When ads work “Smart Advertising” [Archives:2003/648/Business & Economy]

July 7 2003

In the last column, we discussed that you don't have to spend a lot on advertising to make it work, or on new innovative ideas that might not have a great impact on the audience. However, there should be enough study to what really works and be smart in your advertising.
So, when do ads work? Ads work when they have an effective advertising strategy, because an effective strategy reduces waste and prevents the misuse of scarce corporate resources. There is a lot to preparing an advertising strategy. A strategy should be prepared with knowledge of the product's competitive position, i.e. the image attached to the product in order to give it distinct features and benefits. A shampoo, for example, can be used for any of the following: dry hair, greasy hair, frequently washed hair, baby hair, colored hair, etc.
However, while formulating this strategy, you should keep in mind to position your product in such a way that there isn't big competition and many people would want such a product, for example falling hair, this is the competitive position of the product.
Then, ensure that information about such a product reaches the targeted group of customers, this is through selecting a medium that the targeted customers are exposed to. For example, if your target are businessmen, then you should select the financial news channel of the businesses and economy page in a newspaper, and so on..
But there might be also other product with similar characteristics and also have the same target group, this is where you should study the functional characteristics of your product in comparison with your competition, and here is where smart advertising is always the winner; because, first of all, it might not be very important this difference, but what is important is what perceptions the customers have on your product and on your competitors' product, because marketing is not a battle of products, it's a battle of perceptions.
Such perceptions can be very helpful in formulating the brand's personality, which is the source of its uniqueness; this is what should be communicated in your advertising and it normally represents your most important discriminator. This is at the heart of the product.
Smart advertising utilizes this point; it creates and strengthens the brand's personality, because the human mind forms mental images and ideas when it hears or learns about a certain product / brand. These images and ideas control his behavior next time when he sees the brand on a supermarket shelves. On the other hand, if the brand name, image or personality wasn't matched with a suitable smart advertising strategy, this would result in a conflict in the customer's mind, for example a TV with the brand name of Bullet or Killer wouldn't create a good perception about it, and hence customers will have a mental conflict with it, on the other hand, Lexus is an excellent brand name for a luxury car as it is similar to the word “Luxury”.
Endnote: Smart Advertising starts with a smart advertising strategy, because that's what makes ads work.