Bull’s eye: Zeroing in on CREA’s target audience with our national ad campaigns

As the head of Union Creative, the advertising agency behind CREA’s recent national ad campaigns, I often get asked by REALTORS® about the thinking behind CREA’s ads. Where does the direction or strategy come from? Why do we use television and online versus using mobile or out-of-home (billboards, etc.) to reach our target audience?

It all comes down to a thorough understanding of the people we are trying to reach and their point-of-view (POV) on the world. We are targeting “fence sitters,” people who have not yet made the decision to use a REALTOR®, and we are trying to reaffirm to people who have used a REALTOR® that they made the right decision.

Today’s culture is one where the new generation of consumers have a do-it-yourself (DIY) philosophy. This concept is not a new one by any means. For years, people have been trying to save money and time by doing things themselves, from home renovations, to auto mechanics, to dangerous things like medical diagnoses. We need to put this into perspective: Buying or selling a home is the biggest transaction that most people make in their lives. It needs to be done right. We have found that by showing our target some of the complications and challenges of “going it alone,” they better understand that REALTORS® protect them from those pitfalls. This has the effect of reinforcing the value of REALTORS®, helps fence sitters choose professionals and validates those who always use a REALTOR®.

Understanding our target is also important when it comes to the media we choose. Television continues to prove to be the hero medium amongst our target. Not only does our target spend 19 hours per week watching television, studies have shown that Canadians believe advertising delivered by television is more powerful, effective and persuasive than advertising carried by any other medium. While REALTORS® may spend 90% of their time on mobile, we need to understand what our target is doing. How and when are they using media? It’s true that in the first few minutes of the waking hours, people grab their phones and check their social communications, just itching to know what happened in their social world after they went to sleep. But this may not be the right time to tell them to use a REALTOR®. This is why we also take into account context and our target’s frame of mind when we reach them with our message.

Over the past few years, we have done research and tweaked our campaigns to understand how to make what we do for consumers useful in their lives. This has been a binding force when we develop our strategy each year and continues to guide us as we work on the 2014 campaign, so stay tuned.

Subtej Nijjar is one of the founding partners of Union Creative, the advertising agency behind CREA’s recent national ad campaigns. Subtej (known as Sub) has over 14 years of strategic and digital planning experience working on global brands like IBM, Microsoft, IKEA, Unilever, Best Buy, Under Armour, and Domino’s, as well as Canadian clients in industries ranging from consumer packaged goods to not-for-profits. In 2005, Sub was named one of Marketing Magazine’s "Ones to Watch." While he was flattered by the honour, as the father of three young children, he has his own ones to watch and considers them his greatest achievement.

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