Advertising is very hard. In fact, it’s likely the most complex part of marketing, because it’s where everything comes together–your consumer, you brand strategy, your positioning and every opinion in your entire company. It’s hard for a Brand Leader to manage at times and it can be hard to find that missing ad you’ve been looking for. If you want to see a company struggling on Advertising, look at Wendy’s and the lack of consistency they’ve had since Dave Thomas.
What makes some Brand Leaders GOOD at Advertising? I love asking this question and I never really get great answers. Usually people think “they are creative people” or “they listen well” or “they have lots of advertising experience in their background”. All a little true, but my simple answer might be a little complex: Simple put, they are able to consistently get good advertising on the air, and keep bad advertising off the air. But this is actually a very complicated answer. From my experience, I’ve rarely met an easy process for getting to great work. All the great ads ad had a long list of doubters, detractors and obstacles to maneuver or overcome. There is always a near breaking point. You should almost be scared when it goes too easily. Must mean it’s too safe.
But from what I see, the biggest reason in getting great Advertising starts with how good the Brand Leader is. An OK agency can do great work on a great client. But a great agency will fail with a bad client. Being good at Advertising takes time, practice, feedback and a willingness to adjust.
The Real Question to be Asking yourself: If you knew that being a better client got you better advertising, would you actually be able to show up better? The presentation below outlines how to be better at advertising, looking at the skills, behaviors and experiences Brand Leaders need. As a starting point here are the 10 elements you need to achieve better advertising:
The 10 things GREAT ADVERTISING should do
- Set Yourself Apart. Beloved Brands must be different, better, cheaper or not around very long. The story telling of the brand’s promise should help to separate the brand from the clutter of our minds. That starts with creative that feels different and makes the brand seem different.
- Focused! A focused target, a focused message, a focused strategy against a focused communication idea and a focused media.
- Keep the Idea and Communication very simple. Communication is not what is said, but what is heard. Too many people try to shout as many messages as they can in one ad. What the consumer hears: a confusing mess or nothing really. My challenge to you is to stand up on a chair and yell your main message as though you are standing on top of a mountain. If you can’t YELL it out in one breath, then your idea is too complex. The Volvo Brand Manager gets to yell “Safety” in one clean simple breath. Can you do that?
- Have a Good Selling Idea. While big ideas break through, they also help you to be consistent, because you have to align your thinking to the Big Idea. You’ll see consistency over time, across mediums–paid, earned, social and search, throughout the entire brand line up of sub brands. Consumers will start to connect to the big idea
- Drive Engagement: Too many Brand Leaders forget to engage the consumer. They get so fixated on saying their 7 messages that they figure the ability capture attention is just advertising fluff. But it all starts with Attention. The consumer sees 5,000 ads a day and will likely only engage in a handful. If you don’t capture their attention, no one will remember the brand name, your main message or any other reason to believe you might have.
- Let the Visuals do the talking. With so many ads, you need to have some visual that can capture the attention, link to your brand and communicate your message. The ‘see-say’ of advertising helps the consumers brain to engage, follow along and remember. As kids, we always love the pictures. We still do.
- Sell the solution, not the product. People use brands to solve problems in their lives. They’d prefer not to have that problem than have to buy your brand. No one has ever wanted a quarter-inch drill, they just need a quarter-inch hole.
- Be Relevant with the Consumer. A beloved brand finds a way to matter to those who really care. Not only in the right brand promise but in the right communication of that promise. You can’t sell carpet cleaning to someone who just has hard wood floors.
- Have the Ads based on a consumer Insight. Insights are not facts about your brand. That’s just you talking AT the consumer. Insights allow you to connect and turn the ad into a conversation. Insights are something the consumer already knows but they didn’t realize that everyone felt that way. Insights enable consumers to see themselves in the situation and once you do that, the consumers might then figure the brand must be for them.
