Too often companies are weary of being different and yet when seeking marketing advice, the first request managers make is to set the company apart from the competition.
Leaders must decide what they want. Being unique often means taking a risk in advertising, whereas being safe may mean simply redundantly promoting a business through traditional branding. I endorse taking a chance, but make sure that chance is well researched.
Recently, listening to the radio I heard an ad for a church attempting to connect with young audiences in need of entertainment-styled sermons, but it failed miserably to connect when it made a statement about other churches essentially feeling like a loss of an hour of your life. The goal was to entice audiences looking for more fun experiences at church, but it essentially reiterated to first-time believers that church may not be so entertaining.
When taking a chance on advertising, really make sure the audience is identified and the context of the text, presentation or production of the ad connects with that audience on their terms, not the business’s terms.
A great example of cutting edge advertisements can be found during Super Bowl commercial breaks, but outside of these special promotions, local companies are missing opportunities to take a chance.
How to Take an Advertising Chance
Avoid using negative terms when possible when writing a radio or television ad specifically. In print, advertising the ad may ask a question to focus the person on his or her need, but overall advertising should discuss what it offers not what it avoids.
Use a focus group to review ads before launching them to ensure they will connect and produce high return on investment (ROI).
Cutting edge advertising means creating a funny ad, a controversial message or tapping into a unique business characteristic and dramatizing it. Examples of this can be found with the Surfing Plumber in Sarasota which focuses on the positive fun water can bring to promote the unfortunate leaks consumers may experience in their homes and combines the two into a successful, fun, colorful ad campaign.
Controversy and humor can be used to create real buzz about a company and its advertising, but executives have to be willing to take the risk. Safe advertising does not always produce the desired ROI, so start thinking about creating comedy driven or controversial style advertising if the industry your business is in caters to this possibility.
Be on the cutting edge, not behind it. Next month’s column will explain how to create buzz with and about a company through advertising.
Camden Smith, owner of DREAMFly Marketing LLC, has more than eight years expertise in branding and marketing strategy and 13 years in public relations. Formerly a WINK-TV reporter, Smith is an award-winning PR strategist and lives in Naples with her husband. Visit Smith at dreamflymarketing.com