“In our factory we make lipstick, in our advertising we sell hope.” – Peter Nivio Zarlenga
How many of us can honestly say we’ve never been persuaded by the seductive power of advertising? Advertising is all around us, an inescapable part of the landscape we live in. Whether you pick up a newspaper or magazine, whether you watch television or browse social media, ads are there to entice you, tempt you, persuade you. As you drive to work, there are ads playing on your car radio and huge billboards surround you.
Many entrepreneurs, startups and small businesses that are already struggling for cash often think they can dispense with advertising. They’d rather use word-of-mouth publicity or hope that their Facebook or Instagram pages garner more likes. But will that help to grow your business in the long run? We all know the answer to that one! It’s a resounding no.
They may be irritating but they work for a reason
No doubt, advertising can be pesky. Don’t we all hate it when ads keep popping up while we’re watching a film on cable TV? Or those ads that pop up on social media, be it on Facebook or when you read an article online. However, somewhere, these ads leave a subliminal message. We keep seeing them and they register in our subconscious. Of course, if it’s an ad for something that directly appeals to you or a call-to-action ad for a sale of a brand you like, you may respond immediately.
Kids love ads
Look at kids. They are very influenced by ads. Whether it’s a gooey Domino’s Pizza ad or one for Maggie Noodles or silky smooth chocolate, kids are all eyes and ears where ads are concerned, especially on TV. Apart from the enticing visual appeal, catchy jingles and memorable taglines make the ads even more memorable.
It’s all about engaging
The trick is in creating ads or campaigns that grab attention. That are unforgettable. That appeal immediately to your target audience. When people see your ad, they should remember your brand, remember the message and want to engage with your brand. If it’s a call to action ad, they should either click on your website or rush to your store to buy whatever you are offering. That’s the magic of a good ad – it resonates with consumers; it creates a positive impression of your brand, it adds value to your brand and enhances brad awareness. And the icing on the cake – it helps to boost your sales as well.
As Guy Cookson, Marketing Director and Partner at Hotfoot Design, says, in the article ‘Why advertising works’, “A lot of advertising is intended to plant the seed of an idea, rather than lead us to take an immediate action.” Apart from sales and new launches, advertising works subtly – engaging consumers with positive associations over a period of time.
You need a professional ad agency
And this is why you need to plan your advertising and hire professionals to do it for you. With so many tools on the web, many of us think we are super original and can create fantastic ads by fiddling with fonts and visuals with the help of apps. But that is not good advertising. I’m not going to go into the fundas of advertising; that would take pages to enunciate. But good advertising is about understanding your market, having a well-defined target market, tailoring communication to appeal to that target market and creating a focused campaign that will appear in suitable media for your target audience. It also means spending time, effort and money on getting your brand right – the name, the colors, the brand architecture and an effective and memorable tagline. It means paying attention to your packaging, your communication, your presence. It means a sustained campaign to keep your brand alive in the memories of your target audience. It means research and knowing what your competition is doing. And for all this, you need a professional ad agency; they are the advertising experts.
Targeted ads across mediums is vital
Yes, as a cash-strapped entrepreneur, you could pinch pennies and create ads online and say to hell with any other medium. But if your ads are not communicating the correct message, or if they are shoddy, or if they are only a call for action, how can they be effective? Does the consumer perceive your brand as one that can be trusted? Does your ad even appeal to people? Is your ad or ads taking your brand forward? Are they memorable? Can people recall your brand name? Do they have positive associations with your brand? You would have wasted money on an arbitrary campaign that has possibly not even targeted your audience. And most people who saw your ad may not even remember it.
Ultimately, it’s about creating an ad campaign that is memorable. Good advertising will make you a brand, something to be remembered and help you to engage with customers long-term. It needs an arsenal of different strategies and techniques that are innovative, outstanding and honed to grab attention. In conclusion, I quote Nigel Hollis, Chief Global Analyst at Milward Brown, from his article ‘Why Good Advertising Works (Even When You Think It Doesn’t)’: “Successful advertising rarely succeeds through argument or calls to action. Instead, it creates positive memories and feelings that influence our behavior over time to encourage us to buy something at a later date.”