06 Nov

The cumulative effect

I saw this in the Metro, yesterday:


For those of you not in the know, the Metro is a free newspaper available in major cities across the UK.
In this instance, I was reading the London version. I was also on the tube (London Underground) at the time.
Aside from this ad in my newspaper, there were another four ads on my carriage where the company had thought it was a ‘clever idea’ to use the image of the tube map in some way (one of them was for Sudafed, another was for a dating website – can’t remember the rest).
None of these companies had considered that loads of other companies, also advertising on the tube, would have the same idea… despite it being a fairly obvious one.

What this leads to, is a cumulative effect: I view all ads which incorporate the tube map as one big mass. They’re all the same ad, as far as I’m concerned, so I become immune to them – I don’t really take in what they have to say.

I find the same thing with any ads with animals in them: talking pandas, dancing ponies, singing cats, animated meerkats, cats being ‘more dog’, polar bears.
I just see anything like this as ‘yet another ad where they tried to show an animal doing something it wouldn’t normally do, or talking’.

I’m also becoming immune to infographics. Every company, regardless of relevance to what they’re trying to say, is pushing out infographics: ‘here’s an infographic on how we make the rubbers at the end of HB pencils’…. *yawn*

On a much lower level though, there’s a cumulative effect to the use of the phone in both the negative and the positive sense:

I find that (through listening to others, and through my own experience) cold calling is becoming less and less effective in terms of selling products and services.
What the person calling doesn’t seem to understand is that I’ve not just dealt with their call today – I’ve dealt with five, almost identical, calls prior to theirs.
If I’m a little short with them, it’s because they’re getting the backlash for the other calls on top of theirs: the cumulative effect.
They’re taking the brunt for the other five unnecessary interruptions to my working day.

However, on the positive, a wise old owl has often put to me what a big difference a phone call can make when he’s just used to receiving emails from people.
Emails are so hands-off that it’s easy to ignore them or make them a low priority, in terms of response.
Getting someone on the phone (for example, if you’re following up from having met them at a business show or a networking event) is far more engaging and shows that you’re willing to put a bit of effort into building a relationship with them.
Everyone sends non-committal emails – the cumulative effect – so making a phone call might be the difference between working with someone or not.

I guess the point behind mentioning the cumulative effect is, very simply, don’t do what everyone else is doing, or – at the very least – do your research to check that you’re not doing what everyone else is doing. Otherwise, you run the risk of simply being ignored or dismissed.


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