What makes a great offer, what does it say about your brand, can it damage it?
My interest was aroused by the recent Kmart price promise TV ad – it’s set up in a way that has none of the usual retail frenzy of Kmart ads, being more akin to a political party crusade. It attracted my attention because it shows everyday people talking about an important promise – later it’s revealed this is the Kmart Price Promise – find the same item cheaper elsewhere and we’ll match the price. Kmart is an important and iconic brand, it successfully provides for the needs of millions of Australians, I should make it clear I like Kmart.
I saw the ad at least 4 times, which suggest a fairly sizeable media spend. Interestingly over the next few days a number of friends also mentioned the ad. Unfortunately, for all of us, we were underwhelmed by what the promise actually involved. It seems to me that having decided to strongly promote this offer Kmart missed a chance to deliver a really strong message for the brand.
It’s worth pointing out:
(a) Price promises are nothing new – they’ve been around as long as people have been selling and buying – but if it’s a good one, or a new twist on the old idea, it’s still a great tool. But this is not the best, or even a match for the best, price promise around. Take for instance Harvey Norman , even non competitive offers heighten consumer awareness of the types of offer and set customer expectation.
(b) It misses the point that a price promise should give me a $ benefit to motivate me to act and give me confidence in the retailers intentions. For me a price match just doesn’t cut it.
(c) In direct and promotional marketing the offer is the the most important aspect of the communication ahead of the media you choose and the creative execution. Never underestimate the power of the link between an offer and the way the consumer views your brand – at best an offer says really good things in support of your brand, at worst it undermines the values and personality you have defined for the brand.
Even the least cynical consumer might take the view that If they have found something cheaper than at Kmart once, what’s to say all their prices aren’t that little bit higher than the competition – it all just seems too hard if I constantly have to check I’m not being overcharged. Consumers have an inate ability to assess the value of any offer almost instantly, and the opinions they form as a result will be hard to change – good or bad!
I’ll leave the last word to Big W who seem to have spotted the weakness in Kmarts promise.