The Secret to Good Advertising

The Goal of Advertising

As consumers, we’ve developed something of a resistance to advertising. There’s so much of it out there that we tune a lot of it out. For brands, this has resulted in more creative and outrageous attempts to break into consumer consciousness that often overlook the main goals of quality advertising. In a perfect brand world, a consumer should walk away from exposure to one of their ads being able to answer the following three questions.

  1. What’s the Brand?
  2. What’s the Message?
  3. Why should I care?

Since achieving this result is often difficult, it’s important to be disciplined in your advertising and creative process to ensure your advertising dollars are spent efficiently and effectively. Here are a few of the fundamentals we employ to make sure our clients get the most out of their advertising campaigns.

Advertising Diagram

Be Brand Memorable

It doesn’t matter how cute or funny your ad is if they can’t remember your brand or your message. Your advertising is there to inform consumers about your brand. Entertainment, while sometimes helpful, should be secondary. Don’t get too caught up in having the funniest and most creative ad. If consumers take nothing from your ad other than a strong and generally favorable impression of your brand then you’ve achieved some degree of success.

Emphasize Your Differences

People don’t buy brands because they’re like other brands. They buy brands for their perceived differences or unique qualities. Don’t waste your time or money on listing all the attributes of your brand. Instead, focus on the 2-3 key attributes that make your brand unique and attractive to your target audience.

Say What You Mean

In most cases, the art of subtlety is lost in the advertising realm. Consumers aren’t likely to pay enough attention to pick up on vague points. If you want your message understood, be direct and specific in how you communicate it. We’re not saying you can’t be creative because creativity can be useful and appealing. We are saying you shouldn’t sacrifice clarity for creativity, though.

But Don’t Try to Say too MuchBrand Advertising

Consumers rarely read or listen to an ad in its entirety. You have about 3-5 seconds to catch their attention and maybe 10-15 seconds more once you get it. Regardless of the medium, keep your words to a minimum and your message clear and concise. Advertising isn’t a conversation. It’s the one-sided dissemination of information. If you catch their attention early you might just keep it for a little while.

Be Relevant

Even if they remember your brand and your message, they aren’t going to act on it unless you make it relevant to them. Effective advertising will help them connect to your brand and give them a reason to want it. Your advertising message should focus heavily on those attributes that are going to appeal to your targeted consumers.

Make Your Ads Sell

Whether print, TV or online, the ad isn’t doing much good for the company or brand if it doesn’t drive a desired behavior. Usually that desired behavior is to buy your products or services. While we recognize the value of advertising in building brand awareness, this shouldn’t overshadow the primary goal of selling more products and services. If your ads don’t sell, get some new ads.

The Most Important Goal of Advertising

At the end of the day, all the words and creativity and pretty pictures don’t mean a thing if all you get out of it are some advertising awards. The only advertising awards you should be concerned about winning are the ones that show up in your company financial statement. They’re called profits.

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Article written by John Howard

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John is the founder and President of Frontera Marketing Group. A graduate of the University of Iowa, John had more than 20 years of professional experience in Sales and Marketing prior to founding FMG. His corporate background included a number of companies, industries and roles including National Account Manager, Product Manager, Brand Manager, Director of Trade Marketing, Director of Marketing and Vice-President of Marketing.

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