The message strategy campaign that I did for a persuasion course is what I have chosen to reflect on. The thesis of the campaign plan was to persuade my audience to by my product by using theories like Hovland’s learning theory, rational model and social judgment theory. The audience for this message was primarily people who would be interested in implementing my campaign plan, but also a variety of different audiences that would be targeted by the specific messages within the plan. Another segment of my audience for my message was students that had no ties to athletics. First, I targeted athletes with my message because the product (Midwest Conference sports app) was geared towards them. To do this, I created messages that would intrigue the college athlete. My message was a free giveaway t-shirt to college students who were at certain basketball games. I used the giveaway because of the average college student likes to get free things and this message gave them an incentive to try my product. Once students wore the t-shirt in public, they became walking advertisements, or second order communicators, for my product. This way, my second segment, students that had little to no ties to athletics, saw others wearing the t-shirt and would be aware of my product. The different types of college students, specifically athletes and non-athletes, influenced the way I delivered my message. Instead of doing things like fliers or TV ads, I used the t-shirt giveaway because college students would be more responsive to this type of persuasion.
Overall the campaign plan was based skills I learned in class, like how to apply certain theories to a message. For each of my four messages I had in the campaign I listed each persuasion theory I used to come up with the message. One theory I used in my free t-shirt giveaway message was Hovland’s Learning Theory. Hovland’s theory has four key aspects that a message needs to do in order to be affective. First is getting attention, I did this in my message by having the giveaway at halftime when the audience is engaged in halftime festivities. This gets the audience attention because of the simple fact that it is free. Free things create excitement and attention. The second aspect is to understand and comprehend. The message on the t-shirt is brief and easy to understand yet shows all the key points behind my product. This is a key part of Hovland’s theory because if the audience is confused about the product or have questions that are unanswered, then they are more likely not to buy the product. The t-shirt is easy to understand because of the low amount of detail on the shirt, but answers all of the main questions that the audience might have. Third, Hovland says the message needs to recall arguments as to why they would want your product. On the shirt I had a picture of a mobile phone, reminding the audience that this product is used by those who are on the go but what to keep up with MWC athletics. My message was lacking in this area but touched this by having the website on the t-shirt where it would explain different arguments to by the app. This is important in Hovland’s theory because the more memorable the product is, the more likely the audience remembers what the product is and what the arguments are supporting the product, the more likely they are to consider buying the product. Lastly, the message needs to provide incentive. The t-shirt giveaway message is an incentive so that the receiver would want to buy the app do to the reciprocity appeal. The reciprocity appeal is when the receiver feels the need to buy the product because of the favor I have already shown them by giving them a t-shirt. Also, I created a detailed overview of each message including what the purpose of the message was, the audience segment and when the message would take place.
Another theory I used to create the message was the rational model. The rational model has three parts that affect each other in order to change behavior in an audience. The rational model requires the seller to think about how they sell their product through the eyes of a potential buyer. The first part is belief. For my product, the belief that my intended audience would have would be that the MWC app is the quickest best and quickest way to get information about MWC sports. Then, there has to be motive for the audience to buy my product. The motive for my audience would be that they want quick and easy access to their schools information and statistics. The motive has to be relevant to the belief in order for the rational model to work. Then, attitude of the audience is affected which in turn alters behavior. When the belief and motive are coherent with each other, the attitude of the buyer is positive towards my product because the product fulfills their motive. Since their attitude is positive, then their behavior is likely to buy my product.
One more theory I used in creation of this message is the social judgment theory. I specifically used this theory on the second message in the plan, which was a TV commercial. Social judgment theory is used when the seller is trying to generate new interest. For my campaign, I had lofty goals in order to be successful. To reach these goals, I needed to target the portion of my audience that wouldn’t normally be interested in my product. With social judgment theory, I constructed my TV commercial so that there are people portraying the type of people in my audience that wouldn’t have interest in my app. In the commercial, they are introduced to the parts of the app that are for people who may not be interested in sports, but are interested in supporting their friends. They would identify themselves with these people in the advertisement. This would change the attitude of this portion of my audience to at least think of buying my product.
To make sure this message was executed properly, I made sure the entire campaign plan was detailed, organized and easy to read. Each section was clearly marked with a header before the section. Every skill that I showed was in the proper section that made sense to the reader. The paper was in a business proposal format with bold headers for each section and bullet points under each section. The titles of the subsections were italicized so the paper stayed organized and easy to read. This type of business writing style increased clarity and the ability for the reader to quickly scan the paper to find a specific part. Another way I organized the paper was by adding a table of contents at the beginning of the paper and an appendix at the end. This provided the reader with reference points to go back to and look something up in the paper. Overall I was very pleased with my message.