Raising questions that need an answer
There are some questions that you may never have thought about and, yet, once you hear them, you wonder how it is that you never came across that question before and, worse, that you do not know the answer. For example, have you any idea how many presidents of the US were bachelors? The same question for British prime ministers: how many PM bachelors?
Now that I have asked the question, does it not titillate you? Stir your interest?
If I were not to give you the answer, would you just read on, without further obsession, or click out of this post and move along happily? Or do you feel an urge to go directly to Google and try to find the answer? [Btw, it is pretty much immediately available if you use the right search terms, but I will drop the answers at the bottom of the post!]
Seriously, would it not be highly frustrating?
Transparency: Answering questions
So, why is it that brands create questions to which they do not bother to provide an answer? For example, a brand will write a high-fangled name of an ingredient, but will not explain clearly what it is or from where it comes. They might advertise the merits of the product, but forget to identify properly where it can be found (i.e. Google Maps). Too many brands — especially the ones that like to believe that mystery is “value” — keep the easy answers hidden. Brands are designed to create desire, a desire to buy and to belong (to the community). The challenge is that they often make it too hard to find out how, where or why!
For me, creating intrigue and mystery should not be confused with providing transparent answers to normal questions. At best, the “hidden” answers might be part of an intrigue. But, mostly, it is probably oversight or, worse, intentional blurring. If brands don’t supply easy answers, Google or some other source will.
FAQ – Frequently Antagonistic Queries
In a digital world, with the effectiveness of digital solutions and search engines to get the answer, digital marketers need to be concerned with the questions that consumers are asking and find ways to answer them in clear, effective ways. The FAQ sections that are seemingly devoid of Frequent and Answers are a hazard to their health.
Now to answer the two questions posed above:
: Of the 44 men that have been US President, James Buchanan was the only bachelor US President (1857-1861). Per good old Wikipedia, Buchanan is also the only president from Pennsylvania (my “home” state), the only president who remained a lifelong bachelor and the last to be born in the 18th century. Looking at the facts and figures, it is sad to note that 4 out of 44 have been assassinated in office; two others were shot, but not killed. Not including the latest shots at the White House, there have been 20 assassination attempts on sitting, elect or past Presidents.
UK: There have been to-date 52 British Prime Ministers. The first PM was Sir Robert Walpole (the name of my house at Eton), back in 1721. Of the 52, 44 had spouses. Four were bachelor PMs (the last one was Edward Heath) and 4 were widowed, including Walpole. There were 7 PMs who died in office; but only one, Spencer Perceval, was ever assassinated.