Great advertising that drives results. It’s what every organization seeks when investing in a campaign. On paper, it’s a straightforward expectation. In practice, however, success is often more difficult to achieve. Even the best-laid strategy, messaging, creative and media mix can be impacted by other factors that make successful advertising hard to come by. Here are 10 of the most common reasons.
10. Not understanding the health of your brand
Around here, we have a saying: “If you fix the brand, the advertising becomes the easy part.” Fixing the brand means creating something that people want, delivering a great customer experience, maintaining an engaged workforce, and a host of other things. Remember, your real brand is what people say about you, not what you say about you. Fix the brand first. Tell people second.
9. Lack of financial commitment
The smartest, most on-target advertising can’t overcome a lack of budget to get the job done. Don’t ask your agency to believe in your product more than you do by expecting them to somehow make up a gap in resources.
8. Abandoning a campaign before its time
Advertisers get tired of campaigns before customers do and often change directions just as the campaign begins to develop some equity.
7. Managing by committee
Producing great advertising requires insight, understanding, courage, and sometimes even a little risk taking. Committees are where great ideas go to die. If you want something great, set aside the desire to achieve consensus and involve as few people as possible in setting the course to greatness.
6. Safe ground vs. breaking ground
Why does so much advertising look the same? Because going against the grain can feel risky. When you do and say what others do and say, it feels safe and safe feels good. The problem is that safe advertising is unmemorable and invisible. To paraphrase David Ogilvy: “If someone in the room isn’t nervous about running the ad, the ad probably isn’t worth running.”
5. Not letting your dog hunt
A truly great client of ours used to say, “If you have a hunting dog, you have to let the dog do the hunting or else get another a dog.” The same is true for your ad agency. You either trust them to do the job, or you get someone you do trust.
4. Ignoring your customers
Many a campaign has been designed around what the advertiser wants to say, not what customers need to hear.
3. Not demanding uniqueness
If you can take a competitor’s logo and place it on your ad without changing the copy, get another ad.
2. No voice
If you take samples of all your work and lay them out on a table, do they look and sound like one brand, or is it just a bunch of noise with no clear voice? If you haven’t performed this exercise, you should. Take the last year of your ads and tape them to a wall. What do you see?
1. Using advertising to fix a brand problem
Just in case you didn’t take No. 10 to heart, here it is again: Make sure your brand promise centers around something that people want. Make sure you are delivering on that promise every single minute of every single day. Otherwise, advertising is the last thing you should do. Always fix the brand first.
Do you have others to add to this list? If so, we’d love to hear more about them and discuss ways to help. Feel free to connect with us.