Ian Henderson on new advertising ideas for complicated businesses – MAF217

My guest this week is Ian Henderson, an advertising expert behind the infamous, “See it. Say it. Sorted” campaign.

We talk about how advertising has changed in the digital age and why annoying advertising is sometimes the best way to get a message across.

Welcome to episode 217 of the Marketing and Finance Podcast.

Ian Henderson on new advertising ideas for complicated businesses - MAF217

What you’ll hear about in this episode

  • What is the UK’s most annoying advert?
  • How annoying adverts can still be successful
  • How advertising has changed in the digital world
  • The differences between old-style and new adverts
  • The three steps to creating a successful advertising campaign
  • Cost-effective advertising
  • A financial services company doing well with ads

Who is Ian Henderson?

Ian has been an advertising copywriter for many years, producing ads for cars and whiskeys at London agencies. He became interested in brand development, particularly for complicated businesses.

His business, AML Group, have been working in this area for about eight years. They describe their service as: “simple ideas for complicated businesses.” That covers things like technology, counter-terrorism, law and international finance.

It also includes retirement life insurance – anything that’s highly regulated and therefore difficult to communicate to potential customers so they understand what businesses do.

Summary of our chat

AML Group created the “See it. Say it. Sorted” advert on behalf of British Transport Police to encourage people to report anything suspicious at train stations. While it was voted the most annoying advert in the UK, Ian explains that it’s resulted in a 90% increase in incident reporting.

The old model of TV ads for large companies in the financial services sector, using a top-down push method, is outdated in the world of social media. Consumers are empowered now, and we have grassroots movements created by people we trust more than organisations. Brands are now trying to replicate this for business growth.

Ian says that the old ways of advertising still work, and it allows companies to reach large numbers of people fast. On the other side, creating pull messages is increasingly popular. The audience creates stories and builds participation. This is both cost-effective and removes barriers that prevent people from taking action.

The first step is understanding the rational and emotional drivers of the audiences. Then, find the “connected connectors” you can influence within that group. You need a strong, simple, memorable and relevant core idea people can get behind. Finally, you need to create a platform to build participation and remove barriers to access.

Ian says producing adverts is much cheaper than they used to be. However, you still need to create assets and seed the movement. It’s not cost-free, but there’s no longer a need for expensive, top-down media. Companies are keen to do the right thing, and that includes enabling consumers to make informed decisions.

Ian points to a project between Big Issue and large asset managers. To build a financial ecosystem which is inclusive and allows people to invest in a sustainable way and have access to low-cost banking and ethical financial products. It’s a great example of collaboration between competitors for the greater good.

Ian’s Tips for Small Business Marketing

For smaller businesses who can’t afford to work with an agency, Ian recommends using tools such as content marketing and social media, because they’re available to everyone.

Firstly, though, you need to be clear on what it is you want to say. What is the purpose of your organisation and why should people come to you? It sounds obvious, but Ian says many companies don’t get that right.

Be clear on what you’re trying to say, then find a compelling, relevant and memorable way that sticks in people’s minds. We’re all good at filtering messages out unless they’re clear and simple, because attention spans are shorter.

Finally, use digital platforms to ensure the message is delivered consistently across each one and reaches the right people. Clarity and being compelling, and using the right channels, are universal tools for successful advertising.

One thing Ian would like listeners to take away

Ian says that “simple ideas for complicated businesses” is not a bad summary of his experience. Businesses, particularly in the sectors AML Group work with, are necessarily complicated, because they’re intermediated and regulated.

There is often a lot of resistance, confusion and anxiety on the part of consumers around their offerings. Being simple and clear, and delivering key messages in a timely and relevant way is obvious, but that’s what it takes.

Ian thinks that using the new techniques in the environment of ‘doing the right thing’ and focussing on sustainability means that it’s possible for the financial industry to start a conversation to help consumers to make the right decisions.

An Example of Simple Marketing

Ian points to the “Take back Control” campaign used by the Leave side during the Brexit campaign, regardless of your views, was a powerful and effective marketing campaign. It’s a good example of an almost invisible grassroots campaign, like those talked about during this interview.

