When Apple released the latest iPhone, what made you to stand in line and compete with other Apple loyalists for the limited supply available on the first day? Was it because you needed a new smartphone to communicate with your friends and family? Were your interested in the new upgrades or apps? Do you even know why you needed to purchase the new iPhone ?
Perhaps it was because you were constantly bombarded with information about the iPhone in a variety of forms: Facebook advertisements, tweets on Twitter, or pictures of the iPhone on other social media sites.
Many of today’s popular fads are created and marketed through social media, so much so, that the more times we see the product advertised, the more we grow to like it. Just think about it. You hear a song on the radio and, initially, you don’t like it. Now, after listening to that station for two weeks, and hearing the song numerous times, you may even be singing along!
How Starbucks Uses the Mere Exposure Effect
Much of the Starbucks brand’s success is due to the powerful effect of repeated audience exposure to their brand logo. Most of the appeal of Starbucks is attributed to the brand consistency and believe in what the Starbucks brand entails.
With Starbucks, customers know that they will enjoy high quality coffee along with the perceived idea of sophisticated and social status that drinking Starbucks coffee conveys. The exposure effect also takes place when consumers are repeatedly exposed to the Starbucks brand logo when they travel (16,635 stores worldwide), or when they see the logo on the coffee cups of their friends or co-workers. These levels of intimate exposure will promote the consumer’s perception of the brand and they will most likely respond to the Starbucks favorably in the future.
For business professionals, it is beneficial to include social media as a component of the public relations campaign because it increases the chance of your product or event being seen numerous amounts of times by potential consumers. However, when using social media as a communication tool, one has to ensure that their social media message is effective. You can do this by using designated company social media accounts to consistently interact with, and build relationships with consumers online.
The mere exposure effect is all about building familiarity with your audience so answer questions promptly, retweet followers, and provide useful information that promotes the credibility of your company, product or event.
Nike and the London Olympics
You can also create opportunities to expose your audience to the company brand or event by creating circumstances where they would need to visit your company’s social media account or website.
One example would be Nike’s “Find Greatness” campaign for the 2012 London Olympics. Nike’s public relations and marketing teams included subtle touches of social media in all of their advertising materials, which supports the mere exposure effect theory.
Hundreds of Nike billboards around the city of London featured the Twitter hashtag #FindGreatness alongside their motivational images of youths attempting to train for Olympic sports. As a result of Nike’s repeated use of their company brand and slogan at the Olympics, Nike was able to increase their sales.
Fourth quarter revenues from Nike’s quarterly report increased 12 percent in 2012 after the Olympics ($6.5 billion in annual revenue made) given their much effective social media campaign. In comparison to Nike’s rival, Adidas, over 16,020 tweets were sent during the time of the Olympics that were associated with the word “Nike” with “Olympics” versus just under 9,300 for Adidas. Also, Nike’s followers grew 11% from opening to closing ceremonies, adding more than 57,000 followers, and over the course of the 2012 Olympics, Nike added twice as many Facebook fans as Adidas.
With the mere exposure effect, you have the chance to leave your social media audience with the impression of your campaign using a resource that most people are using, which is social media. An effective way to market and spread the word is to deliver content for your audience is through social media. In today’s world, social media plays a large part in shaping a consumer’s opinion about a product or company.