Have you ever seen a compelling advertisement, full of striking images, memorable characters or humor but you could not remember the brand? You might have liked the ad, thought it was fresh and interesting, but when you tried to remember the brand it promoted, your mind went blank. Chances are the ad lacked strong brand connection. Simply put, viewers failed to link the ad to the brand. This means that the client is spending money but not getting the credit or sales they expect. In fact, Communicus, a research company that has evaluated over $30 billion in advertising, reviewed their database, which indicated that weak brand connection accounts for a significant proportion of wasted advertising dollars. The following five marketing tips can be utilized to strengthen branding when advertising to consumers or businesses.
1. Integrate the brand into the advertising story
One of the main reasons for poor branding is a lack of connection between the brand and the story being told. This is not surprising, as advertisers often focus on originality, but it is not always the best story to highlight the brand. As you view a proposed ad for your brand, ask yourself whether or not your brand is the only brand that could tell that particular story. Are you doing enough to deliver on what makes your brand unique?
Ensure that the brand or product is an integral part of the story, even the hero.
2. Use your assets
Brand assets are elements that make the brand recognizable and distinct. A brand asset might be a character (Pillsbury dough boy), place (Corona’s beach), symbol (Nike swoosh), product form, sound, or other identification. Color represents a commonly used asset that can be useful if unique to the category. For example, T-Mobile has utilized hot pink in all touch points from advertising to the lights in their stores at night. It is important to understand the assets for both your brand and the competitive set to determine what sets you apart and what might overlap with a competitor.
3. Let your personality shine
Personality affords a great way for a brand to further differentiate itself in the marketplace and set a tone in advertising. Take the car industry, for example. In a typical day, you might see several marketing materials for rugged and tough cars or elegant and classy cars. It is often hard to tell different ads apart, but the Subaru Love campaign takes a different path. These ads are almost instantly recognizable, as they project a warm, honest, loving, and real, down-to-earth personality that is unique in the industry.
4. Keep it simple
Consumers do not want to work hard or long to figure out what you want to tell them. In fact, a study of Canadian media consumption by Microsoft found that people tend to lose concentration after eight seconds, down from twelve seconds in 2000. Thus, it is critical for brands to get to the point in a clear and simple way. If you try to sell all of your benefits at once, the consumer tends to get overwhelmed and may even ignore the message. Advertising needs to convey one clear idea that is unique and true to the brand.
5. Consistency, consistency, consistency
This is one of the hardest tasks for marketers, who are tempted to start over with a new campaign every year or two. However, constant change in the brand image makes it much harder for the potential consumer to link with your product or service and what makes it different from the competition. While it is important to keep a campaign fresh, a campaign that builds over years accrues brand capital. Consistency is also critical within a campaign. A coherent strategy across media reinforces your message with consumers. In order for these tips to be effective, it is important to first ensure you know what the brand stands for, as it is much easier for people to remember a brand if the message connects with how they think about it. Knowing what your target thinks about the category and what makes your brand unique will provide focus going into campaign development and set the foundation for strong branding.
In today’s world, marketers are expected to prove the impact of their marketing activities and minimize the wasted dollars. This means marketing that not only breaks through the clutter but does so with your brand name attached.