DRIP -The Marketing Communication Model

Posted in Marketing & Strategy Articles, Total Reads: 12170 , Published on 09 February 2014

Its early morning, the morning air is filled by a song related to festival holi starts (festival of colors)…

All young boys wake up, take colors from drawers,   and make water balloons. A colorful scene of boys playing holi is seen everywhere. Each guy trenched in colorful water with a soul aim of coloring the other. Gladness, laughter, dancing, rejoicing and what not moments are depicted. An old man is seen silently enjoying the scene. The song continues… Each guy colors person or thing he finds in his way. But suddenly the music stops. The radio also gets trenched with the colorful water.  The celebrations are done now. The old man starts cleaning long white canes. It takes no time to realize that the young boys were blind, yes blind staying in an orphanage. The video ends with one of the boys asking the old man,   “Warden Uncle, How many colors are there?”   The old man answers, ‘’a lot’’. But he is not able to answer what colour is green! The audience watching this get into ultimate shock as this wasn’t expected.


This was an ad by Eye Bank Association of India. The message was simple supporting the cause of eye donation and more simply yet subtly communicated.  The impact? 69 people donated their eyes after viewing this   ad. This ad clears that communication is an integral part of marketing. So what it takes to create such a delivery that it arouses interest with action? In an arena full of competitiors, positive consumer action is hard to predict so we prepare a promotional program and communicate it to our target audience. The aim of such program can be one or multi-dimensional, whether it be simply informing about your product or reinforcement of your brand message or   building customer relationship or any combination of the three.  

One such marketing communication model was designed by Chris Fill called DRIP. DRIP is a way of modeling advertising messages and is used when setting broad communication goals. The elements of the DRIP model are Differentiate, Reinforce, Inform and Persuade.

We explain the model from consumer behavior perspective i.e. how the DRIP creates from unawareness of a product to liking, or how it converts preference to purchasing action and later on to post purchase. The aims of the respective elements along with suitable examples are explained as follows:

D- differentiate: Here we differentiate our product/services from others in the same domain. Though it is difficult but it can be done by understanding how your product is positioned in the market. The aim here is to develop liking for the product among our target group from the pool of other similar products. Commonly 7 P’s of marketing are used for this. For instance, in the comparative ad between Pepsodent and Colgate Pepsodent differentiates itself by claiming to have 130% germ killing power more than 100% that of Colgate. This differentiation on the grounds of effectiveness develops liking for Pepsodent.

Our next element is R i.e. reinforce. Here the aim can be as a reminder to consumers of the benefits of a product, or persuading them to start a new transaction. We can describe our brand as an experience wrapped in a promise. Reinforce the brand’s message. Reinforcement can be achieved via demonstrating experiences. Such demonstration should show why your product is superior or why is it different from others. There may be cognitive dissonance in the minds of consumers so we remind about our product. For instance, Amitabh Bachchan humbly narrates how family bond never breaks, reinforcing the brand message of Binani Cement “Sadiyon ke liye”. Here we achieve our aim and move on from liking to preference and conviction.

Our third element is I-inform. As simple as its name,   Inform about your offering or make the target group aware   about it. Communicate and educate about our offering to your prospects. This can include new features, benefits, availability, offers, value etc. This will educate the consumer about our product. Fogg perfume gives 800 sprays, this more usage feature is well communicated to the customers. Now your customer is well aware about your product and he has some knowledge about it. This will also generate Top-of-the-mind-awareness. Ask anyone who has seen this ad he will very well recall it’s only Fogg with 800 sprays feature.

Finally we come to last element of DRIP, P-persuade: It means induce your prospect to behave in a certain way. Persuade your audience to behave in a particular way, evoke certain attitude within customers. Here we’re building a relationship with our customers, getting into emotional connect with them. Nowadays it is so easy to get in touch with our customers. Talk about the product on   social media websites, engage with customers on social media, offer  for free trials to encourage positive customer behavior. Hippo via its  Save hunger campaign connects with its consumers on twitter. The consumer just need to tweet at hippo twitter handle @Myhippo and hippo is made available at nearby shops. This element evokes action-oriented behavior such as trial, purchase. Here we achieve the purchase behavior of consumer and that is what we expect from our communication model that is purchase of our product.

Now we have a case example as how Nokia applied the DRIP in promoting its new Lumia Smartphone. Lumia was differentiated from other smartphones with a zoomable Carl Zeiss camera lens, with 8.7 megapixels auto focus and digital zoom. Here the objective was to secure 15% of market by November 2013.To reinforce the brand message, Nokia partnered with Carl Zeiss for its camera lens. They explained about the camera’s features and promised ’blur-free photos every time’, reinforced by Pureview technology and the branded lens. For informing people about the brand, Nokia encouraged social conversations by giving away phones on two week trials. Those who blogged or tweeted about it were invited to take up the trial. The ultimate challenge for Nokia was persuasion and for consumers to switch phones. They started a Twitter campaign to engage and demonstrate the number of those switching. Set up a handle @Nokia_Connects and hash tag #SwitchToLumia. The theme was ‘life in colour’ with a twitter image from the colour run, but it’s weird as the girl is wearing a mask and can’t speak!

Overall we see that DRIP can be used as an alternative to AIDA. But overall we see that DRIP is a strategic model and a more tactical approach is needed for this.

The article has been authored by Divya Nagar & Amrit Jain, IIM Raipur


How to use DRIP model, Annmarie Hanlon http://www.smartinsights.com/traffic-building-strategy/offer-and-message-development/use-drip-model/, 4/11/2013

Drip Marketing: Is it effective, Laura Lake http://marketing.about.com/cs/directmarketing/a/dripmktg.htm, date unavailable

Eye Bank Association of India ad, Gagan Rewari http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MkSeiRapD-0,   9/7/2010


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