Magazine article ADWEEK

Communication Is Best Policy: New Study Shows Direct-Mail Pieces Can Sway Consumers' Attitudes

Magazine article ADWEEK

Communication Is Best Policy: New Study Shows Direct-Mail Pieces Can Sway Consumers' Attitudes

Article excerpt

NEW YORK From credit card companies increasing penalties for late payments to banks raising interest rates on credit cards, the recession's bad news knows no bounds. But how consumers learn about such developments can determine how they feel about the companies that dictate them.

Often, people learn about such changes via direct mail. But the good news is, bad news doesn't have to taint the messenger, according to a recent study from Omnicom Group's Siegel+Gale. Rather, institutions can actually gain the trust of consumers if they communicate clearly and offer a contextual expla nation for such moves, said Lee Rafkin, global director of simplification at strategic branding company Siegel+Gale in New York.

"What we found is, if you can go to the effort of actually explaining why you're in the situation and what you're going to do about it in a comprehensive and relevant way, people actually respect you for that," said Rafkin.

Siegel+Gale's The Simplicity Survey asked an online panel of 400 consumers to evaluate the effectiveness of four pieces of mail. One, from a credit card company, announced an increase in late fees on a charge card; another, from a bank, an interest-rate increase on a credit card; a third, a need for donations at a not-for-profit that cut its budget; and the fourth, the terms of a mortgage. …

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