Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 9/2/2019 (800 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
The Super Bowl is one of the biggest sporting events in the world, and last Sunday’s 53rd had more than 100 million viewers, the lowest in a decade. It cost US$5.3 million for just 30 seconds of airtime, and this amount does not include the creative and production costs, or the total time and resource investment to create the concept.
How many Super Bowl ads can you remember from last week? More importantly, how many of the products or services can you link to these ads?
Everyone knows what they like and dislike about advertising on a personal level. How do you create advertising that will resonate with customers? As Roy H. Williams, the Wizard of Ads, has stated for years, "Win the heart and the mind will follow."
While this sounds easy, it is incredibly difficult to say something about your product or service without sounding self-serving, and while saying it in a manner that will tickle customer emotions to plant a message for future action. Advertising can help create demand for a product or service because it scratches the need you have somewhere inside your mind. Advertising can also help generate awareness for a new product that may also solve a problem a customer — person or business — has, but just doesn’t know it yet.
In preparing your internal advertising team or your advertising agency to create an ad, do you start with a creative brief? This tool defines the message you want to achieve, describes your target audience, identifies the specific times and on what platforms the ad will run and specifies certain word or image inclusions and exclusions. You should also confirm the words or phrases that define what you stand for or stand against. And most importantly, does the message reinforce what your organization believes in, and what you demonstrate consistently in your customer interactions?
Beyond these important factors, in order to fully develop your message, you should dig deeper to confirm the problem your product or service is solving for your customer. You can also expand this view to consider what aspiration you are providing to your customers. How do you know this to be true? Leadership in organizations may think they know what their customers want — which of course is their product or service. This mindset can sometimes blind you to the reality, therefore you should use objective customer research coupled with front-line employee insights to help confirm how your customers currently benefit from your solutions. This deeper investigation can help answer the question of why your product or service is different, and why you are selected over your competitors.
Does your ad message talk about "your great customer service" or the fact "you are a family business?" Why do you feel the need to talk about something everyone claims? The message is more effective if it’s focused on your customer — not you — and how you will help them. Many advertisers fail to understand the actual message will be tuned out if you sound like your competitors. This is a common problem because companies think they need to sound like everyone else in their category due to the fear of missing out. Great advertising is different and must stick like Velcro in people’s minds. If your customer does not need it right now, they won’t buy it. However, if all other aspects of your product or service offering are consistently strong, then the right message will establish your solution front and centre for action when the customer’s need arises.
If you are using a mass medium, do you write your ad as if you were having a one-on-one conversation with your customer? Consider people most often consume mass-media messages in a one-on-one manner by listening to, watching or reading the message by themselves. What is the tone used to speak to your customer? David Ogilvy, the father of advertising, said, "The consumer is not a moron, she is your wife."
While you may not be able to buy a Super Bowl spot, you can create an advertisement people will remember long after the big game. And when the cash register rings, you’ll know your advertising worked.
Tim’s bits: Award-winning advertising is very hard to achieve. Award-winning advertising that helps sell your product or service is even harder to achieve.
Understanding how your product or service helps your customers is a critical first step before you start producing your ad. Do you properly position your product or service with an emotional response to the demand that exists within your customers and potential customers? And do you trust your internal creative team or agency to create something you cannot?
Let the professionals do their job by providing the correct guidance.
Tim Kist, CMC, a certified management consultant by law, works with organizations to improve their overall performance by being be truly customer-focused.