The Ad Philosophy

The things I’ve learned in the magical realm of advertising…

1. Niche-marketing

We tend to live in a very “me” focused society fueled by the online world, where building personal brands with social media tools becomes an extension of who we are. The less anonymous we become online, the more our individual interests shine (and I didn’t mean for that to rhyme). Chris Anderson said it right: people gravitate towards niche markets because they satisfy their narrow interests. As advertisers, we can provide customers with unlimited choices that can fill all of what their little hearts desire (or at least create it for them)!

2. Listening & Engaging           

Advertising is no longer about talking at people. That’s old school. Today, it is about having a conversation with them and really listening to what they have to say (whether it’s praise about a brand or saying that your brand just isn’t cutting it). As Bob Garfield once advised, advertising is about “listening, connecting and cultivating customer insights.” By listening and understanding what the audience is saying, advertisers can engage with users and their content to create a better delivery system.

3. Personal Relevance & Value

“Yeah, OK, but what’s in it for me?”

I am sure we have all said this at one point or another after being exposed to an advertisement that we thought had no relation to us. This is why ads today need to provide messages of value and personal relevance to its clientele (besides catering to the appropriate audience). Where there is value and relevance, there is connection, and from this connection, a relationship. The stronger the message hits home and fosters a relationship, the faster your home runs.

4. Emotion

Having the capacity to feel and express emotion is a trait that is of most valuable to marketers and advertisers and its effects are immense. It’s about getting that mirthful reaction after watching an Old-Spice commercial, or the sense of generosity and altruism when an ad asks for a donation to the World Wildlife Fund. Emotional ads help fuel the motivation, interest, and stronger attachment to your message (and hopefully action!).

5. Brand Experience

It’s always good practice to step outside of that comfortable little box and do something crazy. Get hands-on and show your audience different ways of experiencing your brand. One toilet paper company, Charmin, enticed customers to use their so-fresh-and-so-clean toilet facilities in their own enchanted public station. Customers could take pictures with the Charmin bear family and dance with Charmin employees. If a toilet paper brand can take going to the bathroom to another level, then so can you with your brand too!

6. Storytelling

Numbers. Although very necessary, they can be a lot to swallow at times. This is where storytelling comes in. Building a narrative around an idea, your audience, or whatever it is that you are presenting shares information in a new and entertaining light. Storytelling is a compelling and engaging way to present your findings and in a linear fashion, as opposed to the monotonous presentations often labeled as “death-by-PowerPoint.”

7. Integration Strategy

All marketing must have a strong, integrated and cohesive strategy woven into their plan. Without one, the communications plan is like a bunch of puzzle pieces that don’t connect and you’re left scrambling to find missing pieces that have you forgetting about the big picture (note the metaphor). Integrated communications marketing provides a clear pathway to your market, your mission, the message you want to provide, the media to buy, the money to spend and metrics needed to measure your ROI. Sound like a plan?

And there you have it! The most important lessons I have learned over the two wonderful years I studied at the University of Texas at Austin. I must also give a special thanks to my professor, Dr. Neal Burns, who shared his knowledge with our class and helped me understand the most important aspects of advertising today.

If you are interested in reading some of my other articles on social media and search engine optimization, you can find them on Wolf21.

*Photo credit by No copyright intention.


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