Monday, June 21, 2010

Using Appeals to Emotions to Sell Paint
WSJ, June 8, 2010

This is an interesting article that highlights efforts to get to the emotive component of a Value Proposition as part of the total Business Design as we define it to create real competitive separation for the Valspar paint company:

From the article it is clear most paint advertising targets the functionality and economics:

"Paint advertising typically emphasizes quality and color selection, and depicts homeowners applying paint to walls.

“What you see in almost every paint commercial is couples in blue jeans and flannel shirts holding rollers and going up and down on the wall and whistling while they work, and Valspar didn’t need to go there,” said Steffan Postaer, chief creative officer at Euro RSCG Chicago…..
…“Everyone’s fighting over the same features and benefits,” Ms. Champ of Valspar said, rattling off typical claims. “ ‘I have 3,500 colors,’ ‘No, I have 4,000 colors,’ ‘Mine’s a paint and primer in one.’ Everyone is working on the same benefits — and showing people rolling paint on the wall.”"

Valspar found a very different scenario when they studied their customers:

"But Ms. Champ said that when Valspar surveyed consumers, “they told us that painting is an emotional journey with lots of highs and lows,” and that applying paint itself was certainly not the high point.

“They enjoy the first roll on the wall, but they don’t want to be reminded of all that work,” Ms. Champ said. “Consumers talk about what they feel when they finish the project, and that’s a sense of pride and accomplishment. They say, ‘I feel like an artist,’ and ‘I feel a sense of freedom and joy.’ They ladder up to a lot of high-level emotional benefits, and that’s what we’re trying to tap into through this campaign.”

They thus created a new form of advertising targeting the emotive component they found:

"Now a new television commercial by the paint company Valspar is taking an unusual approach to selling interior paint: it never shows an interior, or consumers painting. The spot, by Euro RSCG Chicago, opens with a couple walking on white sand toward a white wall, which resembles a drive-in movie screen, as a voice-over begins, “To some, a wall is just a wall — a divider between here and there.” The couple begins to guide the wall through various spectacular landscapes, and the wall assumes the color of the backdrops, from the incandescent green of flora near a waterfall to the warm tan of a hayfield to the reddish brown of a mountain setting.
“To others, a wall is a canvas, an invitation, a blank slate,” the voice-over continues to a lush soundtrack. “The right color can turn any wall into so much more.”

You cannot create sustainable competitive separation if you and your competitors keep chasing the same economic and functional attributes. Start with the Customer Segmentation and create real differences and get to the emotive state whenever you can.

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