customers are great for business, but what’s stopping them from switching to one of your competitors? Curiosity can help you stand out, retain customers, and grab the attention of prospects.
Big brands are known to use curiosity to their advantage. Through campaigns that are unusual for their brand or industry (think car insurance ads), they use big budgets to capture the attention of prospects and customers. But can financial advisors do the same? Here’s how you can use curiosity to your advantage.
EXIT FROM USUAL MODE
Back to the fried chicken for a minute. KFC turned a chicken crisis into a creative campaign that sparks curiosity. In February 2018, a deal between KFC restaurants in the UK and a new delivery company was responsible for inaccurate, late and sometimes non-existent chicken deliveries. As a result, nearly 900 KFC restaurants have been forced to close.
But the brand did not completely stand out. A few days later, in an award-winning advertising campaign, KFC released large color advertisements in two of the UK’s most widely read newspapers. His recognizable chicken bucket displayed a new arrangement of his normal three-letter name: “FCK.”
It was a bold – even shocking – statement from KFC. The accompanying message apologized for the chicken disaster and assured customers that the company was restocking its restaurants with fresh chicken.
Stores eventually reopened and KFC saw an increase in traffic, positive impressions and recognition from running this campaign.
Getting out of your brand’s usual programming allows you to break through the attention barriers of customers and prospects. They’re used to seeing the same old, familiar, mainstream advertising, especially if you work in a more traditional industry like financial consulting. Unique advertisements and messages break through their mental filter by arousing curiosity and attention.
Let’s bring this closer to home with a financial advisor example.
While working with a consulting firm on their marketing strategy, I noticed that every ad they placed in the local community magazine featured the same kind of artwork as their competitors: pictures of older couples riding bikes, sitting by the pool, or playing tennis. . Even non-competing companies were using the same type of images because they were in a retirement community. All the ads and all the articles got mixed up because it all looked the same. Few things are less original than an advertisement in a retirement lifestyle magazine.
To help this client stand out in an oversaturated post, we designed an ad that was completely upside down, literally. Of course, there was a point to that. The man in the ad had just jumped out of a plane and was doing his first parachute jump. It was on his to-do list for him, and good financial planning allowed him to live the retirement of his dreams, as the ad copy explained.
It was unlike any other image in the magazine, so naturally readers stopped at that page. And the client received phone calls from prospects because of the creative approach we took to getting their business noticed.
COPYCATS KILL CURIOSITY
Curiosity is an irresistible force, if executed correctly. You have to be brave enough to break out of the mold first. Followers get a lot less attention because you’re back to square one, mingling with those who came before you.
A 2017 survey of business owners by a marketing research firm learn incoming proven ineffective as a copier. Although many business owners admitted to using competitors’ marketing ideas (67%), the success of these campaigns was dismal (75%).
If you’re sitting on an idea, don’t wait for someone else to break the mold. If you’re following in someone else’s footsteps, your execution won’t be as successful.
Being the first to do something, especially something that is so different from what you expect or have always done, can – and should – to feel uncomfortable. But soon, others will notice your success and start copying you.
It will bring everyone back to a pool saturated with similarity, however. The solution? You have to constantly innovate and find unique ways to spark curiosity. This is all too familiar in the financial industry. I’ve seen new movements and trends gain momentum and mainstream in just a few months. When the “fiduciary” emerged on the scene in the early 2000s, it didn’t take long for every advisor to add it to their value proposition.
A good idea or a trend is not enough to keep your customers and prospects curious. You have to constantly create unique ways to engage them.
And it forces you to tap into your creative thinking. Being creative is more than catching lightning in a bottle once. See what catches your eye as you scroll through social media or flip through a magazine. Take a screenshot or photo and save it to what we in the marketing world call a “magnet file” – a folder of marketing examples you want to emulate.
This is different from the copiers I mentioned earlier. You just gather inspiration. You know what tactics work for businesses in different industries and you can be the first to apply them to your industry.
This will help you stay ahead of your competition – imitators. You can lead the pack. If you’re brave enough to stand out, of course, you’ll encounter your share of puzzled stares and skepticism, but you’ll also attract attention and new customers.
Robert Sofia is the CEO of the digital marketing company Snappy Kraken.