Tired of her allergies, she had started experimenting with dishwasher brands that would be gentler with her hands. After a lot of testing and switching, she had finally decided on Mrs. Meyers Dish Soap because of the natural ingredients. I was convinced she had found the right product.
One night, I was visiting and doing the dishes at her house, and to my surprise I found a bottle of Dawn Ultra with a little yellow duck in the label, and a slogan that read: “Dawn helps save wildlife”. Mrs Meyers was nowhere to be found.
Curious as I am, I had to ask. “What happened?” “What made you change?” “I understand Dawn is helping save wildlife, are you supporting wildlife conservation?”
After a casual conversation, I understood how Dawn’s message affected my mom’s decision. She was OK with the product saving the life of little ducks, but the differentiator was the promise of a gentle product.
She literally said: “Have you seen how delicate those feathers are?”
I had seen the explanation in the commercial, and understood how Dawn is helping volunteers with oil spill cleanups for ducks and other kind of birds and animals.
She continued: “If the soap is as gentle to be used to clean those feathers, it has to be gentle for my hands too”.
Dawn (Procter and Gamble) is a clear example of Integrated Marketing Communications put into practice. The commercials align them with a laudable cause, they clearly stated their noble purpose, but it was the design of the different communication elements that made the difference with my mom. While in the aisle of that supermarket, in the middle of her customer journey, she was attracted by the symbol of a bright yellow duck in the packaging of the product. She probably didn’t remember the brand, nor had the idea of switching to a new brand when she went shopping for dish soap. The symbol of the duck was the trigger that influenced her decision that day.
Dawn opted to establish a commitment with a praiseworthy cause, and in the process decided to develop a symbol that triggered key brand associations. The ducks were an essential part of the commercial, and the image of the duck was being used to trigger knowledge, emotions, and thoughts that were stored in the memory of my mom as a consumer. How elements contribute and establish commonality to the message from advertising to packaging should be a priority for any marketer. So far, and to the detriment of Mrs. Meyers, the allergies have not come back.
STATUS: Be a product that is consistent and honest about your intentions across all channels. The Outcome will be beneficial and will come from the most unexpected places.