• Monday, April 22, 2024
businessday logo


Leveraging effective advertising for brand building

Leveraging effective advertising for brand building

Effective advertising reaches potential customers and informs them of your products or services. Ideally, advertising should capture the prospective customer’s attention and entice them to use your product. Regardless of the method, your advertising should be clear and consistently reflect the unique positioning statement of your business.

Remember that advertising is communication that can be intended to inform, educate, persuade and remind individuals of your product or business.

Advertising must work with other marketing tools and business elements to be successful. Advertising must be interruptive — that is, it should make you stop thumbing through the newspaper or thinking about your day long enough to read or hear the ad. To work, advertising must also be credible, unique and memorable. Like all effective marketing support, it must be built upon a solid positioning strategy. Finally, for any advertising campaign, enough money must be spent to provide a media schedule for ad frequency, the most important element for ad memorability.

The most effective advertising is still word-of-mouth

Word-of-mouth advertising is considered the most effective form of advertising. Satisfied customers are your best advertisements. Word-of-mouth advertising passes product information to many other potential buyers (and may even include promotional trial demonstrations and free sampling), at little or no cost to the business. Whenever possible, your business should build an advertising programme that results in word-of-mouth advertising.

Guidelines for successful advertising campaigns

i. Make sure your ads are “on strategy” with your business positioning. A good positioning strategy ensures the identification of the correct target audience for your advertising, along with a listing of meaningful features and benefits. It can provide reasons why the product is superior and unique, along with an advertising “personality”.

ii. Go to where your customers are. Research the best advertising platforms to reach your target customer. For example, if your consumers are younger then mobile or social media advertising platforms might be a good fit. Whichever platform you choose – especially traditional ones like print, broadcast, and radio – request a media kit. This will include information about the outlet’s audience demographics.

iii. Communicate a simple, single message. People have trouble remembering someone’s name, let alone a complicated ad message. Use the “KISS” principle for ad messages: “Keep It Simple, Stupid”. For online and print ads, the simpler the headline, the better. And every other ad element should support the headline message, whether that message is “price”, “selection”, “quality”, or any other single-minded concept.

iv. Stick with a likeable style. Ads have personality and style. Find a likeable style and personality and stay with it for at least a year or more. Changing ad styles and personality too often will confuse potential buyers. It also fights against memorability.

v. Be credible. If you say your quality or value is the “best” and it is clearly not, advertising will speed your demise, not increase your business. Identifying and roasting the competition should also be avoided. It is potentially confusing and distracting and may backfire on you by making buyers more loyal to competitive products, not less.

vi. Ask for the sale. Invite buyers to come to your store, visit you online, send for more information, or call for information and orders in the ad. Provide easily visible information in the ad for potential customers to buy including website URL, location, telephone number, store hours, payment styles and where possible, charge cards accepted.

vii. Make sure the ad is competitive. Do your homework. Examine competitive ads where you are planning to advertise. Try to make your ad stand out from competitive ads. You can use personal judgment, ad test exposures to a small group of target buyers (i.e., qualitative research), or more expensive, sophisticated quantitative test methods. Compare ads for uniqueness, memorability, credibility, and incentive to purchase.

viii. Make sure the ad looks professional. If you have the time and talent, stock images, templates, and image editing apps and software can help you create professional-looking ads and posts. Consider obtaining writing, artistic, and graphics help from local agencies or art studios that have experienced professionals on staff with advanced graphics and video capabilities in-house. They may save you time and money in the long run, with better results. You can leverage design tools such as Canva or Adobe Express to create different types of marketing collateral, though you may want to employ a professional for large campaigns. Other electronic ads (e.g., TV, podcast, radio) and outdoor ads are usually best left to professionals to write, produce, and buy for a fee or percentage of media money spent (i.e., generally 15 percent of gross media spending).

Last line

Whatever advertising medium you select, make sure your message is ethical and truthful. There are stringent laws regarding deceptive practices and false advertising. Stay truthful