“If he’d spoken like a Midwesterner, all bets would have been off. Looking back, his accent made up for what he lacked in the looks department.” -Accentophile
We all have our favorites. From Sean Connery’s “Shpeak” to Sofia Vergara’s rolling “Rrr”, accents have a disarming quality to them. And who wouldn’t like to be seduced by a French whisper in their ear? On top of their charm, accents help us to recognize certain foreigners–Russians, Indians or Italians for example–immediately.
Like an accent, repetition can help your products become recognizable in an instant–and create a brand.
A brand becomes “recognizable by repetition”
When a prospect hears about your product for the first time, she’s not likely to drop her pen or leave her conversation to rip your product out of someone else’s hands just to get her hands on it.
In marketing circles, the “magic” number is seven: it takes around 7 times for a prospect to be exposed to your message before it starts registering with them. That’s why repetition, a concept borrowed from design, has such a high importance in marketing as well, particularly your own:
- Repetition in design
- Repetition in marketing: Branding
- How to apply Repetition in your marketing
Let’s start with repetition in design.
1. Repetition in design
One of the main principles of design, repetition helps to organize a piece, adding consistency to it and strengthening its unity. Repeating a certain visual element throughout acts like leaving breadcrumbs along the way–to guide the reader from the beginning to the end.
But as with all things in life, too much repetition can have a detrimental effect by making the design predictable and boring. That applies to repetition in marketing as well.
2. Repetition in marketing: Branding
Branding is one of the most prominent uses of repetition in marketing. Repetition is necessary for brand building because it takes several attempts to cut through all the ambient noise your prospects are surrounded with. Bombarded thousands of times everyday, they developed a higher threshold before noticing a single message.
But noticing is just the beginning. To act on a message, we need to trust it, like it and have a motivation to do so right now. Only when these 4 criteria are met do you stand a chance of closing the deal.
Repeating your message not only helps you being noticed, but each time that happens your prospect become more familiar with your brand and slowly build trust in it. Which brings us to the practical side of this article: How does repetition help YOUR business?
3. How to apply repetition in your marketing
Let’s start with the most obvious application. Ideally, you want to use the same colors, fonts and general style throughout your communication. From your business cards through your website to your physical location. Each exposure will bring make your prospect a bit familiar with your brand.
Even more powerful than repeating a visual is when you repeat your message. You are not confined to repetition by word only, as with a slogan. You can also repeat the core of your message with different words. In his 2008 campaign, Obama used variations of “change” and “hope” in addition to repeating them verbatim, for example in “Yes, we can.”
Another example of repeating the core idea of their message is GymIt in Boston. Calling themselves No-frills workout center, their message is reflected in their slogan “Get In, Work Out” as well as the fact that they don’t offer tanning, daycare or designer protein shakes.
What is the core of your message. What does your product do for its users? Find different ways to express it: different words, different examples, different mediums.
“But I don’t have a million dollar marketing war chest!”
And you don’t need one. Forget a custom logo if you don’t have the budget. Use a free website framework and design your business cards yourself until can invest in them. Until then, focus exclusively on your message.
How you explain your product, how to showcase it to potential customers, the way you describe what it does for them are all different ways of working on your message without breaking the bank. Important ways on top of that. Even having three stories of three different happy existing customers to tell can make more difference than featuring the same color on your business card and website. And once you got the budget, do that as well!
Accentuate your products
Prospects need to hear about your products. Many times, in fact, before they will act on it: they need to notice you, trust you, like you and need you–all at the same time to buy your product. That’s why repetition is equally important in design as it is in marketing.
Find interesting ways to repeat yourself. If you do it often enough right, your message will become as irresistible as Sean Connery (or Sofia Vergara) whispering into your ear.