Cognitive Strategies

What is Cognitive Strategy?
- A cognitive message strategy is the presentation of rational arguments or pieces of information to the customer or consumers. When a cognitive message strategy is used, the advertisement's key message is about the product's attributes or benefits of the product or service that is being advertised.

What is the goal of a cognitive message strategy approach?
- The goal of the cognitive message strategy approach is to design an ad that will have an impact on a person's beliefs and/or knowledge structure. This can be accomplished by suggesting any one of a number of product benefits. Food for example can be described as healthful, pleasent tasting, or low calorie. Another example could be a tool of some sort, the particular tool can be described as being durable, convenient, or easy to use. Therefore the main goal is to make these benefits clear to the consumer. There are five major forms of cognitive strategies: Generic messages, preemptive messages unique selling proposition, hyperbole, and comparative advertisements.

How do you decide which cognitive strategy is best for your product or company?
- When deciding on which strategy to pursue for advertising your product, service, or company, you must first decide what your goals are. Are you a new company trying to get your name out there? Are you the industry leader, and just want to reveal a new product? or do you believe that you have a superior product and you want to compare it to other similar product? These are just a few of the many questions that may arise when deciding which cognitive strategy to use.

Generic Messages
- Generic messages are direct promotionsof product attributes or benefits without any claim of superiority, this type of strategy works best for a firm that is clearly the brand leaderand is the dominent company in the industry. The goal of the generic message is to make the brand synonymous with the product category. Generic message strategies can also be used to create brand awareness, the goal of the advertiser may be to develop a cognitive linkage between a specific brand name and a product category. The ad may contain very little information about the product's attributes. The intent of the ad is simply to put the brand name in a person's cognitive memory and cognitive map.

Preemptive Messages
- Preemptive messages are those that claim superiority based on a product's specific attribute or benefit. The idea is to prevent the competitinon from making the same or a similar statement. The key to effectively using a premeptive strategy is to be the first company to state the advantage. This keeps the competitors from saying the same thing. Those companies that do convey the same or a similar message and viewed as "me-too" brands or copycats.

Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
- A unique selling proposition is an explicit, testable claim of uniqueness or superiority that can be supported or substantiated in some manner. The purpose of this message is to put emphasis on a unique product feature or benefit.

- The hyperbole approach makes an untestable claim based on some attribute or benefit. These claims do not have to be substantiated, which makes this cognitive strategy quite popular.

Comparative Advertisement
- The final cognitive message strategy is a comparative advertisement. When an advertiser directly or indirectly compares a good or service to the competion, it is the comparative method. The advertiser may or may not mention the competitor by name. Sometimes, an advertiser simply presents a "make-believe" competitor, giving it a name like brand X. This approach , however, is not as effective as using the competitor's name. Company leaders must be sure any claim concerning the competitor can be clearly substantiated to avoid any legal action by the competitor.
- The major advantage of comparative ads is that they often capture the consumer's attention. When comparisons are made both brand awareness and message awareness increase.
- The negative side of comparitive ads is in the believability and attitudes of the consumer. Mainly because they view the information as being exaggerated and believe that the information about the comparison brand if most likely misstated or understated in order to make themselves appear superior.

All five of these cognitive message strategies are based on some type of rational logic. The message is designed to make sure that consumers pay attention to the ad and take the time to cognitively process the information. The intention is to first, present the consumers with rational information about the good, service, or company and then to help them develop positive feelings about that same product or company.

Now That you know a little bit about each of the five cognitive strategies, you should be better prepared, and have an idea of what type of advertisement you want for your product, service, or company, when you meet with your advertising agent.