Comet, the technology retailer, has recently announced a brand re-fresh, involving a new logo design, TV ads, store refits, new point of sale materials and new staff uniforms. It appears to be concentrating on getting the essentials right and communicating the right messages to its customers.
In an interview with Bill Moir, Comet’s Head of Marketing, which was published in PCR Magazine, he says: “[We’re] changing our communications stance. We’re now communicating more of our personality to broaden our appeal. We are actually quite different in what we do, we just haven’t necessarily communicated that as effectively as we’d like.”
Following research conducted last year, Comet learnt that its customers want to enjoy the shopping process more and want someone to focus on the benefits of the technology. Bill Moir is quoted as saying: “A lot of people in the market today just talk about product features, and don’t actually translate them into customer benefits. What we’re learning from customers is that they really want someone to do that translation for them.”
At Butterfield Marketing, we think it’s brave of Moir to come out and say that, as it’s one of the most basic principles of marketing communications. However, we have this conversation over and over again with clients. They often compare the features on their products with those of their competitors, and expect their customers to do the same. If you look at marketing communications as helping the customer to buy, rather than helping the company to sell, then explaining the benefits rather than the features makes complete sense. Even in the technology market, a customer is more interested in why a product should have a particular feature, not just that it does.
Comet may have spent thousands of pounds on research to work out how to communicate more effectively with customers, when it appears obvious to an independent marketer, but that’s often the key. You can be so caught up with the minutiae of the business that you just don’t see the bigger picture.
Bill Moir also says that Comet would like to be more engaging in its communications, use less jargon, less corporate language and be a bit more real. In business to business sectors there can be a temptation to use jargon out of habit or to avoid ‘dumbing down’ text, but it can exclude new customers to the market. Using technically correct terminology is fine, but industry or company jargon must be avoided.
Comet’s been in business for 77 years and deals with the latest consumer technology, but it’s good to see that it’s not too big to go back to first principles to get its marketing communications right!