Wednesday, April 6, 2011

If NAB killed the asterisk what's it doing in their logo?

NAB billboard South Yarra station

"We killed the asterisk"

I love this ad for NAB, but not for the intended reason.  Forgive my shaky photographic skills, but the sign reads "We killed the asterisk" and is part of their campaign to differentiate themselves from the other big banks.

I'll get to their campaign in a minute, but not before I get an observation out of my system.

That's right, the NAB logo contains as asterisk!
But to be serious, let's look at what they are trying to tap into here*.
  * small print, exceptions, qualifiers

Turns out customers are annoyed when what they believe is the stated offer is subject to all manner of qualification.  In layman's language you feel like you've been jibbed, snowed, or mislead if the big claim is really not what it purports to be.  So NAB are differentiating themselves through inferring that they can be believed - the deal is the deal, no exceptions - whereas their competitors cannot.

But we're in marketing and know that there are always qualifiers*.  Whether you use * or ^ or 1, somewhere in your product or marketing information you will have to include substantiations or clarifications, terms or conditions. 

* sweeping statement not backed by any empirical data

 In a previous post, T&Cs Necessary? Yes; Evil? No I wrote that when you present Terms and Conditions to a customer, you are jolting them from state of unconscious processing to Executive brain function, and once the Executive mind starts to question, it questions everything.  'Do I really need this?' 'Is this how I should best spend my money?'  'How will I justify this to my boss?'  'I should probably see what the competition has to offer.'

Given Terms and Conditions are an important, and often mandatory part of the transaction and serve to ensure that both seller and buyer are clear on the terms of exchange, how can you minimise the disruptive impact of the "asterisk" moment on your sales momentum?  Three ways;
  • Integration - Have the customer understand and agree to concepts within the Ts and Cs throughout the sales process so they don't come as a surprise in the transaction stage.  Meaning? Why not use Ts and Cs as part of the feature set you are using to sell your product. For instance,  "Our Customers receive a monthly offers catalogue from us so that they get first dibs on priority deals" might be less of a shock than "By signing this contract you agree to receive promotional offers". 
  • Language - Modify the language so that your legal messages are not inconsistent with your brand.  Why not a statement that helps them understand the impacts of their behaviour such as "We know you'll want to wear these earphones all the time, but promise you won't drop them in the toilet or sink or wear them in the shower because you'll be warran-teed off when we can't replace them" rather than a dull warranty statement?
  • Congruence - Customers are looking for congruence between the proposition and the terms of sale.   Inconsistency will see them paralysed with confusion and leave you in a situation of hope for the sale rather than assurance. How does this play out?  A relationship based on trust will be undone by onerous and explicit Ts & Cs.  A relationship based on customer service will be undone by ill written and unintelligible Ts & Cs.  A product which promises happiness and simplicity will be undone by Ts and Cs that are dull and complicated. A bank that is claiming it killed the asterisks better not have any exceptions to the deal.
So to NAB and their marketing team, nice try*.  But to win my business I'd prefer you to relate to me rather than pretend that conditions do not apply.
* not really

1 comment:

  1. Come across any terms and conditions that have tickled your fancy? Or marketing campaigns that have unintentionally created a a funny take on the brand's logo? Let me know.