WHY SO MANY BUSINESSES HATE ADVERTISING
And why it doesn’t have to be that way
I’m just going to throw it out there before I begin – I love advertising, and I always have. But I know for many businesses, advertising is a necessary evil. It is something that is either blindly pursued with skeptic hope that it might work or a burden on the bottom-line that they would rather do without.
Sure, everyone agrees that marketing and advertising is important, but it is not always loved. While I am an ardent supporter of the cause, I have been in the industry long enough to understand some of the reasons why.
To begin, advertising is hard. Even in today’s world of ready-made templates and crowd sourcing, you still have to develop content that will resonate with your audience. This takes an understanding of who you are and more importantly, who your audience is.
If you manage to get that far, you have to then figure out how to find them. This can perhaps be the most challenging part, particularly when you consider the thousands of media channels available to your potential consumer. There are not only traditional vehicles to consider, such as TV, radio, outdoor and print, but also a dizzying array of online and social media opportunities.
This often leads to an uneasy alliance with an individual, agency, or media rep that promises to have all the answers. While some may, and many don’t, there is always a hint of uncertainty when floating in the deep end. Unfortunately, we encounter more jaded clients in recent years than in the past with businesses that often spend money they didn’t have to begin with on poor advertising decisions, whether it involves their messaging, strategy, or media placement.
It used to be so easy back when there were three networks, a handful of radio stations, and a few print publications that were actually printed and read.
So, with all of that being said – why do I still love advertising? And more importantly, why should you?
For me, it all began with a movie that first hit theaters in 1986. It was called “Nothing in Common” and starred a young Tom Hanks and Jackie Gleason. Chances are you never saw it, similar to the rest of the country, but I highly recommend seeking it out. The movie was centered on the estranged relationship between a father and son. While that part was good, it was the backstory of Hanks’ character, David Basner, and his job as a creative director at a Chicago ad agency that caught my attention. In particular, it was one scene where his firm pitched an airline account, and in the moment, I was all in. You will have to check out the movie to get all the details, but in this scene his team demonstrated what branding is all about, way before branding became the new phrase of the day. To summarize, they were able to connect with the airlines audience on an emotional level and that is why I love advertising.
When done properly, advertising and specifically branding, gives us the opportunity to speak directly the heart of the matter – telling our story in a way that clearly defines what we do, how we do it, and how it can better the lives of those it was intended for. Sounds simple enough – but far to often we get distracted by the speed of technology, the proliferation of delivery methods and the need for instant and immediate results.
I know it’s hard to love advertising when you look at it as a moving target. However, if you instead see it as a way to better connect with your audience while also providing an opportunity for them to better connect with you, then you can begin to discover your story and how you wish for it to be told.
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