Stubbornness In Advertising
When it comes to advertising, everyone can be stubborn.
Since the beginning of the practice, there have been endless criticisms and theories about the way advertising works. That’s because advertising brings together psychology, sociology, marketing, art, and complex strategic thinking. Therefore, it’s got a lot of layers that some people can’t wrap their heads around or reject altogether.
And to be honest, that’s okay with us. We’re professionals and we understand that not everyone is going to fully understand and appreciate what we do. To us, we’re one business trying to build brands and help other businesses succeed. But often times, that success is earned through a complicated process we manage. And we, more than anyone, recognize the obstacles that affect advertising success; the most detrimental of which is stubbornness.
The role of advertising can be misunderstood on both ends of the spectrum: businesses and consumers. There’s a major population of each segment that is stubborn about the way they use and/or take in advertising. Within the same week, we heard two statements spoken by two different people that addressed the dichotomy of advertising from both ends of the practice. Now, we’re going to pick apart each statement and understand how they upend the use of advertising.
“Businesses think advertising should solve all of their problems.”
Sometimes we encounter businesses that believe advertising is the only way to reach people. And although that’s flattering and will certainly keep us in business, we believe there’s more to be done on behalf of the organization. Advertising won’t solve your problems unless you’re willing to earn your business. You, the business-owner have to be personally involved in the efforts to engage with your audience. Which means you can’t sit back, place a media buy, and expect a line around the building the next morning.
A good agency (like us), will help you find your differentiating assets, identify your target audience, and craft messaging that will motivate them to act. But, you have to be on the ground engaging with potential consumers and being the best human extension of the brand possible. All the strategic marketing plans in the world won’t do you any good if you’re not connecting with people on a personal level and teaching your team to do the same. That’s because people want to do business with people they trust, and advertising can’t really offer the humanity of a smile and a handshake. Like we said before, you have to earn the business yourself. And most importantly, you have to meet the needs of your consumer — not the other way around.
“Advertising doesn’t work because people are just going to buy what they want.”
The bold, underlined theme throughout the entire run of Mad Men was that “people don’t change,” which is an unusual and unexpectedly poignant theme for a show about advertising. The executives of Sterling Cooper & Partners might’ve been immune to change, but what about the masses?
Dissenters of advertising will argue that consumers are going to buy what they want to buy, regardless of the ads they encounter, day in and day out. Why even bother to market your brand?! People are stubborn!
The truth is, advertising has proven again and again for decades that it has the power to change consumer behavior and motivate people to buy products they wouldn’t normally buy. Sure, a lot of people are brand loyalists and stick to the same products over the course of a lifetime, but that’s only because they trust the product. That’s exactly what advertising strives to achieve: That emotional bond between consumer and brand. So why bother to market your brand? Because you have the opportunity to reach new people every day with messaging that resonates.
Stubbornness gets in the way of effective advertising. But that doesn’t mean advertising doesn’t work. It just takes a better understanding between businesses and consumers to see the potential of advertising.
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