Does Familiarity = More Likeable?

ads from theater progam build familiarity

This page of ads from the Peoria Players program is a great example.

Marketing and advertising folks say that awareness advertising works, but have you ever wondered how seeing a simple ad or billboard with a head shot and name of a realtor, insurance agent, financial advisor, etc. can really help them get more clients? I have.

I like studies and hard data to help me understand these things. I trust the fact that since they keep doing it, they must find it effective, but I’ve always wanted to understand it better.

Thanks to the book Invisible Influence by Jonah Berger I finally understand it. (Spoiler alert, it was really interesting to hear the study unfold so go grab the book if you don’t want my summary to spoil it.) Berger writes about a study where students were asked a bunch of questions about 4 girls who were pictured on the survey. They responded more favorably in finding the girls attractive and as someone they’d like to get to know better when they had seen the girls more often (which was by design). Each of the 4 girls attended the class a different number of times. They also surveyed students who weren’t in the class and the ratings fell evenly across the four girls among those who had never seen them. It may seem a bit crazy that just by seeing a person from a distance in class on 15 days that they would view her more positively than someone they only seen a 5 times, doesn’t it. Yet time and time again in his book, Berger illustrates how we are influenced in many ways that we don’t even realize. This is a very brief overview of the details included in the book, here’s another article that gives a few more details and other similar examples.

My takeaway that I want to share with you is that unknowingly we are influenced by familiarity. So getting your name, face, message, etc. out there more often will create familiarity which can help people want to feel a connection to you or your products and services.

I’ve often trusted the marketing adage, “A potential customer needs to see your message 7 times before taking action” to a certain degree, but again not really understood why. Sometimes I see something once and take action on it, is what I think to myself. What I’m probably not considering is that I’m already aware of the business, or the benefits involved. I may not have seen that specific ad before, but I do have an awareness and familiarity with some part of the offering that lead me to action.

Another benefit to awareness advertising that was illustrated well in Berger’s first book, Contagious, is that it also keeps you top of mind for current customers who are then more likely to be triggered to tell others about you and your products or services.

I’m not expecting you to spend hundreds of dollars a month on advertising, but keep in mind that consistently getting an effective message out via multiple channels, such as social media, email, in-person events, and advertising can have a compounding effect in your favor.

P.S. I’m listening to the audio book version from the Peoria Public Library.