Advertising focused on people and not on the media

The mere mention of the word "advertising" produces a negative reaction in most people. And no wonder, advertising is usually intrusive, irrelevant, confusing, ignored at best or rejected quite often. How many times have you seen a box blocking the web page you are visiting in an abusive way? Consumers are overexposed to any amount of advertising stimuli through television, radio, billboards, Internet, text messages, screens with advertising messages in the most hidden and unexpected places (bathrooms, changing rooms, etc.), leading to a very low assimilation and retention capacity.

This mainly happens because of the way advertisers approach advertising strategy, where the focus is on persuading through repetition, interruption or a "differentiating" creative strategy and not on people's needs and moods. I would like to present the model proposed by Jeffrey Rayport, a renowned business consultant on marketing strategies, which I believe is a powerful tool for the development of advertising strategies that connect with consumers.

The model starts from the premise that advertisers should be less concerned with what advertising tells consumers and more concerned with what it does for them. It should be approached as a vehicle through which consumers should be rewarded. Rayport lays out four spheres to think about strategically when developing an advertising campaign. These are:

  1. The public sphere: refers to advertising that seeks to capture the attention of consumers at times when they are moving from one place to another or from one activity to another, when their level of attention and receptivity to a message is greatest.

For advertising in the public sphere to be effective, it is necessary that the message conveyed is not out of context with the activity being developed and that it manages to generate an entertaining and pleasant experience. For example, a person on public transportation (if he/she is able to sit down) would value a game or mobile application developed by a brand that allows him/her to have fun and relax (the brand is generating value for the person).

  1. The social sphere: is one that helps people make new connections or improve the ones they have. Advertising can be a vehicle for people to express their feelings. An example could be videos or funny viral messages from a brand that a person transmits to others, amusing them and making the sender look good among their friends (the brand is naturally inserted in a context of acceptance and positive feelings).
  2. The tribal sphere: is one that allows people to reaffirm their identity and feel part of something big and important. Addressing desires for self-expression and affiliation. An example would be how a chain names the most frequent customers of a specific point as ambassadors of that point and gives them a plaque that accredits them (giving them status) and allows them access to discounts on their next purchases.
  1. The psychological sphere: refers to the ability to identify and associate a brand with a phrase, expression or gesture that leads to an action, emotion or positive thought in people. In this way, the brand is subtly associated with that action, emotion or positive thought. An example of this would be Nike's famous "Just Do It".