An Example of Marketing Madness

Ian says he thinks it’s a bit bonkers spending £100,000,000 on a leaflet campaign to tell people to get ready for Brexit when no-one really knows the outcome.

Links

If you enjoyed – Ian Henderson on new advertising ideas for complicated businesses – please leave a comment or a review on iTunes.

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Mental health, advertising and the Protection Review Conference 2019 – MAF215

From the need to change an industry’s attitude to mental health issues, to the opportunities offered by digital marketing, Protection Review’s 2019 conference was an event brimming with challenge and ideas for growth.

Let’s grab a coffee and I’ll talk you through the highlights.

Welcome to episode 215 of the award-winning Marketing and Finance podcast.

Mental health, advertising and the Protection Review Conference 2019 - MAF215

What you’ll hear about in this episode

  • What is the Protection Review Conference, Dinner and Awards?
  • Why mental health issues are important across all industries
  • The attitude of product providers to customers with mental health issues and what could change
  • Why even marketing people think that marketing can be annoying
  • How the industry could revisit the idea of a generic advertising campaign

Links

If you enjoyed – Mental health, advertising and the Protection Review Conference 2019 – please leave a comment or a review on iTunes.

And if you know anyone who would enjoy the show – please share it with them. You can use the buttons below to share on social media.

Don’t miss an episode of the MAF Podcast – subscribe now.

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Andy Couchman on Protection Review and the launch of the I Mark – MAF197

On the show this week, I talk to Andy Couchman, co-founder of Protection Review.

We chat about how the Protection Review Conference, Dinner and Awards has grown to become one of the premiere financial services events of the year and the new “I Mark” which seeks to recognise true innovation.

Welcome to episode 197 of the Marketing and Finance Podcast.

Andy Couchman on Protection Review and the launch of the I Mark - MAF197

What you’ll hear about in this episode

  • How Andy started Protection Review with another financial services luminary, Peter Le Beau
  • The process Andy goes through to write product reviews and how he scores them
  • What innovation really means in financial services
  • The reasoning behind the launch of the I Mark
  • What companies will have to do to receive the I Mark.

Who is Andy Couchman?

Andy started his career in product marketing roles in various large UK financial services companies.

After leaving corporate life he made a success writing about financial services topics. Together with Peter Le Beau he started Protection Review back in 2003. What started as a paper publication and an annual dinner has turned into a prestigious annual Conference, Dinner and Awards event and a popular website.

Although he has retired from the day to day running of Protection Review, Andy still writes the reviews published each month.

Summary of our chat

In his reviews Andy always remembers that teams of people will have worked hard on launching the product or service he is reviewing. They’ll be looking for the highest score possible. But over the years he’s developed a method of setting a benchmark for the products and services he’s reviewing.

He rarely gives a 10 out of 10. In fact this may only have happened a couple of times.

Until now, Andy has always acknowledged innovation in his reviews. Thinking back to the launch of Critical Illness Cover in 1986 he acknowledges that it was real innovation back then. However the current practice of adding new illnesses and conditions, whilst a good thing because it improves the product, is more evolution than innovation.

That’s why he’s please Protection Review is launching the “I Mark”. It will recognise and promote true innovation in the protection segment of UK financial services.

He’ll still mark his reviews on a scale of 1 to 10, but from now on he’ll also award the I Mark to products and services that offer something different.

Recommended business book

Andy likes Damon Hill’s Autobiography. The racing driver faced many mental health challenges over the years and Andy thinks this is sobering reading and reiterates how important it is for insurance companies to take care of people with similar issues rather than simply rejecting them for cover.

He also recommends Lucian Camp’s book about financial services marketing. Lucian was my first ever guest on the Marketing and Finance Podcast.

Links

If you enjoyed – Andy Couchman on Protection Review and the launch of the I Mark – please leave a comment or a review on iTunes.

And if you know anyone who would enjoy the show – please share it with them. You can use the buttons below to share on social media.

Don’t miss an episode of the MAF Podcast – subscribe now.

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