Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Creative Presentation Tips #1

It is best to display multiple concepts individually (ie each on a separate page) rather than together. Research has shown that attention is divided between objects on a page even when objects are dulled or even hidden. The brain remembers object locations and will continue being processed.

Maximum attention is established by placing a new object such as a single brandmark on a new clean slide or page. This is essential when presenting brandmarks especially when pushing for a recommended option. The client should be focused on a single point rather than asked to move between multiple objects on a page.

Too many choices cause what is known as cognitive dissonance (or more simply, internal confusion). For example, a case study involving consumer choice was conducted in a shopping environment. A display of six jams were set up and consumers were asked to sample each. Another display featuring twenty four jams was used and results showed that with so many choices, indecision was caused quickly and less purchases were made than the display featuring only six.

Understanding memory retention is also important for emphasising key points. Presenting an maximum choice of four options (three may be even better) reaches the average person's memory processing and short term limit. It is also an effective way of setting up a graded context in which one option is preferred. For example, in a creative presentation, option one can be explained as a safe update of an existing brand, option two as the contemporary and market relevant recommendation, whilst option three represents the furthest leap forward. Simple enough, it helps persuades a client toward the desired recommendation with option one appearing acceptable but not forward looking enough and option three as exciting but too much of a leap.

As always, never present work you're not happy with because despite the best prepared rationales, no one can account for irrational decisions.

Further to this last point is a story I read in Kevin Hogan's book, The Science Of Influence, that struck a chord in relation to contextual selling. The book describes the following

"There is a wonderful piece of television history from the archives of the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. One night, Johnny had the number-one Girl Scout cookie salesperson in the country on. He asked her the secret of her success. She said ‘I just went to everyone’s house and said “Can I have a $30,000 donation for the Girl Scouts?”. When they said ‘No,’ I said, ‘Would you at least buy a box of Girl Scout cookies?’

If you put two products or services close together in space, in time, or in a person’s mind, the person will begin to clearly see the differences and their programming will help them choose ‘which’ instead of ‘whether or not to’. If you can show your expensive product or service first and then show what you would like to sell second, the client is very likely to purchase the second item."

Applying this thought in a creative context, could it be best to show your most 'revolutionary' brand option first followed by your preferred option second to emphasise the difference in implementation? I'll let you decide.

Further reading
Mind Hacks by by Tom Stafford, Matt Webb (Hack 19)
The Science of Influence by Kevin Hogan
Number 4 : A Reconsideration of Mental Capacity by Nelson Cowan 2001