Searching for Simplicity – How Brands Are Connecting with Today’s Consumers

According to a recent New York Times article, Americans are leading lives that are faster paced and more complicated than ever before, while facing significant economic uncertainty. Although on the surface, it does not appear to be a noteworthy premise, this reality “has encouraged advertisers to woo consumers with promises to provide solutions that are meant as simple but not simplistic,” writes NYT reporter Stuart Elliott.

According to PR executive Marian Salzman, “We all have this desire to simplify our lives, but we don’t know how to do it.” Salzman continues, while we try and figure it out, “We have envy of other people who seem to have it together. We envy the time we had just three TV channels to choose from. And we envy the man in the gray flannel suit who knew when work started and ended.”

Hence this cultural shift towards simplicity. But just like any good overnight sensation, it was more than 10 years in the making.

Have you enjoyed Simply Orange Juice or Simply Lemonade from the dairy section at your grocery store? These refreshing beverages with all natural ingredients are part of the Coca Cola family and were first introduced back in 2001.

The magazine Real Simple, which is owned by Time Inc. has increased its circulation by nearly 500% since debuting back in 2000. According to the magazine’s managing editor Kristin van Ogtrop, “Simplicity is the new luxury. In a world where everyone’s busy and there’s a lot of uncertainty, you can’t put a price on that.”

For brands like Jet Blue or Applebee’s that have also embraced simplicity in their marketing, they are able to engage their target audience by being implicit rather than explicit. For these brands, the focus is on demonstrating simplicity and the value proposition it offers their customers, rather than simply talking about it or including it in their name.

An Insight with Staying Power

With so many brands getting in on the act, it might seem like it’s time to move onto the next “big idea” in advertising. However, simplicity appears to becoming a fundamental consideration that a growing number of consumers expect from brands.

According to Allison Higbie, group director of marketing for Simply Juices and Drinks, “We can’t even imagine how complicated and busy consumers’ lives are going to become. It’s definitely a consumer insight with staying power.”

All of this is great news for radio, because ease of use has long been one of our core strengths. Over the last few years, there have been ongoing discussions within our industry about increasing the number of smart phones that include a built in FM receiver.

Have you ever used a built in tuner to listen to the radio on a mobile device? It’s fantastic. A key aspect of what makes it so great is that you don’t have to download or update an App and it doesn’t require any data usage. Radio maintains its simplicity even in the increasingly complicated, yet important mobile space.

As audio platforms continue to proliferate and grab media headlines, especially some with limited audiences, Chris Ensley, an analyst with Wall Street’s Coady Diemar Partners characterized radio’s ongoing strength in an article on article this week, “Terrestrial radio remains the dominant form of audio listening,” with a 69% share of daily audio listening, “significantly more than iPods/mp3’s (11%), satellite radio (9%), CD players (6%) and Internet streaming (5%).”

In our work with clients, we regularly see the impact of messaging built around simplicity. Promotions like Double Your Paycheck* and Win Your Life Back connect with audiences in such a powerful way that they quickly begin to develop a deeper connection to the station. Radio’s ease of use along with a message that connects with your audience’s need for simplicity is truly a powerful combination.

For more information on how DMR Interactive can simplify your marketing message and connect with the listeners who matter most to your ratings and revenue, please contact Andrew Curran.

*“Double Your Paycheck” is used under license from Emmis Communications, LLC.


One Response to Searching for Simplicity – How Brands Are Connecting with Today’s Consumers

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