- Tell the story behind the brand. Talk about your brand’s purpose. Why did you start this brand? What do you hope that the brand really does to help people? Why do you get up in the morning. Remember: people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.
Think of Advertising as the Creative expression of your brand strategy.
While it needs to accomplish a strategic task, it also projects an image of what your brand is about. Good advertising starts with a big idea—big enough to stand over time, giving the consumer a consistent touch point with the brand. The idea may need to have room for an array of support messages that build the one constant vision and positioning for the brand.
Always remember there is truth in advertising! In fact, un-true advertising is rejected by consumers—because the consumer sees no consistency with their perception of the brand. Usually the truth is the obvious—we just don’t see it or want to deny it (e.g. Listerine is strong). Good advertising is a balance between the rational truth (task benefit oriented) and emotional truth (connection/solution focus). Un-True is not just about the facts, but positioning, tone and emotions.
People remember stories that connect with them. Whether you`re showcasing the brand`s benefits, the purpose behind the brand or the story of the brand, the best way is to frame it within a creative story.
Brand Leaders need a tool to go on How to Judge Creative.
A very simple process is the ABCS of Advertising: Attention, Branding, Communication and Stickiness. This ABC’S method will work across any medium whether it’s TV, PR, digital or social.
- Attention: You have to get noticed in a crowded world of advertising. Consumers see 6000 ads per day, in every part of their lives. If your brand doesn’t draw attention naturally, then you’ll have to force it into the limelight.
- Branding: Ads that tell the story of the relationship between the consumer and the brand will link best. Even more powerful are ads that are from the consumers view of the brand. It’s not how much branding there is, but how close the brand fits to the climax of the ad.
- Communication: Tapping into the truths of the consumer and the brand, helps you to tell the brand’s life story. Keep your story easy to understand. Communication is not just about what you say, but how you say it.
- Stickiness: Sticky ads help to build a consistent brand/consumer experience over time. In the end, brands are really about “consistency” of the promise you want to own. Brands have exist in the minds of the consumer.
Brand Leaders need to be strong at every stage along the way in the Advertising Process
As you go through this process here are 10 challenges you might not always do, but if you’re struggling with your advertising, I think you should.
- Do you develop a testable Brand Concept with with rational and emotional benefits, plus support points that you know are actually motivating?
- How tight is your Brief? Do you narrow the Target with engaging insights? Do you focus on the desired consumer response before deciding what your brand should say? Do you focus on One Benefit and OneMessage?
- Do you meet creative team before the first creative meeting to connect, align them with your vision and inspire them to push for great work?
- Do you hold Tissue Sessions to narrow solutions before going to scripts?
- At creative meetings, do you stay big picture, avoid getting into details? When giving direction, do you avoid giving your own solutions and create a “new box” for the creative team to figure out the solutions?
- Do you take creative risks, and willing to be different to stand out?
- Do you manage your boss at every stage? Do you sell them, on your vision what you want? Are you willing to fight for great work?
- Are you one of your Agency’s favorite clients? Do they “want to” or do they “have to” work on your business?
Great Advertising starts with a Great Brand Leader with a Great Strategy and a willingness to take risks
At Beloved Brands, we run a Brand Leadership Center to train marketers in all aspects of marketing from strategic thinking, analysis, writing brand plans, creative briefs and reports, judging advertising and media. To read more on HOW TO BE BETTER AT ADVERTISING, click on the powerpoint presentation below:
At Beloved Brands, we make Brands better and we make Brand Leaders better.™
We offer Brand Coaching, where we promise to make your Brand better by listening to the issues, providing advice that challenges you, and coaching you along a strategic pathway to reaching your Brand’s full potential. For our Brand Leader Training, we promise to make your team of Brand Leaders better, by teaching sound marketing fundamentals and challenging to push for greatness so that they can unleash their full potential. Feel free to add me on Linked In, or follow me on Twitter at @belovedbrands If you need to contact me, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone me at 416 885 3911