For better or worse, advertising is an integral part of global cultures. You can find it everywhere—in print and broadcast media, airport terminals and city buses, sporting events, clothing and every aisle of every retail store. It also is becoming ubiquitous on the Internet, with advertisers scrambling to secure real-estate for banner ads on popular websites. Regardless of where you find it, advertising is a provocative medium with the power to make a product, service or company highly visible and appealing to consumers and businesses in today’s competitive commercial landscape.
Advertising’s core objective is to pique purchasing
interest by enabling prospects to identify strongly with a need, desire, idea
or image—advertising communicates a promise that a product or service
will fulfill. For example, Nike’s “Just Do It” campaign
implied that their sports gear will help individuals achieve their full
potential. In tandem, advertising can promote corporate image, educate buyers
on product benefits, differentiate offerings from competition and, ultimately,
boost profit potential through exposure of offerings via media to target
audiences. At its best, advertising is a powerful motivator to potential
buyers. For instance, a finely tuned print ad for a new sports car can appeal
to a consumer’s self-image. At its worst, advertising can be a turn-off
(e.g., the barrage of long-distance phone company ads on television).
For every company, advertising should be part of an overall
corporate marketing strategy that includes public relations (PR), a discipline focused on creating a favorable public image of a business entity. While complementary,advertising and PR are not interchangeable. Advertising uses corporate image for promoting goods and services via mass and niche media. PR uses image to manage long-term relationships with an entity’s stakeholders including customers, the media, shareholders, partners and the public. Both advertising and PR are covered in a media plan, which outlines communications goals, target audiences, key messages and media outlets, while detailing deliverables such as ad campaign placement, news release schedules and media events.
To expand their advertising’s reach, many companies
are employing alternatives to traditional print, radio and television media
including local sports team and event sponsorships, live demos of products and
services, e-mail campaigns, web banners and pop-up windows, consumer surveys,
wearable ads (e.g., clothing with logos, web addresses or product images), point-of-purchase displays and even sky advertising using blimps and airplanes. The alternatives are limited only by a company’s imagination and budget.
Because managing the strategy, creative and media placement
plans for ad campaigns is time-intensive, outsourcing to a reputable ad agency can
be the right decision. Agencies have rich experience, offer objectivity and are
attuned to current advertising trends including what is working for specific
industries and companies. Agencies have talented professionals such as art
directors, writers, photographers and media buyers, enabling them to pull
together the disparate components of a new ad campaign quickly. They also have strong media ties including relationships with ad reps for leading trade and consumer media and even broadcast producers in specialized areas such as home products or technology. Moreover, agencies have the time and resources to foster these relationships while managing hectic production schedules.
So, if you want to launch your first ad campaign or take
your corporate advertising in bold, new directions, apply these suggestions to
yield big business rewards.