Great advertising needs to: No. 1, sell your company’s point of differentiation and No. 2, be memorable. Balance these, and you’re gold. It’s easier said than done.
Mastering the art and science of advertising begins with company brand, your unique evidence of distinction, and ends with creative copywriting and design.
It also should align with marketing objectives — reaching the right audience with the right message at the right time. The goal is to stand out from the competition and increase brand recognition and sales.
Sell your differences
Before you begin advertising your product or service, thoroughly understand your brand and competitive advantage. Otherwise, you run the risk of looking and sounding like your competitors.
Advertising is expensive; so don’t throw money at it if you haven’t established a clear, distinct brand. Ask:
- How is your company different?
- Are your products or services better? How? Why?
- Is your company more innovative? How? Why?
- Do you have a proprietary process?
- If your company didn’t exist, how would the market be impacted?
When answering “how,” you’re selling the benefits, advantages and features — the rational explanation of why you’re better.
An example of a “how” message for TOMS Shoes might be: “We offer an assortment of comfortable shoes for men, women and children that are wearable from day to night. For every pair of shoes purchased, TOMS gives a pair of new shoes to a child in need.”
When answering “why,” you’re selling the purpose, mission and vision — the emotional explanation of why your business matters. This is what compels brand loyalty, as it attracts customers who share the same beliefs and values.
A “why” message for TOMS might say: “We’re in business to help improve lives. Many children don’t have adequate shoes to protect their feet. With every purchase, not only will you enjoy a comfortable pair of shoes you can wear all day long, but TOMS also gives a new pair of shoes to a child in need. One for One.®”
From a potential customer’s perspective, is your product or service similar to your competitors? Do you follow a similar business model? If so, showcase what you do differently.
That’s where memorable advertising comes into play. It compels an emotional response like humor, empathy, fear, guilt, affection or patriotism.
Some good examples are GEICO’s funny gecko and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animal’s sad images of neglected, abused animals with Sarah McLachlan’s song in the background. GEICO raised the bar for insurance advertising, and the ASPCA commercials have raised $30 million and been referenced in TV shows and movies. A memorable ad often becomes a part of pop culture. Can you hear me now?
The goal is for people to not only remember your ad, but also remember your company. Have you ever talked about a hilarious commercial but forgot what it was promoting?
When you link your company brand and promote your products or services with a message and imagery that differentiates you — and people remember you — you’ve perfected the art of advertising.